One of the fad diets that I have heard a lot of good things about is the “Keto Diet”. I ended up researching the Keto Diet for my husband who was convinced that would be the best diet to help him lose weight. We were surprised with some information we learned.
Before you start any diet that is a major change from what you have been eating, it is important to consult with your physician. Especially if you have major health concerns like heart problems, cholesterol issues, diabetes, or neurological issues.
Here are some Basics of the Keto Diet.
What is the Keto Diet?
When my husband first brought up the idea of starting the Keto Diet, he was under the impression that it was a type of low-carb diet- cutting out breads and pasta’s and eating fresh fruits, veggies, and meats. It’s a little more involved than just cutting out breads and pasta.
The Keto diet is based on the concept of getting your body into a state of Ketosis where it burns body fat for energy instead of relying on carbs and sugars. Those on a Keto diet eliminate as many carbs and processed sugars from their diet as they can while eating a higher level of fats and a moderate amount of protein to fuel the body.
A low-carb diet is usually considered a diet with between 50-150g of carbs per day. The Keto diet recommends ideally no more than 20-50g to keep your body in Ketosis. A regular diet recommends 45-65% of your diet come from carbs, around 225-325g per day.
Most people on the Keto Diet use macro nutrients to track their diet. Basically the macro breakdown focuses on eating foods that keep your diet balanced like this:
- Carbs: 5-10%
- Fat: 60-75%
- Protein: 20-30%
I am no expert on macros, they are a little confusing to me since they don’t seem to cover the food groups. Maybe I’ll do some studying on Macros in a future post.
Foods you Can and Can’t Eat
OK, so what foods are included in the Keto Diet? Really low carbs, high fats and some proteins. But what can I and can’t I eat?
Let’s start with the “GOOD TO EAT” food list. Remember, the focus of the keto diet is low carb & low sugar, high fat & proteins.
- Dairy: Butter, cream, whipped cream, cottage cheese, cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, yogurt
- Fruit: Avocado, blueberries, coconut, berries, lemon, lime, tomato, olives
- Eggs, Meat, Fish, Seafood: basically anything that’s a protein. Bonus points if it has extra fat. Only grass-fed meat & wild caught fish/sea food.
- Nuts & seeds: all kinds
- Fats & oils: extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, butter, avocado oil. Higher end oils preferred to vegetable oils.
- Veggies: Broccoli, celery, leafy greens, zucchini, cucumber, green beans, peppers, mushrooms, squash, artichoke, asparagus. Garlic, onion
- Sweets: in small amounts- dark chocolate, honey, Stevie, diet soda, sugar-free jello
- Drinks: Coffee, black & green tea, water
There’s a pretty good list with lots of food options. If it’s fatty, meat, or a berry or leafy green you are good to go!
Some foods on the “NOT ALLOWED” list:
- Junk food: chips, soda, cookies, ice cream, candy, cake, donuts, and pudding
- Fats: canola oil, margarine, vegetable oil, other oils- help, flax seed, grape, sunflower, soybean, corn
- Grains & starches: Dried beans, oats, pasta, pizza, bread, cereal, bread, rice, quinoa
- Veggies: root veggies like sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots
- Fruits: bananas, apples, oranges, pineapple, grapes, nectarines, dried fruit.
I’ll admit, a lot of the foods on this list surprised me. This list also turned my husband off of the Keto Diet. We eat a lot of potatoes, carrots, bananas, grapes and quinoa, along with a slew of other things on the do not eat list.
Pro’s of Keto Diet
Don’t let the food list be your determining factor. There are a lot of long term pro’s to the Keto Diet:
- It has been used to reduce epilepsy and seizures in both children and adults.
- Used to improve symptoms of autism
- Improves Bi-polar symptoms
- Helps reduce risks and improve symptoms of Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s
- Improves athletic performance
- When you reach ketosis you can experience rapid weight loss as you burn body fat
- Supresses appetite
- Improves and controls symptoms of diabetes
- Improves blood flow
- Reduces high blood pressure
Some pretty strong points for the Keto Diet.
Con’s of Keto Diet
The Keto Diet is a huge change from how most people currently eat. There are good benefits but also risks involved when you change from what you are currently doing to something new. Always consult a doctor, especially if you have known health concerns.
Here are some potential con’s for the Keto Diet:
- Eliminating major food groups & favorite foods (for me bananas & sweet potato, & all carbs!)
- Paying more attention to what you eat, limited options when eating out
- Cost for specialty foods
- Impared concentration
- “Keto Flu”- when you first start this diet you may experience flu like symptoms as your body adjusts to the new diet.
- Diarrhea, nausea, constipation
- Kidney stones
- Menstral irregularities
- Thinning hair/ hair loss
- Stunted growth in children
- Lower platelet count & increased bruising
- Higher risk of infections and inflammation
- Higher risk of Heart Arrhythmia &Cardiomyopathy;
Note: Some of these are short term. Most of those listed are only possible, speak to a doctor is you have a concern or a higher risk of infections and heart problems.
The Keto Flu varies in intensity and can last a couple of days or a couple of weeks, depending on how strictly you adhere to the Keto Diet and how long your body needs to purge carbs and sugar.
Is the Keto Diet Right for YOU?
That all depends on your goals and preferences for diet. The purpose of a diet is to restrict you from “bad” foods for the purpose of improving your health for the better.
I have had co-workers who have been on the Keto diet for years and love it. It works great for them. I’ve known others who have tried the Keto Diet because they wanted to burn body fat but could never get past the first week because of the Keto Flu.
Personally I love my carbs too much to ever completely cut them out of my diet, no matter how amazing it sounds to have my body use my fat as a source of energy!
I prefer a container portion control diet that allows me to eat from all the food groups, in specifically portioned amounts, to fuel me through the day without feeling deprived. Check out my post What is a Container Diet for some more information.
I am hosting a monthly Clean Week Group on Facebook where you can join a challenge to eat clean and workout over a 7-day period. Free details for the container diet and free workouts included in the group, no credit cards required. Next group starts Sat July 20th, 2019. Check out my Facebook Page to sign up!