A few months back, a social media follower asked on their Instagram story for any general tips or advice about following a Keto diet. I gave that her my two cents and went on about my day, but realized this would make a great blog post!
Now, to be honest and straightforward, I only did a two-week Keto trial back in my studious collegiate days, so I’m no experienced expert on the subject. But, I decided to dig deeper into this relatively new diet to see if it’s a fad or here to stay, and who should or shouldn’t be on it!
A BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE KETO DIET
The Keto diet is similar to any low carb, high fat diet like the Atkins diet, with more restriction in carbohydrate intake. The human body produces glucose and insulin as a by-product of ingesting carbohydrates (a.k.a carbs). Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy. Thus, carbs equal fuel for humans.
A Keto diet involves drastically reducing your carb intake and replacing most of these carbohydrate calories with fat calories instead. This reduction in carbs puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. In ketosis, your liver creates ketones and uses them instead of glucose as energy. Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help survive when food intake is “low”. Ketosis usually takes 2-3 days to reach, but is very easy to slip out of with an increase in slight carb consumption.
DO NOT STARVE YOURSELF CALORIC WISE, ONLY CARBOHYDRATE WISE if you decide to try out the Keto diet for the first time.
So how many carbs should I eat then? How much puts me out of ketosis?
Studies have shown that 20-50 grams is the MAXIMUM amount of carbs you should eat daily on a Keto diet. This varies person to person, especially if there’s a significant weight difference. You should track your macro nutrients (i.e. fats, proteins, and carbs) and avoid carb laden foods such as:
- Most fruit
- Potatoes (most vegetables grown underground)
- Rice, pasta, bread
- All sugar (sweets and sodas especially)
Food you should eat to maintain a Keto diet and ketosis includes:
- Organic and grass-fed meats and fish
- Eggs and seafood
- Above ground grown veggies (the greener the better)
- Nuts, berries, and low sugar milk
Most people slip up with their liquid intake while on a Keto diet. Drink only water, coffee, tea with NO SUGAR ADDED. This is key in maintaining ketosis.
If you’re trying to maintain or build muscles (good luck), like I am, keep your protein intake at 1-1.2 grams for each pound of body weight in order to try to retain what you have already worked so hard for. I’ll go into more details later in this post.
EFFECTS OF THE KETO DIET
The reason most nutrition plans get classified as a “diet” is because they aren’t long term oriented.
Typical diets either have a.) negative side effects that aren’t good for longevity or b.) not feasible mentally or physically.
Like all diets, the Keto diet has many positives, but also some negative aspects involved with it:
- The Keto diet has been by far the best diet for optimal weight loss. It has been found that people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than someone who was on a generic caloric restricting diet.
- A big issue with people and their health today is their lack of discipline when it comes to shoving food down their throat. The Keto diet suppresses your cravings and hunger. With no fluctuating insulin levels, the munchies goes away, and those hunger feels dwindle down tremendously.
- The ketones created in the liver are very good and healthy for your brain. You’ll notice that while on a Keto diet your mental performance improves and the energy you have throughout the day seems more than before. You’ll have better focus of your energy and those afternoon crashes after big meals will be gone FOREVER.
- The “Keto flu” is by far the most annoying and worst side effect. Typically, the Keto flu takes a few days to adjust, and unfortunately while in this phase, you’ll have low energy, bad mental performance, hunger, sleep issues, and nausea. Some people call it the “fog phase” of the Keto diet.
- While on a Keto diet, you’ll be lacking some essential nutrients that your body needs to stay in optimal health. You’ll have to add extra salt, vitamins, and minerals to your extremely low carb, high fat, and moderate protein Keto diet.
- If you’re an avid gym goer, your physical performance will decrease. This is what drew me away from the Keto diet. I was shrinking, and all my lifts were going down with it.
MY TRIAL WITH KETO
Yes, like I’ve said in the introduction of this post, I’ve only tried Keto for two weeks. The reason I was on a Keto diet was a.) to cut down some fat for a Spring break beach trip, and b.) to give it a try!
Immediately, I started losing way too much muscle for my liking, and felt very fatigued in and out of the gym. My muscles looked very flat and my performance was decreasing. It was actually very depressing. Maybe I wasn’t patient enough, but I called it quits. I wasn’t willing to wait and find out!
Everyone is different of course, so the Keto diet might be perfect for you. I’m just a huge advocate of a well-balanced nutrition plan, covering all macros and a majority of essential micronutrients (vitamins and minerals needed for bodily function).
I do believe a Keto diet is perfect for obese people looking to jump-start their fat-loss journey. Also, Keto is effective for anyone looking to shed a quick few pounds (unless you want to keep your muscle mass). Just make sure you consult a doctor and have an intake of lagging vitamins and minerals while on Keto.
Like most things in life, you won’t know if it is or isn’t for you unless you try it out for yourself! So give it a try if you’re curious.
Hope you all enjoyed this week’s post on the Keto diet! Please make sure to consult a physician before taking any of my advice! If you’ve missed last week’s minimalism post on picking up your room, click here!
As always, don’t forget to comment, like, share, and subscribe!
“Keto is awesome for the people who it’s awesome for.”
Book of the Month: “The Little Book of Common Sense Investing: The Only Way to Guarantee Your Fair Share of Stock Market Returns” by John C. Bogel