Thoughts on Keto

The keto diet has been gaining a lot of traction recently, particularly in our gym. As many of you know, I am not a fan of keto. So instead of constantly lecturing those who want to try keto, I decided to put all my thoughts in one article.

What is keto?

The ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate (20-50g of carbohydrates or less), high fat and high protein diet.

The thought behind the keto diet is to shift from carbohydrates as your body’s main source of energy to stored fat. This happens by putting your body through something called “ketosis”. Ketosis happens when there is an absence of circulating blood sugar from food- which comes from carbohydrates- your body starts breaking down stored fat into ketone bodies which generate energy until we start eating carbs again.

As your body goes through ketosis, people may experience something called the “keto flu”. Symptoms include headache, foggy brain, headache, fatigue, irritability, nausea, difficulty sleeping, constipation and more. It is not for certain if this is caused by switching to keto. Other causes could be a dramatic change in diet from highly processed foods, carb withdrawal, a change in gut microbiome or something else.

The ketogenic diet has been used to reduce seizures in children, which is where it originates from. It has been scientifically proven to help reduce seizures sometimes as effectively as medication. So now one of the main questions is can keto help with other brain disorders like Parkinson’s Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis. Right now, there are no studies to show if it will have any positive affect on these disorders.

Why do people choose keto?

I see the keto diet everywhere now. When people post on Facebook they want to lose weight and don’t know how, I constantly see comments stating “try keto! I had so much success”! Before I go further, you should never take diet advice from random people on Facebook. Different diets can really negatively affect certain health conditions. You need to talk to a professional. I get why people choose it. You can lose a lot of weight on keto, but how? First off you can’t eat carbohydrates that you are probably currently overeating. Less carbs= less calories; less calories = weight loss. The keto diet is restrictive. Studies shown restrictive diets typically aide in weight loss, not because of some magic or because the food is bad. People typically lose on restrictive diets because they naturally get bored of eating the same things and naturally eat less. Less calories= weight loss. Keto has been shown to yield in a faster weight loss then the traditional low- fat diet, however, this is only in the beginning and over longer periods of time people lose more on the traditional low-fat diet. This is honestly why I think keto has gotten so popular. Fast results for minimum work.

What am I missing out on when I go keto?

With keto you really limit your carbs. Carbohydrates help fuel your brain, kidneys, heart, muscles and central nervous system. Most carbohydrates have great vitamins that your body needs like B vitamins, folate, vitamin E, zinc and magnesium. You’re also missing out on nutrients that can help prevent disease like carotenoids and flavonoids. Also decreasing your carbs can really affect your performance as an athlete or just for your workouts. With a decrease in performance at the gym, you might not be getting as much out of the gym as you could, which means less results.