It’s that time of year where marketing to those who want to lose weight sky rockets. There are many diet fads out there and you may ask yourself Is The Keto Diet Right For You?

The New Year has begun and you are frantically searching for the latest and greatest diet that will get you the fastest results.  You finally find the Keto Diet and people are talking about it.  Keto this Keto that.  Your co-workers and friends are constantly talking about no carbs and everything Keto. 

The Keto Diet is actually nothing new.  A diet that trains your body to burn ketones for energy has been around a long time…it’s just gotten ‘sexier’.  Diets like the Atkins Diet and the Underground Fat Loss Bible have now been relabeled, rebranded, and re-marketed into the Keto Diet. 

So why are so many people talking about this miracle diet where you can eat fat and lose weight?  Well it’s actually pretty simple, it works.  People have been able to lose quite a bit of body fat in a short period of time on the Keto Diet.  But as many of our grandparents may have told us “fast money isn’t always good money.”  There isn’t much research on this diet for the simple fact that people haven’t been able to stick with it.  This is where the problem lies with people who struggle to stick with a diet plan.  If it’s so difficult or so strict that you cannot stay true to it you will give up. 

So let’s take a closer look at what it’s like to change over from a regular diet of eat what you want to the Keto Diet.  Since your body probably has gotten used to using carbohydrates for energy, mainly because the American diet is stuffed full of processed foods, get ready for some serious difficulties from the beginning.  The first stage of the Keto Diet has been labeled the ‘Keto Flu’.  This is because your will feel like absolute garbage in the beginning.  Some people have experienced nausea, lack of energy, dizziness, restless sleep, and agitation to name a few. 

This, in my opinion, is where the majority of those who start quit.  There aren’t minor symptoms, they can cause you to miss work or miss workouts.  I have never met anyone with the flu say “wow that was awesome!” 

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There is a light at the end of the tunnel though.  After your body reverts to burning fats for energy things seem to level out.  Your energy comes back, the nausea stops, and you sleep a bit better.  But this is only if you stick to the plan. I mean to the letter!  What people seem to not understand is that there is no middle ground for the keto Diet.  You can’t cheat in the middle and pick back up the next day.  Once you consume any amount of carbs (over 35 grams) your body goes right back to burning carbs for energy and you slip out of ketosis.  But what happens to that fat you ate for the previous 3 days?  Well it gets stored of course.  You gave your body what it wanted, and easy source of energy, carbohydrates. 

Another thing to be concerned about is what happens when you come off of the program?  Let me try and break this down for you. Your body looks for the easiest element to break down into energy which is carbohydrates.  The next element that is easiest for your body to break down is protein.  Yes this includes muscle tissue.  Finally your body goes after fats. So you decide to consume higher levels of fat, which by the way carry 9 calories per gram, and cut out carbs (4 calories per gram).  But you begin to feel the Keto Flu coming on and get a bit dizzy so you eat a banana or apple or even a handful of crackers.  Your body immediately senses the quick energy you just gave it and leaves burning the fats for the carbs.   

Your body switches from burning carbs for energy a lot faster than switching to burning fat for energy.  So it stores those fats.  Let’s go back to the calorie formula.  If you consume 30 grams of fat, or 270 calories, then decide to ‘cheat’ with 40 grams of carbohydrates, or 160 calories, you have just added 430 calories to your meal.  This doesn’t sound too bad but considering it takes your body 12-15 hours to process a meal, from mouth to excretion, you can see how these fat calories can add up no matter how small your cheating is. 

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Now our brains are designed to run on glucose which is mainly created by carbohydrates.  Yes there are ways in which your body can create glucose from fats but it is not as easily accessible.  This is created by the oxidation energy system.  So your brain goes through the same process in order to find glucose which creates symptoms like headaches, loss of memory, and confusion.  Sounds fun huh?! 

Let’s move on to our micronutrients, you know those small elements that give our bodies what they need to function.  Since you’ll be consuming less fruits and vegetables you will not be getting the vitamins, minerals, and fiber your body is longing for.  Here’s something to think about; fiber gives our bodies protection against many gastrointestinal cancers.  It also helps us feel full and helps with weight loss.  I cannot understand why anyone would want to take such a huge risk by not giving our bodies what they need.  

So now we have this ‘sexy’ program that is getting a lot of attention swirling around and people are buying in to the marketing.  Walk in to a grocery store and you’ll see.  Keto this Keto that.  There are so many companies getting in on the Keto craze and for nothing else but to make a lot of money.  I challenge you to keep track of how many things you see that tell you that their product conforms to the Keto Diet and then when the next Diet Fad comes around see how many of them switch over. 

I’m sure there will be some push back by the Keto believers.  I expect that.  But what I cannot tolerate is using flashy words and celebrities to push something that has been shown to cause more harm than good in the name of making money.  If these people are truly looking out for your best interest, they would push for sticking with a well-balanced diet, being committed, and living a healthy lifestyle.  That, my friends, has been proven to get you in, and keep you in, the best shape. 

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