The keto diet seems to be getting a lot of media attention recently.
There are some celebrities that can’t get enough of keto such as:
Kim and Courtney Kardashian
And I’m sure many more are starting to try it out.
But why do they all feel it works so well?
Someone following a typical keto diet gets most of their daily calories from fat.
That may sound like a dream at first, as fatty foods are usually the tastiest.
The problem is, you can’t eat any carbs.
Imagine enjoying a lovely curry.
Apart from now, you can’t have any rice, naan bread or much sauce…
…all you’ve got left is some chicken.
Starting a keto diet is a massive change and is very different from other diets.
But does high fat make you lose fat?
And most of all, will this diet work for you?
What is the Keto Diet
High Fat Diet
The main aim of keto is to eat more fat and fewer carbohydrates.
But the diets fat requirements mean you have to consume much more fat than normal.
In fact, you may need to eat 3 times as much fat as you would otherwise.
Some unsaturated fats (like nuts and avocado) will make up part of the diet but a lot of saturated fats are encouraged such as oils, lard and butter.
This seems to go against everything we are taught about losing weight, which is maybe why it is gaining so much traction.
A lot of weight loss advice and healthy eating are based around reducing your fat intake.
1g of fat has more than twice as many calories as 1g of carbohydrates or protein.
Eating more seems to go against the obvious.
To be in a state of ‘ketosis’ you are only allowed to eat around 20-50g of carbohydrates.
This may sound ok but in comparison to a normal diet which contains around 250-250g of carbohydrates, it’s a massive difference.
Plus, one banana can contain about 27g of carbohydrates.
That could be your daily allowance gone.
This is a diet that really restricts your food choices.
You’re not allowed -
Pretty much everything you might enjoy.
Because you are mainly eating meat, fish, eggs all with plenty of oil, butter and high-fat dairy these are replacing your carbohydrate intake.
What does it do?
By reducing your carbohydrate intake so low, and replacing it with fat, it is meant to get you into a state of ketosis.
This is meant to make your body more efficient at using fat for energy.
That means it should be burning more fat than normal because there are no carbs to be used as fuel.
So instead of burning carbs, our metabolism should burn more fat.
Along with making us fat burning powerhouses, it can also help lower blood sugar levels.
This is true as fat is harder to digest than carbohydrates meaning there is a slow release of energy.
That slow release means blood sugar levels don’t spike like they would after eating a family size bag of Haribos.
This would mean you would reduce your risk of diabetes if you stopped eating sugary foods.
Does it work?
People must be getting results from the keto diet for it to have become so popular.
But it is keeping it the weight off?
A lot of diets work in the short-term and help you lose weight, but they are often not sustainable.
Keto diets have been shown to help people lose weight however, it hasn’t proved to be any better than a diet which allows you to eat carbs.
Any diet which restricts certain foods will help you lose weight at first as you will naturally eat fewer calories.
That is also usually the reason they are ineffective in the long term.
Not being allowed to eat your favourite foods will be hard.
And it could lead to you falling off track and dropping the diet altogether.
That’s why most diets don’t last long term.
High Fat Content
Again, since this diet means there is a really high amount of fat in your diet.
Since fat has 9 calories per gram, which is more than twice as much as carbohydrates or protein, it seems a bad idea to eat more of it.
If you are eating too much, you won’t lose weight.
It doesn’t matter whether you eat more fat, protein or carbs!
When you are eating too much, you won’t lose weight.
Since fat contains more calories, if you eat too much of it, you will still gain weight.
Although it is very filling as it releases energy slowly, you can’t eat as much fat as you could carbohydrates.
So you would be eating a smaller volume of food while still eating the same number of calories.
If you ate 160g of fat (72% of a 2000 calorie diet) that would be the same as eating 360g of carbohydrates.
That’s 0.2kg of food you’re not eating, while still eating just as many calories.
And then to start losing weight you have to eat even less?
In my eyes, that seems to make it more difficult.
A lot of people seem to be following the keto diet.
Hopefully, this means it is safe.
However, not enough research has been done about it to say whether it is good or bad for you.
Eating too much fat has always been seen as a bad thing.
So promoting eating more fat doesn’t seem like a great idea.
However, it does then cut out all the poor quality, high-sugar carbohydrates…
...which is a good thing.
At the same time though, you are missing out on the nutritional benefits of all the good carbohydrate sources.
Beans, chickpeas and lentils
These are all great for your health, but wouldn’t be allowed if you went keto.
Also, the lack of carbohydrates can cause other side-effects.
Keto dieters have reported having low energy levels and brain fog.
Along with a funny tummy and bad breath too, it doesn’t sound that attractive.
Will it work for you?
The only way any diet will work is if it works for you.
For me personally, I couldn’t manage a keto diet.
I enjoy having juicy burgers in a flowery bap.
I enjoy making homemade chips and sweet potato mash.
Sometimes I even enjoy some cake, chocolate and crisps (not at the same time).
None of that could be done on a keto diet.
So guess what?
It wouldn’t work for me.
If that doesn’t sound like any trouble, it could be that a keto diet would work for you.
Sound like hell on earth?
A keto diet may help you lose weight, but you’re not going to stick to it so it won’t work for long.
No one diet will work for everyone in the world as we are all individuals and have different goals, likes, dislikes and motivation levels.
The keto diet may be the best thing since sliced bread (if you don’t like sliced bread).
But if it doesn’t work for you and you don’t want to give so many foods up, it won’t work.
No matter how much fat it can burn, it won’t work if you can’t stick to it.
Instead, make changes you can keep up forever and choose to improve your diet, not just take things out of it.