You’ve probably heard about the “The Keto Diet,” as a conversation topic on just about every social platform, publication, and gym setting these days. The Keto Diet, is currently “trending,” as they would say – so I wanted to breakdown everything I know about all things KETO. As always, there is not a “one-size-fits-all” diet or nutrition plan for everyone. The whole goal here, is to debunk some of the myths about keto, and give you all the information you need in order to decide if going keto is right for you.
The keto diet is high in fat, moderate in protein, and low in carbohydrates. This macronutrient breakdown works to change how you metabolize food. When you eat a meal, your body typically uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy. But…there’s a back up mechanism – your body can break down stored fat for energy. This process releases ketones, which can also be used for energy in your liver.
This state of ketosis (using ketones for energy) offers a wide range of benefits, including:
- Fewer blood sugar spikes and lower insulin needs
- Improved insulin sensitivity
- Increased fat burning and weight loss (if you’re staying in a calorie deficit)
- Increased feelings of fullness, decreased appetite – fat is filling!
- Potentially beneficial for chronic diseases, like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, PCOS, and even acne
Usually the macro range on a keto diet is about:
- 75-80% calories from fat
- 15-20% calories from protein
- 5-10% calories from carbs
The right protein and carbohydrates for your keto diet depends on your response to each of them. Another key factor in understanding how these macros impact your body also depends on your level of activity. These ranges listed above can give you a solid starting point, but you may need to adjust based on your needs and goals. You can find a few different variations of recommended keto macro ranges here.
The key with committing to a Keto Diet is that getting into ketosis takes a little bit of time, anywhere from 2 to 7 days. If you’re new to keto, there are some common signs and symptoms you might experience, but the best way to know for sure is to test your ketones.
As with any other nutrition plan, the keto diet is not for everyone. I think it’s important for you to know and understand some of the not so glamorous repercussions that can happen on the keto diet:
- Keto flu – Many people experience this in the first 2-3 weeks of trying the diet. Symptoms include fatigue, brain fog, dizziness, insomnia, racing heart.
- Longer-term side effects – After the initial adjustment, you might experience changes in bowel patterns, muscle cramps, and bad breath as a result of the higher amount of ketones and fewer carbs
- Long-term weight loss may be difficult – Short-term studies show a lot of success for weight loss with the keto diet, but long-term studies are scarce. This diet can be hard to maintain as well, so you have to be careful you don’t end up yo-yo dieting.
- If you’re already lean and very active, you might need more carbs to fuel your activity level
To summarize, here are some final Do’s and Don’ts for following a keto diet:
- DO eat high quality protein
- DO replenish sodium and electrolytes
- DON’T fill up on over-processed, fatty meats like sausage and bacon
- DO include healthier fats, like avocados, oils, and grass-fed meats
- DON’T overdo it on protein – remember the focus here is moderate protein, high fat
- DON’T skip your veggies, or you’ll end up at Constipation Station!
The keto diet may not be for everyone but it certainly can be a good option, depending on your individual needs and goals. Whatever lifestyle diet fits your needs, 100% support that! I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and challenge yourself to find what health and fitness routine works best for you if you haven’t already!
If you’ve tried the keto diet, let me know in the comments below. I want to hear how you feel and what your results looked like!