What exactly is the keto diet?
Chances are you’ve heard of the ketogenic diet by now.
The keto diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. The idea behind it is that by manipulating macronutrients, the body goes from burning glucose (from carbs) to burning ketones (from fat) as energy. Sounds like an idea anyone trying to lose body fat would like, right?
If you’re looking to switch to a keto lifestyle, your macronutrient breakdown will be roughly:
- 5% Carbohydrate
- 20% Protein
- 70-80% Fat
That is essentially zero sugar and starch, a whole lot of butter, lard, olive oil, fatty meats and fish.
Sound do-able for you? Before you commit, it is very important to note that keto is not like a typical low-carb diet. With keto, you can’t just go off plan for one meal to enjoy a slice of pizza or a beer. Breaking the keto diet will kick your body out of ketosis and negate the “fat-burning” benefits of keto. This little important fact is a turn off for some, while it actually helps others stay on the diet.
A true keto diet should prioritize:
- High-quality fats like eggs, olive oil, avocado, and butter
- Organic, grass-fed meats and wild-caught seafood
- Low-carb, non-starchy colorful vegetables
- Some seeds and nuts
- Real, not processed, foods
Things to avoid include:
- Low-quality fats such as deep-fried foods, low-quality meats, ad hydrogenated vegetable and seed oils
- Sugar, pasta, potatoes, bread, cake, candy, legumes, some yogurts, and carrots and beets should be eaten in moderation
- Too much meat or other protein sources (more than 20% of your macronutrient ratios)
The diet was originally formulated for medical therapeutic purposes. It has been proven as a successful intervention for treatment-resistant epilepsy, Alzheimer's, brain cancers, and other neurological conditions.
But recently, the keto diet craze has taken on a life of its own. If you walk through the store the word "Keto" is popping up on packaging everywhere! If you scroll your Instagram, it may appear that everyone and their dog is adopting a high-fat way of life. With all the ab-fluencers and nutrition gurus spouting it as the answer, you’re probably feeling like maybe you should give keto a try too. Before you do...
Let’s examine some of the pros and cons of a ketogenic diet so that you can begin to make an educated decision, one that will work the best for YOU.
What are the possible pros?
- Loss of body fat due to the satiety of fat and utilizing fat as fuel
- Increased ability to concentrate and enhanced cognition
- Improved health biomarkers such as insulin sensitivity, favorable changes to cholesterol, and lowered blood pressure.
- Management of type 2 diabetes
- Inhibition and prevention of the growth of cancer cells
- Reduction of seizures for those with epilepsy
What are the potential cons?
- Nutrient deficiencies from restricting nutrient rich food groups like fruits and some vegetables
- Symptoms of the “keto flu” such as headaches, digestive disturbances, nausea, and irritability.
- Sustainability. To experience the benefits of keto means saying no to ice cream, beer, cake, rice, bread, potatoes, etc. There is no such thing as a Saturday “treat day.”
- Digestive issues from low fiber, especially if vegetable intake is low.
- Negative impact on performance, especially for those engaging in high-intensity activity.
- Long term research is limited, so we are unsure at this time of the long term impact on health, if any.
Is keto the answer for you?
If you’ve been hanging around OPEX long enough then I’m sure you’ve already guessed our answer… It depends!
There is a time and a place for a keto diet, but is it the right nutrition approach for everyone?
Every single person who walks into a OPEX Franklin all all of our OPEX Gyms all over the world, has a unique lifestyle, body composition, health history, preferences, activity level, and goals. Their nutrition needs to meet them where they’re at!
That is why we take a personalized approach to nutrition.
We help you find a diet and lifestyle that gives you great mental acuity, supports your daily function (no matter what that function may be), and help you live a vital and fulfilled life...not just for now, but for 10, 20, 30 years from now and beyond!
If that’s keto, great, we can help you navigate the keto world. But remember that sticking to a diet, whether it be keto, vegan, or paleo, is not the end goal. Your health is!