As part of my nutrition course this week I had to do a mini analysis on a diet of my choice so I chose the Ketogenic diet.
The reason I chose to analyse this diet is that its one that my readers fall victim to time after time.
You may not necessarily know what a keto diet it is but I bet you have tried it in some form.
99% of Keto advocates on social media are zealots (a person who is fanatical and uncompromising in pursuit of their religious, political, or other ideals). They blame carbohydrates for fat storage and tell you it's because it spikes your insulin levels which causes your body to store fat. Which is untrue when in a calorie deficit.
I’m sure you have heard this claim and I am sure you at some point, maybe even right now have restricted your carbs or blamed them believing they’re the cause of you not being able to lose weight.
No studies have ever agreed with this, EVER!!
The things you read online are articles and blogs made up by peoples theories and deluded ideas with no evidence to back them up.
This is why I wanted to share my analysis with you is because I don’t want you to fall victim to this and make yourself miserable trying to get in shape by removing foods you enjoy.
So sit back and relax with a flapjack as I analyse this diet and then put the myth to rest for you.
What Is The Ketogenic Diet:
The keto diet is based on following a high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrates. The dietary macronutrients are divided into approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. Specifically, in a 2000 kcal per day diet, carbohydrates amount up to 20 to 50 g per day. The keto diet promises rapid weight loss through a state called ketosis. Ketosis occurs due to the body being in a deprived state of carbohydrates and the reduction of insulin secretion. Once glycogen stores deplete, the body goes through certain metabolic changes. These metabolic changes cause your body to produce ketone bodies (Ketone bodies are produced by the liver and used mainly as an energy source when glucose/carbs are not readily available).1 To provide your body will alternate sources of fuel due to the lack of carbs and stored glycogen. Your body is then forced to use fat as a fuel source as opposed to carbs.
*side note: dietary fat and body fat are not the same thing, just because your body is burning fat as a fuel source it does not mean body fat. You will only burn body fat in a calorie deficit.
Pros of The Ketogenic Diet:
Many people experience rapid weight loss when following a ketogenic diet which helps with motivation. Some people find the rigidness of the diet easy to stick to and follow as they only need to follow one main rule which is to not consume more than 5-10g of carbs per day. The diet promotes the following of a nutrient-rich diet from healthy fats, vegetables and quality sources of protein.
Cons of The Ketogenic Diet:
Following a keto diet can lead to side effects like nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, difficulty in exercise tolerance, and constipation due to the lack of fibre and carbs, sometimes referred to as keto flu.2Long-term effects can include hepatic steatosis (accumulation of fat in the liver), hypoproteinemia (abnormally low protein in the blood), kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies such as vitamin B5, Vitamin B7, Iodine, Chromium, iodine, Vitamin D, E, Choline, Calcium, and Molybdenum.3Although the rigidness of the diet may work well for some people, for the majority, the rigidness is unsustainable for the long term and can lead to social exclusion due to band foods and drinks. People are often misled with the ketogenic diet by being told myths of how the body is turned into a fat-burning machine which in one case is true but is misleading as your body becomes sufficient at burning dietary fats due to the depletion of glycogen (not body fat). Your body will sufficiently burn body fat in a very low carb or high carb diet as long as you're in a calorie deficit.4Carbohydrates make up 45-65% of the average westerner's diet, the reduction in weight and body fat comes from removing 45-65% of their calories and not ketosis.
The keto diet may be useful for short term weight loss and motivation. However, weight loss is not all fat and mostly comes from the removal of glycogen and water from muscles. Once carbohydrates are reintroduced this weight will come back on. Long term the keto diet is unsustainable as it has a rigid system you must follow and adhere to, this can alienate you on social occasions and can also cause people to have a bad relationship with food.
So as you can see from the analysis carbohydrates are simply not to blame when it comes to weight/fat gain.
They provide you with energy to have awesome workouts.
They provide you with happiness because they taste great. And they provide you with further happiness because they make eating with family and friends more enjoyable.
I mean really, would you want a Christmas roast this year without roast potatoes and Yorkshire puddings?
I didn’t think so.
However, what is to blame for gaining weight and body fat is how much you eat for the amount you currently move.
To lose weight you either need to:
Eat the same, move more
Eat less, move the same
Eat less, move more
Until you implement one of these methods you will not achieve the results you’re seeking.
So please stop trying to ban foods from your diet because none are inherently bad or making you gain fat nor preventing you from losing it.
You just need to eat less of it.
If you’re struggling to see results or stick to a healthy nutrition routine then here are 3 ways in which I can help you for free.
Free personal training - Come along for a week's free personal training in my fully private training facility and learn how to exercise and eat effectively for your goals. Click here to book in your free week. Download and listen to my podcast for free- I discuss ways in which you can improve your results by applying the simple tools I layout for you in each episode. Click Here to listen Download my complete beginners' guide to fat loss - This free guide will teach you what you need to know on how to lose fat and comes with a free training plan. Click Here to download.
If you'd like to read the studies I read for the above information I have attached them below for you. REFERENCES
1. Ketone bodies: a review of physiology, pathophysiology and application of monitoring to diabetes. Harvard Medical School, Joslin Clinic, One Joslin Place, Boston, MA 02215, USA. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10634967
2. Keto Diet. Wajeed Masood; Kalyan R. Uppaluri. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/
3. Prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in popular diet plans. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010; 7: 24. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2905334/
4. Effect of Low-Fat vs Low-Carbohydrate Diet on 12-Month Weight Loss in Overweight Adults and the Association With Genotype Pattern or Insulin Secretion. JAMA. 2018 Feb 20; 319(7): 667–679. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5839290/
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