One of the great struggles of life is the way we view our bodies. For some, their weight is a problem that genuinely causes them stress. This universal struggle is why fad diets are even relevant. A relevancy that doesn’t last long. The most popular ones are the low carb options. A lot of people have taken the stance that ‘carbs are the devil’ and so avoid any source of carbs that they can. This can be partly attributed to the fact that low carb diets have shown promise in weight loss via diets such as Atkins. It’s with this that has made diets like the Ketogenic (keto) diet so popular. Surely some celebrity somewhere said it worked and it gained traction. Which is strange, if you knew it’s history.
What is Keto
"The keto diet was originally intended for medical use."
Keto isn’t the easiest diet to follow. Any low carb diet is going to be hard to follow, however, keto is a diet specifically designed to change the way your body creates energy. Unless you’re already on a keto diet, your body predominantly gets energy through a process called glycolysis. Glycolysis is a process in which glucose (sugar from carbs) is broken down to create pyruvate. The energy released from this process creates ATP and NADH. In ketosis, the body creates ketones via a process called ketogenesis. These ketones are what your body uses as energy.
The keto diet was originally intended for medical use. It was a way to treat people with various brain disorders; epilepsy being one of them. The increase in healthy fats has shown to increase brain function and clarity in the medical field and even greatly reduce the occurrence of seizures. You may be familiar with this if you have ever seen the movie ‘Lorenzo’s Oil’.
It was originally designed to treat epileptic patients, but the Keto diet is also used to drastically reduce weight in those undergoing heart surgeries. It would be counterintuitive for those undergoing heart surgeries to continue to be overweight. The more overweight they are, the more dangerous the surgery.
Reasons That Keto Might Not Work for You
There are quite a few reasons in which it would not be a good idea to do a keto diet. One of which is if you have family or personal history of heart disease. Consuming a diet in which you get more than 40% of your calories from fat has been shown to increase your risk of heart disease, as well as raise your cholesterol. If you do it right, these fats and cholesterol you consume will be the good kind. It should still be noted that this is a potential risk.
"Ketosis has been shown to decrease anaerobic performance."
The other reason it would not be beneficial for you is if your sport requires explosiveness. Ketosis has been shown to decrease anaerobic performance. This is due to the anaerobic system being less efficient in ketosis. Athletes that perform short and intense bursts do so anaerobically. Examples of this would be football players, sprinters, speed skaters, etc. Any sport in which you are going to be making movements so explosive that they only last 30 seconds or less are going to cross over into the anaerobic system. Anaerobic activity operates on ATP, which is created by ketosis. On the higher end of the anaerobic threshold the amount of ATP is burned far too fast. Your body must rely on glycogen for energy to keep performing. This is what makes ketosis inefficient because you won’t have much glycogen stores in ketosis, just ketones.
What Keto is Not
A lot of people hear that you can eat plenty of fats on the keto diet and go overboard. Keto is not a challenge to eat any lard filled, butter glazed dish you can get your hands on. This is not an invitation to eat bacon with a side of bacon for meals. It’s also not a miracle diet that is going to magically make you lean and muscular. The objective of the diet is to eat plenty of healthy fats. These fats include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, grass-fed butter, and organic cream cheese.
Benefits of Going Keto
"If you get it right, you can expect to see an immediate weight loss."
Keto is a diet that is easy to understand but hard to follow. It’s easy to follow because instead of 3 food groups, you now only have to track two. If you get it right, you can expect to see an immediate weight loss. The only issue is that this weight loss is mostly water weight, for some. It’s hard because so many foods have carbs and eating too many carbs will take you out of Ketosis. You should also make sure that you’re getting enough protein to maintain your muscle mass.
Some of the Cons
The best way to do keto is to do it short term. There may be no obvious serious side effects of a keto diet but, there are effects of its long term usage. Some studies have suggested that this diet can damage the heart. Some initially complain of constipation and diarrhea. It may sound counterintuitive that people can complain about constipation and diarrhea in the same sentence. Constipation with Keto comes from the fact that your diet is now very low in fiber. This can be difficult for some to deal with at first and they will have to take laxatives. Diarrhea while on keto comes mostly from eating large amounts of coconut oil. Some have stated that they get loose stool when they eat high amounts of coconut oil.
Tips to Make Keto Successful
"It’s not a miracle diet..."
If you are going to do keto long term, we suggest that you get some kind of ketones testing device. There are various devices that test the breath, urine, and even blood for ketone levels. This will ensure that you don’t run into a dangerous condition called ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis is a condition caused by too high a number of ketones in the bloodstream. This is a potentially deadly condition in which the body is acidic from the increased ketone bodies. A free and easy way to tell if you may be in danger of this is to check your breath. If your breath has a sweet or acetone (nail polish remover) smell to it, it may be time to back off of the ketosis.
If you’re handling ketosis well but just want to be more comfortable and have more convenient fat options, make fat bombs. A fat bomb isn’t a contraption of lard destruction. It’s a snack that is compact and high in fat so that you can get some easy access to energy. We won’t cover specific recipes for these, there are lots of resources online that will provide you with tasty options for your fat bombs. Fat bombs will be instrumental if you are doing a ketogenic diet and you are always on the go. It can be difficult to find or prepare keto-friendly meals if you don’t have them premade. A favorite fat snack for some is butter coffee. You read it right. Butter coffee is exactly as its’ name implies. You put a tablespoon or two of grass-fed butter in your freshly brewed coffee and you have super snack! Some use coconut or MCT oil for this as well. Choose what works best for you and stay away from the sugar. Since this diet can be complicated to follow: it may be a good idea to elect the assistance of a qualified doctor or nutritionist.
A ketogenic diet could be just the thing you need to boost your weight loss and get the ball rolling to a leaner body. It’s not a miracle diet, but it may help you lose some of that stubborn weight you’ve been having a hard time getting rid of. Ultimately, the best option is to follow a balanced diet, goal-specific workout plan, and be consistent. Seek the assistance of a qualified trainer
to go over your goals, general diet, and current workout plan. If they feel you need it, more specific diets can be addressed.
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