My Opinion on the Keto Diet
If you’ve ever had a friend with the goal of losing weight, been surrounded by people at the gym, or really, been online at all, you’ve likely heard of the Keto diet. The Keto diet is particularly polarizing in the health and fitness community because many sing its praises and effectiveness, while others criticize the sustainability and long-term success rate. Before we get to my opinion, let’s cover the basics.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, but low-carb diet. Carbs, regardless of their nutritional value, are heavily restricted. This includes healthy foods like fruit, vegetables, and whole grains.
A common misconception is that the keto diet is like the paleo or Atkins diet (high protein and low carb). While the keto diet does allow protein in moderation, it differs from these common diets due to its strict fat prioritization.
A Look at the Numbers
So, what does eating look like on the keto diet? Here is a general breakdown according to Harvard School of Public Health: 70-80% fat, 5-10% carbohydrates, and 10-20% protein.
If you’re going by the general recommendation of 2,000 calories a day, that would look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 75 grams of protein.
Why Does the Keto Diet Restrict Carbs?
The keto diet allows 20-50 grams of carbs per day, which is vastly different from a traditional eating pattern. To put the grams in perspective, on average, just one apple contains 25 carbs.
The why: Carbs are the main source of energy for our body, so when carbs are restricted, the body doesn’t rely on glucose for energy, but instead, it breaks down fat into ketones and turns them into the main source of energy.
Common Foods on the Keto Diet
People on the keto diet tend to eat highly saturated fats like butter and oil. Protein is allowed, but there is no emphasis on eating healthier alternatives like lean chicken or turkey, so many turn to bacon and beef to help meet their fat requirement.
My Opinion on the Keto Diet
To answer your first question: Yes, you can, and likely will lose weight if you implement the keto diet into your life. Any diet can yield results, but it's all about creating a healthy lifestyle you enjoy.
While this is true, there are a few big issues I have with the Keto diet:
Most People do not Follow This Diet Correctly
Usually, when people say they’re on the keto diet, they’re really just eating low carb.
The truth is, if you’re truly on the keto diet, if you go over the number of grams you can have daily in carbs, you’ll be taken out of ketosis. You’ll also be taken out of ketosis if you eat too much protein because protein produces glucose.
Unfortunately, this means that people could think they’re losing fat, but really, they’re out of ketosis and harming their bodies by eating a high-fat diet.
The Keto Diet is not Sustainable
Aside from how difficult it is to stay in ketosis, eating 75% of your diet in fat is incredibly difficult, and not sustainable.
With a diet so restrictive, you’ll have to put a lot of thought into what you eat, which means fun life events like grabbing a spontaneous dinner with a friend would take lots of thought to see if it fits into the day of eating you’ve had so far.
In reality, all you need is whole foods and movement to have success, so why overcomplicate your life?
The Keto Diet is not Healthy Long-term
The keto diet has many risks, perhaps most notably, its association with an increase in the “bad” cholesterol that leads to heart disease.
Other risks include nutrient deficiencies (due to limiting fruits, vegetables, and grains that provide micronutrients), liver problems (from your body struggling to metabolize the increased fat), mood swings (lack of sugar from healthy carbohydrates), and constipation, among others.
Would I Recommend the Keto Diet?
My answer is simple: No, I do not recommend the keto diet, nor any diet that isn’t possible to maintain for the long run. Instead, I recommend daily movement and exercise and prioritizing whole foods.
At Mealfit, Nutrition is Easy
If you’re looking to lose weight, or simply want to lead a healthier lifestyle, Mealfit is here for you! Check out the meal options Mealfit provides such as our Weekly Specials, Individual Meals, and other Meals by the Pound.