You may have heard some keto diet tips from your friends and family. Messages like “fat is good for you” and “add butter to your coffee to loose weight” are some common adages. What is the keto diet really about?
“Keto” stands for “ketosis”. It’s a process in which your body burns fat. The idea is to eat foods that get you in ketosis. Maintaining a high fat, low-carb diet (less than 50 grams of carbs per day) will put your body into the state of ketosis.
Slightly different from the Atkins diet (high-protein), the keto diet focuses on healthy fats. The keto diet controversy stems from the claim that eating fatty foods can contribute to weight loss. After years of fat marketing campaigns, studies in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition show that specific fats may help you shed pounds, stimulate brain function and improve your gut health.
What foods do you eat on the keto diet ?
The keto diet promotes saturated fats such as coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed meat, dairy, and nuts. The important factor is that it focuses on whole, unprocessed sources of fat. If you enjoy eating steak for instance, choose sustainable-sourced varieties. Responsible meat is favored because the fat quality is much higher than a factory produced cut of meat.
The keto plate fluctuates slightly for each dieter but is usually a composition of :
- 75% fat
- 20% protein
- 5% carbohydrates
|Most common plate on the keto diet|
The diet claims that eating a diet high in fat can help you loose weight. This may sound counter-intuitive, but here is how it works:
When we eat a diet high in fat, our body goes into ketosis, and burns excess fat for energy. Ketones are produced and become blocks of energy for our body. These ketones become instantly available to the brain, giving it a quick and clean burning fuel.
On a regular diet of carbohydrates like rice, pasta, and grains we often store fat. Sometimes we call that fat storage a “spare tire”. Eating too many carbs is one of the reasons people complain about the difficulty in loosing weight even though they work out often.
Keeping a keto diet at least some of the time may really benefit us.
What are three reasons the keto diet is NOT the best diet?
Emphasizing fat intake makes for a poor diet. Dieticians and nutritionists are hard-pressed to support such a restrictive diet. They are quick to point out that you may be missing nutrients from other food groups. Here are the reasons the diet is not the magic solution to lose weight in the long run. It should be adjusted according to the individual.
1. Lacking whole grains
The keto diet does not promote eating processed carbs of any kind including whole grains like oatmeal. “Not all carbs are created equally” so whole grains can be part of a balanced diet. Sources such as quinoa, barley, and whole-wheat pasta can provide us with B vitamins, fiber, and minerals. These nutrients contribute to better digestion, improved heart conditions, and healthy cholesterol levels.
2. Too much protein
While the keto diet strongly suggests the consumption of sustainable meats, it may be excessive. Digesting meat is very taxing on the body and eating too much may have adverse health effects. It’s best to reduce and to minimize your meat intake. If you do follow the keto diet, try to make your protein sources fish and vegetable protein for the maximum health benefits.
3. High fat diet
A diet too high in fat can still make us fat. Even though we may be eating healthy fats like coconut oil or avocado, the body will store whatever it doesn’t need. If you do follow the keto diet, introduce these fats slowly into your diet. It’s a matter of finding a steady diet that works for you. You may find fatty foods will keep you full longer so you don’t have to eat as much fat as you had anticipated.
The keto diet’s popularity can teach us something about eating. It is without a doubt that the US and industrialized countries can learn from the diet’s main tenets. If they lower their processed carb intake, they will experience better health. People eat simple carbohydrates like crackers, pizza, and chips too often, usually out of convenience. If the keto diet does one thing well, it is in raising an important question: “How many wholesome, unprocessed foods did I eat today?” Most carbohydrates are highly processed, so just asking this question will help us evaluate our diet better. We should strive to make our starches come from fresh fruits and vegetables primarily.
The most sustainable diet for long-term health is a plant-based diet. Without being restrictive, this diet is characterized as a high intake of fruits and vegetables, and small amounts of sustainably sourced animal protein. It avoids using too many carbohydrates in each meal. Fats are enjoyed moderately. For example, use 1 tablespoon of olive or coconut oil in your family stir-fry.
We encourage you to learn the principles of the keto diet and then apply it to fit your own lifestyle. Anytime we take time to evaluate our diet and health, we are taking a proactive stance in our life. That is something that we should all be proud of!
To conclude, let’s quote the words of Bethenny Frankel, “Your diet is a bank account. Good food choices are good investments.”
Cheers to a happy and healthy diet!