It seems like there’s a new fad diet every month or so.
This one cut carbs. That one monitors your urine.
What is the keto diet and is it safe?
Like most strict diets, the keto diet plan requires careful planning and consideration before jumping into it.
Here’s what it is and how to tell if it’s right for you.
What Is the Keto Diet?
It’s hard not to at least consider a new diet when stars like Kourtney Kardashian and Tim Tebow are already onboard. But what is the keto diet anyway?
This diet has been around for a while but recently started gaining traction at the start of the new year. That’s probably because as people search for ways to meet New Year’s resolutions like losing weight, THE new diet trend is the first thing to come to mind.
This diet revolves around the idea of “detoxing” the body.
Like all “detox” plans, this diet involves strictly limiting certain food groups – carbs in particular.
Your body typically uses whole grains and carbs as its main energy source. With this diet, you force the body to use fat and protein for energy instead.
What Does the Keto Diet Plan Look Like?
Meat lovers will fit right in with this diet since it places such a huge emphasis on proteins and fats.
With this plan, you’ll eat a lot of
- Fish like salmon and tuna
- Cheese and dairy
- Green veggies like kale, broccoli, and spinach
- Coffee with grass-fed butter
- Almonds and nuts
- Cottage cheese
- Ground beef like meatloaf
Here’s what some of your meals might look like on this plan:
- Breakfast: Spinach, goat cheese, and egg scramble or chia pudding
- Lunch: Chicken salad lettuce wraps or tuna salad with cucumber slices
- Dinner: Cauliflower crust pizza or chicken kabobs
- Snacks: Celery and hummus, almond butter and celery, coconut milk shake
The idea is that you trick your body into burning fat for energy instead of glucose – this may work for a few weeks. Unfortunately, the evidence doesn’t back this concept up for sustainability because low-carb diets aren’t a great option for long-term weight loss.
If you’re reading this and thinking “that sounds like the Atkin’s diet,” you’re right. Diet companies are great when it comes to rebranding.
Although they aren’t identical, this diet is also very similar to the paleo diet.
What Is Ketosis and Is It Safe?
The thesis of all low-carb diets rests on the idea of ketosis: when your body burns excess fat.
The idea is that you can trick your body into burning fat you already have for energy instead of glucose from carbs. Once you start doing this, you’ve reached a state of ketosis.
Is ketosis safe? Generally, yes.
How do you get into this fat-burning state?
It usually kicks in after severely limiting your carb intake for about three or four days. You need to seriously limit your carbs, too: no sugar, no whole grains, no nothing. In order to reach ketosis, you need to consume less than 50 grams of carbohydrates in three or four days – that’s like 3 slices of bread.
Diabetics should pay close attention to their blood sugar levels while on this diet, too.
If you typically survive on a morning muffin, bagel for lunch, and pizza or pasta for dinner, you aren’t going to like the feeling of going carb-free. Get ready for the keto flu: headaches, nausea, brain fog, bad breath, stinky sweat, and lots of pee.
You’re going pee and sweat a lot while on this diet, so it’s important to drink plenty of water. Without keeping up the water, you could reach dangerous levels of dehydration during ketosis.
Hey, that means it’s working, right?
After some time, there is evidence to suggest this state can actually improve your cognitive function and mental clarity – but you have to make it through the fog first.
Is the Keto Diet Right for You?
It depends on your personal needs.
It doesn’t seem like this diet is a good method for sustained and long-term weight loss. In fact, fad diets are never the best option for reaching a healthy weight.
This diet could be a decent method if you want to quickly drop a few pounds to jump-start a traditional diet. Just make sure you carefully plan your meals. The ketosis state will help shed those initial pounds and get the ball rolling.
This diet might also be an excellent option for folks with certain medical conditions.
Doctors have prescribed low-carb diets to patients with epilepsy for years to help prevent seizures. Those with diabetes may also find success in this diet since these folks already limit their carbohydrate intake.
For the rest of us, this diet probably won’t work any miracles.