Celebrities and bloggers are ranting and raving about the ketogenic or “keto” diet. The keto diet is a diet that is high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and moderate in proteins. Carbohydrates, in particular, simple carbohydrates, break down into sugar (glucose) in our blood. When the body does not have enough glucose in the blood, it turns to fat stores for energy. Within a few days of being on a strict ketogenic diet, the body will increase the amount of ketones in the blood and go into ketosis. This is where the name “Keto Diet” comes from. In a sense, you become a fat burning machine.
But what are the risks and benefits associated with a ketogenic diet?
Risks & Benefits With A Ketogenic Diet
The truth is you can loose weight on any calorie restricted diet. However, the quality of what you are eating is most important for long term health. To be more healthy in general, consider switching out simple carbohydrates such as sugars and pastas for more complex carbohydrates and fibers like oats and garbanzo beans. Complex carbohydrates take longer to digest, make you feel full longer, and don’t spike your blood sugar levels. A lot of keto dieters avoid fibers which can lead to digestive issues such as constipation. All something to take into account when considering the keto diet.
While in theory, the keto diet is an effective diet for weight loss, the main problem I have with the ketogenic diet is that people eat very unhealthy foods in the process. In the past, people have been told that fats are bad and to avoid them as much as possible. With the keto diet, people are encouraged to eat lots of fats.
Fats are not inherently bad, however the types of fats you consume can be. Consuming too many saturated and pro inflammatory fats can increase your LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, risk of atherosclerosis, blood clots, erectile dysfunction, heart attacks and strokes. In addition, it can be easy to gain the weight back when participating in restrictive diets. Often times this leads to yo-yo dieting and health issues. Ultimately, get educated and choose what is right for you.
With all that said, it can be very easy to boil down the keto diet to eating a large portion of your calories in fat. If you are going to do that, please make sure you do it in a healthy way. Here is a brief list to help get your started
7 Fats To Eat Little Of and/or in Moderation
4) Heavy Cream
5) Fried Foods
6) Cured and Processed Meats
7) Trans Fats and Vegetable oils (ex. Corn, soybean, and Canola Oil)
7 Healthy Fats
1) Avocados and Avocado Oil
2) Olives and Extra Virgin, Cold Pressed Olive Oil
3) Hemp Hearts
4) Nuts and Nut Butters
5) Fatty Fish Such as Salmon
6) Chia Seeds
7) Flax Seeds
Also, for your overall health and well-being, don’t shy away from getting your recommended daily dose of fruits and vegetables. The fiber and nutrients you get from these foods is critical to your overall health and well-being. You may have a skinny waist but who cares about that if you don’t have optimal health?