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What is the Keto Diet? Is it Healthy?

There are so many diets out there all claiming they will make you healthier and skinnier.

There is the Paleo Diet, South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet which are low carb and high protein diets.  Now there is the Keto Diet which is completely different.  Unlike the other diets I just mentioned which are all about eating lots of lean protein, the ketogenic diet is all about eating fat.  In fact, in the keto diet, fat makes up as much as 90% of the calories eaten each day.


Keto Diet

The keto diet has been used by physicians to reduce the number of epileptic seizures in children.  Now it is being touted as a wonder diet that helps people shed pounds fast.  Unfortunately, this diet may help you lose weight in the short term but there have been no long term studies on how this diet will affect your health.

The keto diet forces your body to use fat as fuel instead of sugar which is glucose that comes from carbs such as veggies, grains, fruits, and legumes.  The keto diet is all about the ketone bodies which is a type of fuel the liver makes from stored fat.  It might sound like a great idea to lose weight but it might not be so good for your body.

When following a ketone diet, you must eat lots of fat at each meal.  The breakdown in a 2,000 calorie diet would be about 165 g of fat, 40 g of carbs and 75 g of protein.  While some healthy unsaturated fats are ok to eat like nuts or avocados, saturated fats such as lard and butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet but there is no differentiation between a healthy lean protein such as fish and highly saturated proteins like pork and bacon.

When it comes to fruits and veggies, you can eat a small number of berries and only leafy greens such as kale, brussels, and broccoli.

There are potentially serious risks associated with this diet.

  1.   The number one risk is eating high amounts of saturated fat.  There is a definite link between saturated fat and heart disease.  In fact, it is recommended to not get more than 7% of your calories from saturated fat.  Due to the saturated fat intake, the keto diet is causing higher levels of bad cholesterol which causes heart disease!
  2.  Liver problems can result due to liver’s inability to properly metabolize the huge amounts of fat.
  3.  Kidney problems can result due to high amounts of protein to be metabolized.
  4.  There can also be nutrient deficiencies due to the limited diet of fruits, veggies and legumes.
  5.  Your mood and brain can be affected as the brain needs sugar from healthy carbs to work properly.  Confusion and being moody can result from this keto diet.

Before you jump into the Keto Diet, make sure you check with your physician.  Remember, when you stop following any of these diets, you will gain the weight back.  It is always a lifestyle change that works in the long run.  Healthy, whole foods, lean proteins combined with exercise is the answer.  Try ordering fruit at work to keep everyone healthier and in a good mood!  Brains need fruit!