Every so often, a new diet trend pops up. One that’s really hot right now is the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet. It’s everywhere, from TV to the Internet. They say it’s the secret to shedding those extra pounds.
So, should you do the keto diet? Well, I’ve got some common questions and answers that can help you get a better grasp on it. Hopefully, by the end of this article, you’ll have a clearer idea of whether the keto diet is the right fit for you.
Table of Contents
- What Is the Keto Diet?
- Do Keto Diets Work?
- What If Your Goal Is Losing Fat?
- Why Is the Keto Diet So Popular?
- Should You Do the Keto Diet?
What Is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is all about super low carbs, high fat, and moderate to low protein. Picture your meals with only 5 percent carbs, a whopping 75 percent fat, and the rest as protein.
Now, with such a tiny carb intake, your body won’t have enough glucose for energy. So, it starts turning to fat and converts it into these nifty little fuel compounds called “ketones.” Your body then uses these ketones as an alternative source of fuel. When they reach higher levels, you enter a state called “ketosis.”
The keto diet is being hailed as a great way to lose weight. It has also been used as a therapy for medical conditions like epilepsy.
Do Keto Diets Work?
It depends on your goals. For some people, this diet can be helpful. But for others, it might not have much of an impact or could even be risky.
Let’s take epilepsy, for example. Back in the 1920s, Dr. Russell Wilder and his colleagues at the Mayo Clinic conducted an experiment that showed the keto diet could benefit kids suffering from epilepsy.
After being proven again by some big-shot medical authorities, the diet made its way into medical textbooks as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1940s. It has been around since then.
However, if your goal is to build muscles, the keto diet may not be your best bet. Sure, you might come across some bodybuilders who seem to be rocking it with keto. But you’ll typically need carbs and insulin to add muscle mass to your body.
What If Your Goal Is Losing Fat?
The keto diet can help with fat loss as long as you can stick with it. But the same applies to other diets too if they create a calorie deficit. So, what matters here is the calorie deficit, not the number of carbs alone.
Now, extreme diets can be tough to stick with in the long run. Sure, they might give you some fat loss, but can you keep it up? Can you make it a sustainable part of your lifestyle? Permanent fat loss requires a lifestyle change.
Many diets get a bad reputation because they’re so restrictive that people can’t stick with them for long. And let’s be honest, keto is pretty strict with its low-carb approach. If you want to lose fat for good, you need a diet that you can stick with for the long term.
Moreover, the keto diet may hinder the growth of lean muscle mass or even cause muscle loss. Doing strength training and getting enough protein can help prevent muscle loss. But if you’re not doing those things while on a keto diet, you could end up losing muscle.
So, while the keto diet can help with fat loss, it might not be the best option. There’s a better way to go about it. A diet that doesn’t make you cut out a whole macronutrient or food group, such as a balanced diet.
Why Is the Keto Diet So Popular?
There’s a popular belief that carbs are to blame for obesity. They follow the carbohydrate-insulin model, which suggests that carbs trigger insulin release. And insulin encourages fat storage, increases hunger, and reduces calorie burn.
But carbs alone aren’t the enemy when it comes to gaining fat. It’s all about the calorie surplus. Without consuming more calories than your body needs, carbs or insulin won’t magically make you pack on the pounds.
Now, I get why people believe in the keto diet. It seems to work, at least in the short term. But it’s not because of some magical metabolic effects. Keto diets work because, by drastically cutting carbs, they create a calorie deficit. And guess what? Many other diets also show results for the same reason.
So, the calorie deficit is what makes them work, not the extreme reduction of carbs itself. Unfortunately, some die-hard keto fans overlook this simple fact. They believe in the mystical metabolic powers of the ketogenic diet.
Should You Do the Keto Diet?
Alright, time to tackle the big question: should you do the keto diet? Well, as I mentioned earlier, it depends on your health and fitness goals.
If your goal is to lose fat and improve your body composition, the keto diet might not be your best option. This diet can be hard to stick with because it’s more restrictive than most people can handle in the long run. Instead, I suggest going for a balanced diet to support your fat loss goals.
However, if you have a health condition that could benefit from a keto diet such as epilepsy, then it’s worth considering. Just make sure to consult with your doctor first to ensure it’s suitable and safe for you.
There’s no one-size-fits-all diet plan that works for everyone. You have to consider your goals, lifestyle, and preferences to find the perfect fit for you. The best diet is the one that you can stick with in the long run and yields lasting results.
Sasha Lizaveta is a fitness enthusiast and content manager at BadassBodyProject.com. She advocates a conservative yet effective approach to fitness. She believes in the power of gradual changes to achieve long-lasting results. When not working out or creating content, she can often be found engrossed in books, playing with her cats, or travelling.