Coach Kira ponders the Keto Diet
Lots of people are talking about the Keto diet and asking my opinion. Basically, the Keto diet can be effective for quick weight loss and has shown promise for the prevention of certain diseases. But there are some concerns with the Keto diet as well, as many people don’t follow it correctly. For me, I think the Keto diet has some good parts and some not so good and as always, since we are all bioindividual, no one diet is good for everyone.
There are three “macronutrients” that everyone needs to eat which are fat, carbohydrates and protein. The Keto diet involves eating foods that are high in fat and protein (such as meats, dairy, nuts/seeds, oils and low starch veggies) and low in carbohydrates. People on the keto diet avoid starchy veggies (potatoes, root veggies, squash etc.), most fruits, grains, legumes, sugar, and processed foods. Eating this way causes the body to go into “ketosis”, a state where we burn fat to create energy.
This diet has helped people lose weight quickly but often these people will gain it back, as the diet must be followed carefully to work properly, which is hard to sustain. As far as disease prevention, initial studies seemed to indicate the diet was helpful for managing diabetes and preventing heart disease, cancer and other conditions. However, more recent data suggests that this is not the case, possibly because people aren’t following the diet properly, eating too much saturated fat and not enough veggies (more bacon anyone!). Other problems associated with it are nutritional deficiencies, dehydration (which can lead to kidney issues, constipation and other problems) and loss of muscle (making it a bad choice for athletes).
I like the aspect of the diet where we avoid processed foods, sugary drinks, refined carbs (ie white flour products) and unhealthy oils. However, I think there is a place In our diet for whole grains (with some exceptions like celiac disease), legumes, potatoes and fruit. I also question a diet that focuses on getting more fat than healthy veggies (which are carbs). Bottom line, if you are going to try the Keto diet, work with a nutritionist or health coach and be prepared to commit to following the diet very carefully, knowing that you will have to stay on the diet to maintain any health benefits. I prefer a wider range of high quality foods than this diet offers, making it sustainable for life.