So what is the keto diet?
In Australia, summer is about to hit us- we’re officially in the countdown mode! The sunny days are filling the sky more than the rainy ones and swimwear is starting to flood our stores- meaning everyone is wanting a quick fix to slim down.
So here you are- you have tried just about every diet out there but nothing is working. Sound about right? Then you see the current fad diet that is KETO and seeing some HUGE numbers being thrown around, so you think ‘ah-ha!’ THIS. IS. THE. SECRET.
Are you nodding your head right about now?
Okay, well let’s cut through some of the BS and see what the diet is about. Let's talk about the typical traditional keto diet meal plan and WHY people are getting some big numbers (initially!)
Now, the whole time I have known Nathan (6 years) he has only ever prescribed a keto diet to less than a handful of people. Yes, you read that right. Now, on average Nath has around 40-50 clients at any given time, so that is A LOT of clients, and A LOT of clients who were NOT prescribed KETO. In many cases, this is because 99% of clients can tolerate carbohydrates just fine and have no need to be prescribed a ketogenic diet. Our methods are a sustainable lifestyle, educational, and by no means a quick fix. Our contest preparations are a minimum of 20 weeks to ensure optimal health and in every aspect of our plans, we aim to teach along the way.
What is keto?
Keto, is short for ketogenic. The state you place your body into when restricting carbohydrate intake is called ketosis. Often confused with a low carbohydrate diet, a ketogenic diet requires you to consume around* under 35 grams of carbohydrates per day or less than 5% of your daily calories from carbohydrate. Every person has a different threshold for their body to stay in ketosis, which also varies from day-to-day. Funnily enough, whilst researching ketogenic diets, a lot of articles started by saying that this is NOT recommended for general population and was designed and created in the 1920s for a medical treatment for specific people only. Those specific people are children with epilepsy, or those being treated for brain cancer or type 2 diabetes- in short periods of time.
*there is no set gram amount set as a whole. Everybody reacts differently, along with daily activity levels, stress and hormones.
Why does it work?
Whilst it is commonly thought that eating a ketogenic diet is the holy grail to weight loss, studies have shown that the weight loss has potentially got more to do with the fact that the dieter is just in a calorie deficit, rather than it being from the elimination itself. When one is not eating an entire food group, calorie intake has thus been restricted putting themselves into a calorie deficit. The underlying evidence shows that the success is usually from simply creating a calorie deficit. When the ketogenic diet has been compared to other diet models, similar fat loss was achieved and in some cases a high carbohydrate diet has been shown to have a very slight edge in fat loss when protein and calories were accounted for.
What does a typical traditional keto meal plan look like?
Simply put: High Fat, ultra low carbohydrates with moderate to low protein.
Omelet with avocado
Chicken thigh stir fry
Baked Atlantic Salmon
Chia seed pudding
Coconut cream pudding
Avocado and cottage cheese
Reported benefits of KETO?
- Keto diets usually result in fast initial weight loss, (although usually a result of fluid loss from glycogen depletion not fat loss while the body starts to slowly become keto adapted).
- Potentially better for satiety.
- Potentially has cognitive function benefits
Is it SUSTAINABLE?!
(remember my tip, never start something if you cannot maintain it forever- otherwise it is just a fad or fast fix!)
Because it is very limiting, a lot of people feel it is hard to sustain, resulting in a yo-yo dieting effect, often backed with weight gain.
What are some of the potential negative effects that can occur?
- A traditional ketogenic diet typically does not involve consuming fruits and vegetables therefore the risk of micronutrient deficiencies is high.
- Sports performance could be hindered especially in those sports requiring anaerobic activity.
- Sustainability – like mentioned above for a lot of people the keto diet is just not sustainable long term as it does require essentially eliminating an entire food group and a lot of foods that people just enjoy eating.
- You can get the same if not potentially better fat loss results consuming a more balanced macronutrient diet when protein and calories are equated for.
- It takes up to 3-4 months before becoming fully keto adapted therefore while going through those initial 3-4 months you may feel worse then you did prior to beginning.
My number one take on any nutrition plan or philosophy is that if it works for YOU and it is sustainable for life, great- if not, research until you find something that works for you long-term.
For more information and discussions on ketogenic diets, here is a link to a recent podcast which we found very interesting.