The Keto Diet- Is More Fat Still The Best Diet in 2022? Is the Keto Diet a lifestyle or just another fad diet? With many social media influencers and even celebrities jumping on the Keto bandwagon, it’s a diet I get asked about frequently. I think it’s long overdue that we take a deeper dive and explore some facts in this space of nutritional chaos and confusion.
First, what is the Ketogenic diet in a nutshell? Simply put, it’s a high fat, very low carb diet where you encourage the body to go into ketosis. Ketosis is essentially when your body burns stored fat instead of sugars (or carbs) for energy.
As a diet, this can mean, for some, that you burn unwanted fat since you’ll be using that fat for energy, rather than supplementing with extra sugars.
Is it effective and who is it for?
Even though the ketogenic diet was introduced as a therapeutic diet in the 1920s, it’s still often referred to as a “fad” diet. With such a long history, is that an accurate assumption?
The varying opinions on it may be due to its transition from a popular treatment as a therapy for epilepsy to a modern approach to weight loss.
There are different approaches to the keto diet. A standard ketogenic diet means eating very low carb (5%), a moderate amount of protein (20%), and high amounts of fat (75%). Some people also choose to fast, do a series of 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days, increase carbs when working out, or increase the protein to fat ratio. At the end of the day, it means eating very little carbs and a lot more dietary fat.
What qualifies as carbs?
- Foods and drinks with added sugar: baked goods, candy, soda, fruit juice, most packaged food, cereal, etc.
- Grains such as rice, pasta, cereal, and wheat
- Beans and legumes
- High starch vegetables such as potatoes
- Condiments and sauces that usually have added sugar such as ketchup and barbecue sauce
- Fruit because of its sugar content
What are the dietary fats?
- Meat: beef, chicken, pork, turkey, venison, etc.
- Eggs with the yolk
- Butter and cream and oils
- Fatty fish
- Nuts and seeds
One glance at that, and it’s common to feel disbelief. Most of us are taught to eat our whole grains and cut back on meat and fat. How could a diet that recommends so much fat have so many benefits?
What do Scientific Studies Say …?
The truth is, there are several studies that outline the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet. These include when it comes to weight loss, managing heart disease, brain disease, skin conditions, reducing symptoms of diabetes, as well as for treating epilepsy.
An interesting 2003 randomized trial was published in the New England Journal of Medicine. They separated 63 people into a low-fat group and a low-carb group. Over the course of the year, they tracked the differences in results. In the end, the low-carb group lost the most body fat compared to the low-fat group.
Here’s the interesting part. The low-carb group’s results really started to show around the 3-6 month point. Around the year point, each group hit a plateau in their results.
This study, among others, shows what’s often true for most diets and weight loss strategies. If the result you’re focused on is losing weight, expect a more rapid result in the beginning. By the year point, achieving dramatic results will be very difficult without changing over to another dramatic diet.
So, if your only goal is to lose a lot of weight quickly, I will say what I say about any diet,” expect temporary results”.
If you’re open to digging deeper into what’s a long-term, wellness strategy for your body, one that helps you thrive in this journey called life, then I am a huge advocate of experimenting with what protocols work best for you.
The Keto diet is effective for many reasons, beyond weight. Experiment with what works for you while also valuing having a healthy relationship with food.
Here’s the tragedy of any diet. The period of time in which the most weight is lost is initially because of such a big change in the eating styles. When the initial shock to the body wears off and the weight loss may plateau,this is when people will often fall into the trap of disappointment and seek the next big thing. This is what we refer to as yo-yo dieting.
In a study conducted by Columbia University, 485 women were asked about how many times they’d lost and then regained 10 pounds in any year. They found that at least 73% of the participants had experienced yo-yo dieting, which can actually put women at higher risk for heart disease!
Why is this a health risk?
Going on and off extreme, and highly restrictive diets puts the body into a stress response and take a toll on your metabolism. That amount of stress can cause a number of symptoms, including inhibiting your body’s ability to burn calories and fat.
I’m not sharing all this to alarm you. It’s to invite you to change the approach to diets and dieting fads and culture. If you’re curious about the Keto diet, or any other protocol, there are numerous reported and well-studied benefits! Approach with an open mind, with an intention of experimentation and curiosity, and be willing to also examine your relationship to food and the results you’re expecting at the same time.
At Nourishment Vitality, we advocate a more sustainable approach to health, fitness, and wellness. We feel the need to say this because there seems to be a large percentage of the “health and fitness” industry that profits off of making us feel inadequate, confused, or as if some major part of ourselves requires fixing. It isn’t.
There is a smarter and more sustainable way to approach weight management and it most definitely isn’t with the kind of restrictive dieting that can lead to health issues, eating disorders, or negatively affect our metabolism. The easier it is to adopt a healthier lifestyle, the more sustainable it will be for the long run.
Science shows that relying on willpower, habit trackers, and even accountability programs are not enough when it comes to lasting wellness and sustainable change
Nourishment Vitality specializes in Innovative Results-Focused Wellness Programs that deal with some of the most common health and wellness challenges of our times including:
Breaking unhealthy habits.
Correct nutritional & psychology practices.
Stress & anxiety management.