Is Keto a Miracle Diet?

Keto food display

Is Keto a miracle diet? With it’s popularity, you might think so. While being an effective diet to bring down weight, it is no miracle, no matter what some people might think. Personally, I believe that it is unnecessarily too restrictive in carbohydrate intake. And, it can actually cause some people health problems over time. That being said, people desperate to lose weight are overjoyed when they think calorie counting is not required, and, they can eat a lot of fat.

How Keto Works

Keto aims to cause your body to use ketones for fuel rather than glucose from carbohydrates which you get from a normal diet. The ketones are a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.

Burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose pounds. But getting the liver to make ketone bodies is tricky:

  • It requires that you deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs).
  • It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis.
  • Eating too much protein can interfere with ketosis.

Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of your daily calories. Keto is not the type of diet you should try as an experiment if you are not knowledgeable of nutrition. It can cause you problems.

Man hoping for a miracle

What do you expect from a miracle diet?

When something seems too good to be true, you should trust your instincts. Especially with miracle diets. The keto diet has many risks because it is high in saturated fat which is linked to heart disease. Keto is also associated with an increase of LDL (bad cholesterol) which is also linked to heart disease.

Is this miracle diet still sounding good?

Other potential keto risks include these:

  • Nutrient deficiency. If you’re not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C.
  • Liver problems. With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.
  • Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein, for those with kidney problems, the keto diet may overload them.
  • Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.
  • Fuzzy thinking and mood swings. The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability in some people.

    Those risks add up. Always make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.

What kinds of fruits and vegetables can I have on Keto?

Fruits and vegetables
Seriously, why deprive yourself of these healthy foods?

All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes.

Again, Keto is unnecessarily restrictive on the carbohydrates you can eat. Only one who is not knowledgeable would think they should cut out most fruits and vegetables because of their carbohydrate content. When you cut out these fruits and vegetables, you are depriving yourself of healthy nutrients and fiber. Sure, there are fruits and vegetables you can eat, but restricting them is not in your best interest.

Yes, there are some medical reasons why you might do Keto.

Young doctor with older woman

Keto diets are being considered for use in several disorders due to their beneficial effects on metabolic health and the nervous system. However, many of the results have come from case studies and need validation through higher-quality research, including randomized controlled trials.

With respect to cancer and several other serious diseases, a Keto diet should be undertaken only in addition to standard therapies under the supervision of a doctor or qualified healthcare provider. No one should ever consider the Keto diet a cure for any disease or disorder on its own. While the research is exciting, there’s very little evidence to show that this type of eating is effective, or safe over the long term for anything other than epilepsy. Additionally, very low carbohydrate diets tend to have higher rates of side effects, including constipation, headaches, bad breath and more. Also, meeting the diet’s requirements means cutting out many healthy foods, making it difficult to meet your micronutrient needs.

Is it possible to not lose weight, or even gain weight on Keto?

woman disappointed with weight gain

Yes, it is entirely possible to not lose weight, or to even get fatter while on Keto. It is not a miracle diet where calories do not count as some people would have you believe. As with any diet, if you eat more calories in a day than your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) requires, you are going to get fat whether you are in ketosis or not.

The high fat foods you eat on Keto tend to contain many more calories than foods that are high in carbohydrates and proteins. It is, therefore, important that you keep track of the number of calories that you consume. You can’t just eat as much as you want and expect to lose weight. Keto or not, your body does not work that way.  If you binge on high calorie foods such as full-fat dairy, avocados, coconut oil, fatty cuts of meat and nuts, you can expect to remain fat.

In Summary

Although Keto can be an effective diet for weight loss, it is not a miracle diet. It is not a miracle simply because your weight loss is still a matter of calories in versus calories burned. When you eat a high fat diet that is low in carbs, you will typically become satiated before you exceed the caloric needs of your specific BMR. However, if you exceed your caloric needs, you are going to gain weigh even when in Ketosis. Before beginning Keto, or any diet for that matter, you need to do your research and find all the downsides along with the upsides to your health and well being.

The bottom line is, the healthiest way to weight loss is to eat a well balanced diet that includes complex carbohydrates from fruits and vegetables. A well balanced diet provides all of the energy you need to keep active throughout the day. It will provide all the nutrients you need for growth and repair, helping you to stay strong and healthy which helps to prevent diet-related illnesses.

Be accountable to yourself and eat whole, healthy foods and track your daily calories. With your doctors approval, exercise on a regular basis with an activity that you enjoy. You do not need a miracle diet, what you need is healthy nutrition and the initiative to be the best you that you can possibly be.

What’s the Best Diet for Weight Loss?

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