What is the keto diet?
Chances are you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet by now.
The keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. By manipulating macronutrients the body goes from burning glucose (from carbs) to burning ketones (from fat) as energy.
If you’re looking to go keto, your macronutrient breakdown will be roughly:
- 70-80% Fat
- 20% Protein
- 5% Carbohydrate
That’s a whole lot of butter, olive oil, lard, fatty meats and fish, and essentially zero sugar and starch.
It is important to note that keto is not like a regular low-carb diet. You can’t just go off plan for one meal to enjoy a slice of pizza or a beer. Breaking your diet will kick your body out of ketosis and negate the “fat-burning” benefits of keto.
A typical keto diet should prioritize:
- High-quality fats like eggs, avocado, butter, and olive oil
- Organic, grass-fed meats and wild-caught seafood
- Low-carb, non-starchy colorful vegetables
- Some nuts and seeds
- Real, not processed, foods
Things to avoid include:
- Low-quality fats such as deep-fried foods, hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils, and low-quality meats
- Sugar, bread, cake, candy, potatoes, pasta, legumes, some yogurts, and even too many carrots and beets
- Too much meat or other protein sources (more than 20% of your macronutrient ratios)
The diet was originally formulated for medical therapeutic purposes. It has been proven as a successful intervention for treatment-resistant epilepsy, brain cancers, Alzheimer's and other neurological conditions.
But recently the keto diet craze has taken on a life of its own. If you scroll your Instagram it may appear that everyone and their dog is adopting a high-fat way of life. With all the nutrition gurus and ab-fluencers spouting it as the answer, you’re probably feeling like maybe you should give keto a try too.
Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of a ketogenic diet so that you can begin to make an educated decision.
What are the possible pros?
- Loss of body fat thanks to the satiety of fat and utilizing fat as fuel
- Enhanced cognition and ability to concentrate
- Improved health biomarkers such as insulin sensitivity, lowered blood pressure and favorable changes to cholesterol
- Type 2 diabetes management
- Inhibition and prevention of the growth of cancer cells
- Reduction of seizures in those with epilepsy
What are the potential cons?
- Nutrient deficiencies from restricting food groups like fruits and some vegetables
- Symptoms of the “keto flu” such as headaches, nausea, irritability and digestive disturbances
- Sustainability. To experience the benefits of keto means saying no to ice cream, beer, bread, rice, potatoes, cake, etc. There is no such thing as a Saturday “treat day.”
- Digestive issues from low fiber, especially if vegetable intake is low
- Negative impact on performance, especially for those engaging in high-intensity activity
- Long term research is limited
Is keto the answer for you?
If you’ve been hanging around OPEX long enough then I’m sure you’ve already guessed our answer… It depends!
There is a time and a place for a keto diet, but is it the right nutrition approach for everyone?
Every single person who walks into OPEX South Lake has a unique lifestyle, body composition, health history, preferences, activity level, and goals. Their nutrition needs to meet them where they’re at!
That’s why we take a personalized approach to nutrition.
We help you find a lifestyle and diet that gives you great mental acuity, supports your daily function, and help you live a vital and fulfilled life!
If that’s keto, great. But remember that sticking to a diet, whether it be keto, vegan, or paleo, is not the end goal. Your health is!