So Keto diet = meat and cheese every meal? Not exactly. Keto Diet 101
Every year or so brings about a new diet fad, with one of the most recent fads being the Keto diet. Everybody knows at least one person that has mentioned they were doing the keto diet to lose weight, and while it may or may not have helped them lose weight they may not have necessarily understood what was happening in their body during this diet. This is where we’re going to start this blog.
The ketogenic diet is named so because the goal is to force your body into ketosis. Ketosis is when your body runs low on insulin to break down carbs into glucose (sugar) for energy, and instead your liver begins breaking down fat into ketones, a chemical that can be used by your muscles and brain for energy. Carbs are basically just complex sugars, so by lowering the amount of sugars in your diet your body doesn’t need to create as much insulin to lower your blood sugar. Your body notices this decrease in insulin and tells the liver to start breaking down fat into ketones for energy.
“Okay that all kinda makes sense, so I don’t eat carbs at all?” Your body needs some carbs to function so don’t cut them out completely. About 10% of your daily calories should come from carbs. The other 90% of your calories come from proteins and fats, with proteins taking up 10-20% of your daily calories and fat taking up the last 70-80% of your calories. If you’re unsure how many calories you’re supposed to eat a day you can click on the link below to get an idea of what your body needs. So for example, if you need 2,000 calories a day: 200 calories should come from carbs, 400 calories should come from protein, and the remaining 1,400 calories should come from fats.
“Sweet, so I could pretty much eat McDonalds burgers all day and just get rid of the bun.” What? No. Don’t do that. While you are supposed to get a majority of your calories from fat and protein, that doesn’t mean you go get 2 big macs minus the buns. Your fats and proteins should come from natural, healthy sources like chicken, fish, vegetables, nuts, etc. Likewise, your carbs should be coming from things like fruits or vegetables. Here’s an example of an easy keto breakfast. Fruits, eggs, veggies, cheese and almonds. All great sources that fit into the keto diet style.
“I’m sold. LOVE almonds. So I’ll lose like 20-30 pounds in no time with this diet right?” Sorry imaginary person in this blog, while research shows that people lose weight at a similar rate to low calorie diets, the weight typically comes back. At most, you may lose 10-15 pounds over a year’s time and that’s if you’re able to keep it off after the 6 month mark where people typically hit their peak weight loss. There’s also the side effects of constipation, halitosis (bad breath), muscle cramps, headache, weakness and rashes that occasionally accompany a keto diet if not done properly. So while a keto diet can be a great kickstarter to losing some weight, for most it isn’t maintainable. That being said, many people report being healthier and losing weight on this diet so if it works for you and is helping you live healthier then go for it after consulting with your primary care physician.
-Dr. Nick Dugger, DC
Calorie Calculator: https://www.calculator.net/calorie-calculator.html