I was literally laying in bed when I had a keto recipe popup in the ads on my phone and my initial thought was, "How are these people expecting to lose weight while eating that?!" And then it hit me... A lot of people really DON'T know if keto works or not. And if it does? why? And if it doesn't, why? I want to really clear up something about the keto diet tend.
I got a giant picture of a cheese cake, looked delicious too! The caption talked about how it was "healthy" and would help you lose weight... Thats where I stopped. Promoting false info like "carbs are dangerous" and "carbs make you fat" "sugar is the enemy" and lastly "eating all the fat will magically make you lose weight!" are all so wrong, it makes my heart hurt. Let talk about what keto IS first. The keto diet is when you drop your carb intake to 20g of NET carbs a day or less, and 95% of those who do or have tried keto, do it without tracking fat intake AT ALL. The goal of keto, is to get your body into ketosis, which is fancy for saying your body starts to burn fat (either stored or eaten) for energy instead of carbs (glucose, which is the body's favorite way to get energy).
Lets go over a few points that I REALLY want you to listen to about losing weight through a keto based diet.
1. Keto does not work if you do not watch how much your eating!
This seems super simple, but its the biggest downfall to those who tried keto and didn't lose weight, or gained weight. Scientifically, fat loss is as simple as making sure you are burning more calories than you are eating! So lets say your body burns 1,600 calories a day. If you are eating less than 20g of net carbs, and as much fat as you want, you can EASILY be eating up to or more than 200g of fat when you start eating all the bacon, keto cheesecake, peanut butter, nuts, avocado, cooking with pounds of butter or oil, etc. In this case, when you are not tracking fat intake, you can be eating 1,800 calories of fat ALONE. That is before any carb or protein intake. It is reckless to not count fat, as most don't. If you tried keto and didn't lose weight, its most likely because your fat intake was WAY too high. You still have to keep portion control in mind!
2. There are more calories in 1g of fat than 1g of carb (9 calories vs 4 calories)
You could potentially be eating less VOLUME of food while doing keto, because fats are higher in calories compared to carbs and protein. This can leave you hungry more often. You can be eating MORE calories with the same amount of food compared to carbs and protein because they are just more calorically dense. I hate being hungry, and to me, carbs fill me up faster and keep me fuller longer.
3. Keto will hinder your ability to maintain, or build muscle.
How do you build muscle? You lift weights to make small tears in the muscle, which in return build bigger to "fill in" the tears you made. (putting it very simply) There are 2 things that you need CELLULARLY to build or keep muscle, and those are carbs and protein. We need protein to start protein synthesis (the process of building muscle) and we HAVE to have glucose to SHUTTLE that protein into the muscle! Without glucose (carbs) the protein never gets there, protein synthesis never happens, and muscles never grow. So if you are looking to tone up, and keep or build your muscle mass, keto is NOT the way to go.
4. Counting NET carbs is inaccurate
Keto dieters use NET carbs as their carb intake guide. What is a net carb? It is a carb molecule that is not fiber. Fiber is very hard for the body to digest so often times it just passes through. The problem with this is we are NEVER sure how much of those fiberous carbs ARE getting absorbed! Some of them DO get used and don't just pass through. So while you may be eating 20g of NET carbs, you may be eating 50g of total carbs (some of which WILL be digested and absorbed!) and then you actually take yourself out of ketosis because you're eating too many carbs. And you will never really know that. To me, counting NET carbs is too much of a gamble with a diet that is that finicky to carb intake.
5. It can create a bad relationship with food
Who else loves carbs?! Pasta, breadsticks, peanut butter sandwiches, OR EVEN FREAKING FRUIT?! Raise your hands! I am very aware of what I eat, because I count my macros (carb intake, fat intake, and protein intake). My body, personally, thrives on carbs. But my mind does even more so. I like having the flexibility of eating carbs in moderation vs the other option of never eating bread again... I would feel extremely deprived, and my food choices would be cut down substantially. Mentally, I would have a hard time always saying no to carbs. When ever you do have a moment of weakness and go for a pretzel or cereal, your body freaks out and you have no chance of losing weight with your body going back and forth between ketosis, and not being in ketosis.
So when is keto okay?
I DO think keto has its place in some situations. It can be useful for a short period of time (2-3 weeks) as long as you are counting your protein and fat intake as well as carb intake. An initial keto session can fire up fat burning cells to kick off a weightless journey, but it is NOT healthy or sustainable long term.
Have any more questions? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org