Eat, March 22, 2018

Keto – Life Changing Or Just The Latest Diet Fad?

What Even Is Keto?

Keto is a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet that gets your body into a state of ketosis. In short, you set up an environment where your body uses fat as its main fuel source rather than glucose.

Why Try A Keto Diet?

As well as weight loss, a lot of people are seeing results like better mental clarity (less brain fog), reversing type 2 diabetes, reduction in IBS symptoms, less sugar cravings and as a treatment for depression. It’s also a proven treatment for epilepsy.

The Not So Great Bits

  • Ketogonic diets have been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920s, but it’s only recently been utilized by the general public. This means we don’t really know what the long terms effects of getting into a state of ketosis, and remaining there for long period of time, are.
  • It’s extremely anti social ‘Nah, it’s all good – you guys enjoy that pasta, I’ll just sit here with my fat bomb and BPC. (BPC = Bulletproof Coffee)
  • Surely consuming that much fat (think somewhere around 130g of fat per day!!) can’t be good for you?
  • It can raise cortical levels, and combining it with IF (Intermittent Fasting) can mess with your hormones, which isn’t good news for anyone, especially for anyone currently under a lot of stress.
  • It’s very restrictive – lots of will power needed!
  • It is a ‘diet’ – think restriction, control, will power and counting macros.

Should You Give It A Go?

If you are struggling with weight loss, have an unhealthy relationship with sugar,  are suffering from autoimmune symptoms, or could just do with re-setting your relationship with food it might be worth a shot. But it is an extreme diet and new research is coming out that women especially just can’t process that much fat. Staying in ketosis too long has been linked to slow thyroid function, which isn’t great news for most of us, but especially for anyone suffering from hypothyroidism. If you are thinking about giving it a go, make sure to consult a medical professional, and definitely don’t plan to go on the diet long-term.

15 Things You Need To Know About Keto Before You Start

  1. It’s a very strict diet and you need to be disciplined to get into ketosis and remain there.
  2. It helps to use an app to track your macros (Carbs, fats and proteins). Try Senza, Carb Manager, or Keto Diet App.
  3. Preparation is KEY! Make your meals in advance and freeze them, make snacks for when you are really struggling and need a quick fix. Be prepared to be spending a few hours each weekend on food prep.
  4. Find a good electrolyte that contains calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium. And that doesn’t contain glucose.
  5. Find a support network either online, a buddy to join you on your journey or look for people in your area who are already doing keto and organise a meet up. Start with this facebook group.
  6. Don’t plan to do it longterm. A recommended approach could be to do it for a short period of time, then introduce carb cycling, and then come off it and maintain a clean, healthy diet, but it definitely isn’t recommended to use as a quick fix and then go back bad eating habits.
  7. Check out this page for recipes and advice
  8. See here to calculate your macros
  9. You’ll want to get familiar with bullet proof coffee – the idea is to have this for breakfast to keep you full and avoid spiking your insulin. So essentially you are fasting until lunch. If you don’t drink coffee you can essentially ‘bullet proof’ any hot drink – decaf coffee, tea, turmeric latte, hot cacao.
  10. Check out Dr Berg’s Youtube page for information, inspiration and keto facts.
  11. Get medical advice before trying it – especially if you are female, and especially if you are suffering from hypothyroid symptoms.
  12. Don’t cheat and try to ‘trick’ your body by consuming lots of keto treats. Focus on LOADS of non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats like olive oil and avocado, and eat good sustainable, free range / grass-fed sources of protein.
  13. Be careful with the amount of protein you consume, too much will kick you out of keto.
  14. You can easily buy keto sticks to check if you are in ketosis (you pee on it and it gives you a reading)
  15. Understand that it is a ‘diet’ – you will be counting macros, restricting your eating and for most of us dieting in this way is not compatible with long term, positive health changes.
Image: Diet Doctor, The Big Man’s World
For fat bomb recipe see here

Note: Consider seeking medical advice before making any dietary change.

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