Through the years, we have seen many fad diets have come and go. The Beverly Hills Diet, Atkins, Zone, Paleo, the list goes on and on.
Today, it seems like everywhere we turn the diet craze called Keto is popping up, and the premise may sound familiar.
Keto promises that if you cut carbs and load up on fat you will lose weight, elevate your mood and boost energy.
Does it deliver?
Keto emphasizes the following foods:
- Animal protein (fatty fish, grass-fed meat, dark meat poultry, bacon, eggs)
- Full-fat dairy
- Healthy oils
- Sources of healthy fats (avocado, nuts, flaxseed)
- Full fat dairy including butter and heavy cream
- Leafy greens and non-starchy veggies
- Fluids to stay hydrated (water, tea, bone broth)
And kicks these off the menu:
- Starchy veggies (like potatoes and corn)
- All fruit with the exception of berries
- Beans and legumes
- Grains (including whole grains)
- Sweets, sweeteners or anything with sugar
- Low-fat and sweetened dairy
Why so much fat and so few carbs?
The notion is two-fold. One, fats are naturally satisfying, so by eating a lot of them, you fill up faster and feel fuller longer. Meanwhile, by drastically cutting carbs and replacing them with large doses of fat, you can change your body’s fuel-burning process.
Your body primarily burns carbohydrates for energy, but when you deprive yourself of the typical fuel, your body shifts to a state called ketosis. During ketosis, the body converts fat into compounds called ketones that can be used as fuel. As your body burns off your reserves of carbs, you’ll lose water, so you may see weight loss right away.
So, what’s the downside?
Many keto dieters report a myriad of side effects in the early stages of this diet dubbed “keto flu”: headaches, fogginess and nausea. A sharp drop in carb intake can also lead to irritability and some report “keto breath”, an oddly fruity or foul aroma that is the result of exhaling chemical byproducts of ketosis.
Plus, cutting beans, whole grains, fruits and many types of veggies from your diet also means you may miss out on key nutrients which are valuable for your heart and healthy digestion. In terms of weight loss, the research is compelling, but as with most restrictive diets, keto may simply be too rigid to maintain over time and long-term health outcomes for people on this diet are still largely unknown.
The bottom line is, while scrutinizing what you eat can be beneficial, the problem with most fad diets is they usually over promise and under deliver. Choose an eating plan that works with your lifestyle and is something you can maintain for the long run to keep the weight off for good. Our personal trainers in San Diego can help you find ways to eat foods that satisfy your taste buds and help you meet your fitness goals. Contact us for a free consultation.