The ketogenic diet is everywhere these days.
There are books dedicated to sharing the positives of a keto diet. There are cookbooks with hundreds of different keto-friendly meals. And there are social groups specifically based on the shared interest of living a keto lifestyle. These things would all indicate that the ketogenic diet is flourishing. And that may be true in certain cases, but there are several things to consider before taking the keto diet plunge yourself.
Does the Ketogenic Diet really work? 8 Points to consider
Point 1: The Keto Diet is Not Your Only Weight Loss Option
In a world full of diet experts, the keto diet is one of more than a hundred diets currently being marketed to those seeking to lose weight. Many diets draw you in with pretty promises of losing large amounts of weight, but it is important to consider which diet will fit your lifestyle. Is a high-fat diet doable for you? Are rich foods things you enjoy and can eat every day? Will cutting out fruits and grains affect your mood in a negative way? If you answered yes, or even hesitated in answering any of these questions, the keto diet may not be a successful, long-term diet option for you. It required complete and total dedication to maintaining a high ketone level, and an ideal environment to burn ketones from fat instead of glucose from carbs. There are many other diet options if you cannot spend a great deal of time or energy managing a keto diet.
Point 2: It May Be Effective But Is Hardly Practical
If you’re a social butterfly and like to eat out, the keto diet may be very hard to manage for you. Staying in ketosis means eating mostly fats with some protein and very little carbs. Many restaurants don’t specifically cater to a ketogenic diet and it may be hard to find meal options that fit within your limits. Going out for dinner may require some online research of restaurant menus and ketogenic-friendly options. With so much time focused on maintaining a ketogenic diet, it may be difficult to have a fun and carefree time. It’s much easier to live a ketogenic lifestyle if you’re able to meal plan at home. Sadly, this isn’t a very fun option if you like eating out at restaurants surrounded by friends.
Point 3: The Grocery Bill Will Be Astronomical
If you’re shopping on a budget, a ketogenic diet is going to cause major headaches in meal planning. Fats and proteins are usually much more costly than carbohydrate options. You may actually eat less by feeling full longer while on a ketogenic diet, but you will most likely spend much more for well-rounded meal options. In many areas of the world, dairy products can come with a big price tag. And meal options such as bacon, steak, and salmon are also costly. Although you’ll be cutting out most fruit, which can save money, you’ll be buying plenty of keto-friendly vegetables, making your produce cost rather high as well. So if you stick to a strict budget while grocery shopping, it may be a better idea to find a healthy dieting lifestyle that doesn’t break the bank.
Point 4: The Gym Won’t Give You the Gains You’re Looking For
If you’re into strength training and lifting weights, you won’t be finding the muscles you’re working so hard for while on a ketogenic diet. Limited protein intake prevents the muscles from gaining mass. So while ketogenic diets generally give you a lean, defined look, muscle bulking probably won’t be happening. If gains are your priority, it would be best to find an eating plan that includes plenty of protein.
Point 5: Are You in Ketosis or Aren’t You?
It can be difficult to know offhand whether or not your body is in a state of ketosis. Without accurately measuring your ketone level with strips, it can be difficult to know if your body is actually in the fat-burning stage. Depending on the type of food eaten throughout the day and how your body reacts to it, your ketone level can be high, low, or non-existent. And if you’re not actually in ketosis, eating a ketogenic diet is definitely not a fast way to lose weight.
Point 6: Athletic Performance May Suffer
High-intensity workouts require carbohydrates as fuel. During a high-intensity session, the body is burning many calories and in need of a sustainable energy source. Glucose, produced from the breakdown of carbohydrates, provides this energy source. This is why many athletes load up on carbs before a heavy lift or drink a pre-workout energizer before faster-paced routines. Ketones, produced from the breakdown of fat, cannot provide this added stamina and endurance as they are not slow-burning, able to withstand high energy levels for extended periods of time.
Athletes on a ketogenic diet may tire more quickly and have less endurance. Thus, their performance will greatly suffer. It’s actually difficult for athletes to sustain their energy while on a ketogenic diet because they expel so much energy. A carb-heavy diet would actually help athletes in this regard by providing the needed boost in energy to sustain peak performance.
Point 7: You May Fall Short in Meeting Your Recommended Daily Calorie Intake
Eating foods high in fat means that your hunger is better satiated and you don’t feel the need to eat as often. High-fat foods may also make one think that the fewer calories consumed the better since fats have been considered harmful to healthy eating for decades. It is for these reasons that someone on a ketogenic diet may actually not reach their recommended caloric intake every day. That may be great for losing weight, but it isn’t the best idea when you think about maintaining metabolism and providing enough energy to sustain your body. Calorie tracking is a very important tool when living a ketogenic lifestyle to ensure you reach all your daily nutritional goals.
Point 8: Consider Your Food Choices
All fats are not the same. Some are more harmful than others, and some can actually be very beneficial to the body. When following a high-fat diet, it is important to consider the types of food you are eating and their nutritional value. Grass-fed meats, nuts, and avocados are all high in good, quality fats. They provide excellent nutritional value. These are the kinds of fatty foods that will serve you well on a ketogenic diet. On the other end of the spectrum, fats from processed foods like pizza, cheese products, and sausages are not great choices for your health. Just because you are eating a ketogenic diet does not mean you should be filling up on processed foods. They are still not great options when you consider your overall health and wellness.
While many people enjoy the keto lifestyle and its benefits, there are important considerations to think about before starting such an intense diet. Diets like this are not a one-size-fits-all solution to weight loss. What works for one person may fail miserably for the next. Many people who succeed on the ketogenic diet are easily adaptable to its demands. It is always important to find a healthy diet option that you can manage to do and remain motivated throughout.
Author Bio: Amanda Maurois
Proud mompreneur, graphic designer, enthusiastic traveler and blogger who loves to write about healthy lifestyle, entrepreneurship, time management and more. She is the lead writer at HowTonight.com lifestyle blog. Connect with Amanda on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MauroisAmanda