Chances are that you’ve heard of the Keto diet. And if you’re at all interested in health and wellness, you’ve probably Googled it. And you were probably bombarded with Pinterest boards, books, podcasts, and catchy headlines that promise quick results. As a health coach, my job is to filter through all of the information so that 1) you don’t have to and 2) you can get an unbiased opinion that’s not motivated by a sale. So let’s get to it.
Keto is short for Ketosis, which is the term used when the body is fueled by fat rather than carbohydrates. The typical person eats enough carbohydrates (grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, beans, etc), that they don’t need to tap into their fat stores for energy. So in order to use that stored fat as fuel, the amount of carbohydrates consumed needs to be significantly reduced, while increasing fat and protein. This equates to something around 75% of calories from fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates.
What people love about Keto
People rave about the mental clarity that they experience once going Keto.
Because fats are more filling than carbohydrates, people stay full for longer. It’s simply harder to over eat.
Fat is a more efficient source of energy. Just like quality wood burns longer than pine needles, the body can run on fat a lot longer than it can on carbohydrates.
What can be tricky about Keto
It takes the average person 2-7 days to get into a state of Ketosis. And this requires that you follow the plan perfectly.
You won’t actually know if your body is in a state of ketosis unless you do a blood test or a urine test. Both kinds of tests are available at a typical drug store.
You can knock yourself out of ketosis by eating too much protein.
The Keto diet paired with intermittent fasting is the most impactful approach, but also requires the largest lifestyle shift.
Your body has probably been running off of glucose for a majority of your life. So when you create a drastic shift in the type of calories that you consume, you may experience something called the keto flu. Symptoms range from feeling lightheaded or dizzy, brain fog, or muscle cramping.
There is a large margin for error between the foods that you are allowed to eat and the change in lifestyle that it would require.
So here is where I’m supposed to say whether or not you should try the Keto diet, right? The truth is that the answer is different for everyone. Lifestyle, age, health history, commitment level, goals and a whole slew of other factors are all part of the equation. Ultimately, I believe that small changes over time lead to the most sustainable health improvements. If you want to learn more about how to start making changes to your lifestyle, let’s talk.