The Keto Diet
Keto is of sorts a buzzword right now. Everyone is curious about trying it or raving about some insane results they’ve gotten. It’s the new trend. However, it’s just a way of eating. Almost all “diets” work, but what really matters is if you can stick with it over time. Keto isn’t magic.
What is it?
Keto is a very high fat diet that includes almost no carbohydrates. We’re talking no more than 50g of carbohydrates for most people on a keto diet. The goal is to put the body into a state called “ketosis”. This is when the body switches its preferred energy substrate. For the normal person who isn’t on keto, carbs are the preferred source of energy. However, the body can adapt and switch to fat as the preferred substrate.
With this shift in metabolism, fat becomes more readily used. This allows the body to burn more body fat in the process, thus explaining how people lose a ton of weight on this diet.
It isn’t that easy though. You have to work hard to stay in this ketogenic state. Most people think it is automatic, and it isn’t. Getting to this point takes some time.
A lot of the initial weight that gets lost on this diet is actually in the form of water weight. Carbs helps to pull water into the cells, so when they get removed from the equation the body drops a ton of water. People claiming insane weight loss fail to mention that most of it wasn’t actually body tissue. Over time, yes, body fat will reduce on this diet.
Ketosis does help to burn body fat, but one of the main methods that weight comes off is due to a caloric deficit. While fats are high in calories, they are satiating. So, when we are mainly consuming proteins and fats, it is hard to eat a ton. We actually end up eating less and thus lose weight. Again, keto isn’t magic and operates within similar principles of most diets.
When is keto useful?
Keto is great for weight loss. It’s been shown as an effective way for people to eat that has led to plenty of great weight loss stories. Again, it really comes down to how well you can stick with it. When people are trying to lose some weight quickly, maybe for a wedding or event, this is a great way to do so. While some of it may be water weight, inches will still come off.
When considering someone who has a lot of weight to lose, keto is also very effective. It just needs to be used correctly and fit into a lifestyle. It has been used pretty often as a weight loss intervention for some.
As a disclaimer, it is easy to gain weight back after keto. It should be followed strictly, and if you ever decide to switch how you eat again you should ease into it. When people immediately switch to a new way of eating, they can rapidly gain that lost weight.
Having a coaching such as myself assist you in this transition will help tremendously.
When is keto not effective?
There is a reason that not everyone is eating this way. It isn’t for everyone. When considering just weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, keto is great. However, there are times when keto is not going to be of great benefit.
One of these is for performance. If you are an athlete, keto is not going to be great for you. As an athlete you may be working on endurance, strength, or power. All three of these are activities that are best performed when carbs are present. The energy systems work best when there are readily available carb sources. Plenty of athletes have tried eating keto and performing well, but they always have a decreased level of performance when compared to a normal diet containing carbs. That’s just how physiology works.
If you’re someone who is trying to build muscle mass, such as a bodybuilder, keto is not going to be great either. As you workout, glycogen (form the carbs) goes to the muscles. This doesn’t work as well when you aren’t eating carbs in the first place. There is a reason no one is talking about keto bodybuilders, because they don’t exist. Most people on keto are lean and muscular, but on the smaller side. Muscles love protein, carbs, and water. Two of three are missing when you are on a ketogenic diet.
Now, if your goal is not to grow in size or perform well at certain activities, keto is great. It all depends on what you are seeking to accomplish with your body. The way you eat will follow that lead.
To conclude, keto is not for everyone. However, it does have benefits and can be an awesome lifestyle choice. It all comes down to whether or not it fits your goals and chose lifestyle. All diets work, it just depends on whether you can maintain it over time.
With these considerations, keto is great for general weight loss and health. It is even better when you have a lot of weight you need to lose. It is advised that you can have a rebound effect with your weight on keto if not careful. Make sure that if you decide to switch to another way of eating that you ween yourself into it.
When you are looking to perform well for sports or certain activities that have endurance, strength, or power as desired traits, keto isn’t great. It can actually hinder your performance in most of these domains. These activities do best when there are carbs readily available. It is also suggested that you would not want to follow keto for bodybuilding. A couple of the needed components for substantial muscle growth are missing with this diet.
It all comes down to your goals when deciding if keto is right for you!