One diet plan that is becoming increasingly popular right now is the ketogenic approach. Called keto for short, it may seem like everyone is hopping on this bandwagon. Is it right for you? What is the keto diet all about anyway?
Let’s take a closer look at this approach to help determine whether this is a diet you should consider using.
The Premise of The Keto Diet
The keto diet is a very low carb diet as it focuses on taking your carbohydrate intake down to just 5% of the total calories that you consume. Fats will instead make up the bulk of your calorie intake, providing you with 65% of your total daily calorie intake. Protein makes up the rest, coming in at 30% total.
By using this macro set-up, you are effectively able to deprive your body of glucose so that it’s forced to run off an alternative source of fuel called ketone bodies, hence the name – the keto diet.
The Benefits of The Keto Diet
So what benefits will this bring you? By using the ketogenic diet plan, you’ll receive the following:
- Very stable and controlled blood glucose levels
- Decreased hunger (some people report feeling no hunger whatsoever)
- Increased focus and concentration, once you are adapted to the diet and assuming you perform well on it (some people, simply don’t, in which case, the diet should be abandoned)
- Weight loss results
If reaching a target body weight is your primary focus, you’ll likely find that this diet does help get you there.
That said, it’s not without drawbacks. Because your carbohydrate intake is set so low (less than 30 grams per day for most people), this means you’ll have a very low dietary fibre intake as well. This can lead many people to experience issues such as constipation, bloating, and abdominal discomfort.
Likewise, because of the low carb nature of it, you may find that your energy level declines significantly. While some people will notice their energy level improves again once they adapt to the reduced carb intake and start using ketones as a fuel source, other people never adapt and instead, wind up feeling miserable the entire time they’re on the diet plan.
What You’ll Eat on The Keto Diet
So what foods will you consume when using the keto diet? The main choices you’ll eat include all main protein sources – chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, pork, and cheese coupled with high-fat foods such as oils, butter, bacon, coconut milk, cream, and small amounts of nuts and seeds or nut butter.
Some vegetables are allowed, however, portion sizes must be kept quite low and they should be the lowest carb containing vegetables such as spinach, kale, mushrooms, broccoli, and cabbage. Vegetables like carrots, squash, zucchini, and peppers should be avoided.
Making Your Decision
So all in all, is this diet for you? If you’re someone who really deals with hunger when on a calorie-reduced diet and don’t mind cutting out the carbs from your menu, you may find that this diet works very well for you.
If on the other hand, you crave pasta, bread, and cereal on a daily basis, you will likely have a very hard time sticking with the keto diet. Furthermore, if you are very active and especially if you are regularly doing intense exercise training, you’ll also likely find that you aren’t very happy on the ketogenic diet because your energy level and performance will dramatically decline.
So keep these points in mind as you decide whether or not this diet is for you. Most people will do better using a more moderate low carb approach that doesn’t go to this extreme.
...and remember, qualified nutritionists at Healthy Being are available to offer further general advice to help guide you in selecting the right products. So please, feel free to contact us at any time!
Dr Peter Succar heads up the Product Research Team at Healthy Being and is an enthusiastic Health & Fitness Lifestyle Coach. He's passionate about helping others obtain optimum health, advocating realistic and achievable changes in diets and lifestyles that promote the body’s natural immunity, its ability to self-heal and achieve overall mental and physical well-being.