Diet trends come and go throughout the years. The ketogenic diet which is also known as the keto diet is very popular at this time. It’s being promoted everywhere from the television to the Internet. It’s the current diet trend that is said to help people lose weight.
So, should you follow the keto diet? Here are some common questions and answers to help you learn more about the keto diet. We hope this article could help you determine whether or not the keto diet is right for you.
What’s the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is a diet that is very low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate or low in protein. Your meal in a keto diet could consist of 5 percent carbs, 75 percent fat, and 20 percent protein.
Because of the very low amount of carbs being consumed, your body won’t have enough glucose for energy. This condition will force your body to turn fat into small fuel molecules called “ketones” which can be used as an alternative source of fuel. When the ketones in your body are more than normal, your body enters a metabolic state called “ketosis.”
The keto diet is heavily promoted as a great way to lose weight. It has also been used as a therapy to treat some medical conditions such as epilepsy.
Do Keto Diets work?
Whether or not the keto diet is effective depends on your goals. For some people, the diet can be a big help. For some others, it may not do much good or even dangerous.
For example, this diet can help people who are suffering from epilepsy. In the 1920s, an experiment conducted by Dr. Russell Wilder and his colleagues from the Mayo Clinic proved that the keto diet can help children who suffer from epilepsy.
In the 1940s, after being proven again by several well-known medical authorities, the diet entered medical textbooks as a treatment for children with epilepsy. It has been around since then.
However, if you’re looking to increase muscles, this diet may not help you. While there may be bodybuilders who don’t seem to have a problem with the keto diet, you’ll typically need carbs and insulin if you want to add muscle mass to your body.
If your goal is to gain muscle, a diet that includes more carbs is more appropriate for you than the ketogenic diet.
What If Your Goal is Losing Fat?
The ketogenic diet can work for fat loss insofar as the dieters can adhere to the diet. However, the same also applies to other types of diet as long as they create a calorie deficit. What matters here is the calorie deficit, not the number of carbs per se.
However, diets that are extreme can be hard to maintain in the long run. All diets can produce fat loss as long as they create a calorie deficit. The more important question is, can you follow this diet for a long time? Can you make it a part of your lifestyle?
Permanent fat loss and maintenance require a change in lifestyle. But many diets have a bad rep when it comes to long-term success because they’re so restrictive that it’s hard for people to stick with them in the long run. Keto is quite restrictive because it suggests a very little carb intake. If you want to lose fat permanently, you need a diet that you can stick with for a long time.
Moreover, the keto diet may prohibit the development of lean muscle mass or cause muscle loss. Doing strength training and eating protein adequately may inhibit muscle loss, but if your protein intake is low and you don’t do strength training when you’re on a keto diet, most of the weight you lost could come from muscle.
So, the keto diet can work for fat loss, but we don’t recommend the keto diet as a good option for fat loss. There is a better option for fat loss, i.e. a diet that doesn’t restrict an entire macronutrient or food category. A high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate fat diet is our recommendation for people who want to lose fat.
Why is the Keto Diet So Popular?
Well, it seems many people believe in the carbohydrate-insulin model of obesity. This model states that carbs stimulate insulin release, and insulin encourages fat storage, increases hunger, and reduces calorie expenditure. So, carbs are considered as the culprit of obesity.
There is actually no solid ground for that theory. In the absence of a calorie surplus, carbs alone aren’t fattening and insulin won’t lead to fat gain or obesity. The main cause of fat gain is the calorie surplus.
The belief in that model and the keto diet is reinforced by the fact that keto diets work in the short run. But keto diets work because, by an extreme reduction of carbs, they create a calorie deficit. This is also one of the reasons why many other types of diet work in the short run.
So, it’s the calorie deficit that makes them work in the short run, not the extreme reduction of carbs per se. Unfortunately, many keto diet fans failed to see this fact because they believe the ketogenic diet produces some magical metabolic effects in their body.
Should You Follow the Keto Diet?
As we’ve mentioned above, it depends on your health and/or fitness goals.
If your goal is to lose fat or improve body composition, the keto diet is not the best diet plan to follow. This diet can be hard to stick with because it’s more restrictive than most people can handle for a long time. Instead, we recommend a high protein, moderate carbs, and moderate fat diet―such as 50 percent carbs, 30 percent protein, and 20 percent fat―for fat loss.
However, if you have a health issue that a keto diet may help you with such as epilepsy, then you can follow the keto diet. But first, consult your doctor to make sure that it’s appropriate and safe.
There is no one-size-fits-all diet plan that will work for everyone. You need to consider your goals, lifestyles, and dispositions, to find the best diet for you. The best diet is one that you can adhere to for a long time and gives you lasting results.