Let’s talk about what the Keto Diet actually is and why it is NOT all it’s cracked up to be!
A few times a week, I have clients reaching out wanting to know if they should try the “Keto” diet, as the media has portrayed this style of eating to be the newest and quickest fix to all of your weight loss problems. Let’s talk about what the diet actually is and why it is NOT all it’s cracked up to be!
One of the biggest reasons that Keto has exploded is that clients are PUMPED when they see the scale start to go down so drastically in the first few days. On average, the general population will drop about 10 pounds after their first full strict week on a ketogenic diet. But why?
The Keto diet advises individuals to consume 70-85% of their daily calories from fat sources. They are advised to keep net carbs (carbohydrates minus fiber) under 50 grams per day in order to reach a fat burning state called “ketosis. The remaining calories should come from protein. Now why do you drop the pounds so quickly in the beginning? The answer is WATER!
CarboHYDRATES hold 4 molecules of water. When the amount of carbohydrates you consume is drastically decreased, the body will shed a ton of water that the body had been retaining (“water weight”). Yes, those pounds will initially fall off quickly, but they will strictly come from water, and not body fat loss, which is not going to make your work pants fit any better!
On average, it takes about 4 days to reach this fat burning state of ketosis, where ketones are being produced for energy. If an individual STICKS to the ketogenic plan consistently for a long period of time, yes, the keto diet WILL work! But real “life” often gets in the way. Your kid wants pizza for his 5th grade graduation?? Sure! You have 1 slice! Which immediately puts 4 pounds back on, and then it takes you 4 more days of dieting to lose that 4 pounds and get back into “ketosis”. Your husband surprised you with chocolate covered strawberries for your anniversary?? Crap. There’s another gain and 4 more days to get back on track. The Keto diet isn’t sustainable for everyday life, and can NOT be healthy for your heart in my opinion. Our American society is dying from clogged arteries on a daily basis, and I can’t imagine eating nothing but bacon, butter and cheese is helping our nation’s heart health.
My advice? Don’t Keto, intermittent fast, juice, cleanse, cabbage soup, caveman, paleo, whole 30, slimfast, NOTHING! All fad diets are extremely restrictive, they teach you absolutely NOTHING, and are not a permanent solution. Heck yeah they might take a few pounds off the first couple weeks you strictly stick to them, but then what?! You’ll have no idea how to eat to maintain the loss you have achieved without restricting and the weight creeps right back on, just as fast as it came off, and you are right back to square one.
Understand that food is fuel. Learn about your food. Understand what carbohydrates, fats and proteins do for your body. Learn when you need them and how much. Make a lifestyle change with your diet. Slow steady improvements, and NEVER go back.