What is The Ketogenic Diet
Like so many before it, the Ketogenic diet began with great intentions. In fact, it might even produce what some consider to be a miracle for children suffering from epilepsy. However, what was intended as a medical treatment has made its way into the fitness world because of a very convenient side effect: fat loss.
The gist of the fad diet is this: cut out the carbs, replace them with fat, and your body will use its stored fat as energy. The suggested macronutrient range for such a diet states that your fats should be 60-70 percent of your daily caloric intake, protein 20-30 percent, and your carbs should not exceed 50 grams per day. This will throw your body into Ketosis. Ketosis occurs when molecules called ketones build up in your bloodstream. Low carb levels mean low sugar levels, and your body will begin to use fat as energy.
So, What’s The Catch?
Sounds great right? Let’s be honest; that’s just what everyone wants to hear. Often people will consider that fact alone to outweigh any other negative feedback from most diets. But here’s the thing: this diet is a medical solution to a very serious chronic condition and is not designed for cutting your fat percentage. You’ll learn pretty quickly upon starting such a low-carb diet that it’s nearly impossible to maintain due to some serious side effects that may cause long-term damage to your body.
Let’s have a brief nerdy moment: Ketosis is a mild form of ketoacidosis, which is most commonly found in untreated type 1 diabetes. Your body will fail to adequately regulate ketone production, which causes a severe accumulation of keto acids. Not so fun fact: Ketoacidosis can be smelled on a person’s breath — the odor is usually described as fruit like or nail polish remover. It’s a pretty strong hint that your body is in distress.
Although there are a lack of studies concluding the long-term outcome of such a low carb diet, the fact that it suggests you cut out a macronutrient should be a pretty big red flag. Macronutrients such as protein, fats, and (you guessed it) carbohydrates, are the three primary nutrients our bodies require to function adequately.
A real Life Example
Nichole Goth, a former Body Composition Competitor, was introduced to the Ketogenic diet by her trainer. “It made me weak and very moody. After I stopped the diet I gained about 40lbs pretty quick. It really messed up my metabolism.”It took her about a month to reset her metabolism, and three more to lose the weight she gained once she recovered from the Ketogenic Diet.“Now I eat potatoes and sweet potatoes. I eat (approximately) 200g of carbs a day. I have 2-3 bananas, 2-6 apples, and 2-3 potatoes and a crap ton of broccoli daily. I just eat healthy.”
Why Do I need Carbs anyways?
Before the boycotting of carbs fad, there was the shunning of fat. The logic was that the fat you consumed simply turned into fat on your body. While this theory sounds like logic it was in fact debunked long before the diets were given up. Today we have all been influenced by the revolutionary Atkins diet, and why wouldn’t we be? It did show results after all! The truth is that cutting carbs out of your diet has unhealthy immediate side effects (excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, hunger, confusion, anxiety and/or irritability, tachycardia, lightheadedness and shakiness, sweating and chills, constipation, and increased level in cholesterol) and possibly very dangerous long-term side effects that we have not yet learned about.Carbohydrates are vital to your health. They provide energy, protect you against disease, and help control your weight. Body fat can be cut by simply being smart about which carbs you consume because not every carb is created equal. The formula is simple: choose fiber-rich fruits and veggies and avoid added sugar and processed foods. So why is the Ketogenic diet gaining popularity? The people seeing the most results are also frequently users of steroids. Their energy levels will not be affected as much and the side effects will be masked by the drugs.
What Should You do Instead?
Eat natural foods that have not been processed. Your eating habits should reflect your goals. Want to run a marathon? Guess what, those carbs really come in handy. Want to cut the fat and look more defined? Stop eating processed food.
Simply put, you will lose fat by balancing your macronutrients rather than cutting them out. This information is not new, this strategy has actually had more positive outcomes than any “diet” out there. Why? Because it is a healthy lifestyle. Education on nutrients and why we need them is not hard to find, it’s just something we don’t want to hear. It’s been said countless times before and I’ll say it again: there is no magic pill for fat loss, fitness, or good health. It takes hard work, dedication, and an understanding of how the body works.