What Is the Keto Diet and is it Healthy?
The keto diet is an extremely popular one in weight-loss culture. It seems to be one of the biggest diet trends of the decade, actually. You can't get away from it. It's renowned for being one of the most effective diets out there for losing weight quickly, and that’s not necessarily a lie. The issue is though, that that doesn't mean it's a good way to do it, OR that it's going to last either. There are actually a lot of problems that come along with it, including the most significant question: Is the keto diet even healthy?
Let’s walk through it.
What is the Keto diet?
First of all, let’s look at the background behind it. The keto diet is essentially a diet where you are dramatically cutting out carbohydrates in every form. Instead of carbs being around 50% of your diet as they usually are, they go to about 20-50 grams per day. (That is not a lot.) It's hard to do since carbs are in everything. It means, instead of carbs, you're prioritising fats and proteins to give you your calorie. That's it in a nutshell.
How Does The Keto Diet work?
Carbohydrates are what are usually responsible for your energy levels, since that’s pretty much the whole operating system of your blood sugar. You eat carbs, they turn to glucose, and you use it for energy.
When carbs aren’t around, your body uses Ketosis, or produces ketones that give energy to your cells from stored energy – namely fat. That’s what is happening here in theory.
The Issues of the Keto Diet With Your Health
So we know what it is, but we need to look at the problems with doing it that cause the question about how healthy the keto diet is. There are quite a lot of them after all, especially if you don’t really know what you're doing.
Carbs are important
First of all, carbs are important. They come in a lot of different forms (see complex vs simple carbs), and they’re pretty much the best way for you to operate in a healthy and consistent way that’s good for your health. A lot of people get the balance wrong, don’t get us wrong, but carbs are not a bad thing. They’re even better if you know how to manage them
Too many unhealthy foods too
On top of carbs being important, they’re so hard to avoid. When you do try to get rid of them from your diet, other issues pop up too. Keto dieting means that instead of carbs, you’re going hard on your proteins and your fats. What does that usually look like? Well, meat and process foods to be quite honest. That’s an easy way to get way too much fat, especially unhealthy and saturated fats and that is not a healthy thing to do, by any means.
Lack of nutrients
Even after you’ve taken away carbs and looked at too much fat, there are other problems with the keto diet being unhealthy, too. When you take out carbs, you take out A LOT of foods. That includes a huge range of fruits and vegetables. When you don’t have those in your diet, you get even more problems. You begin to miss out on a huge number of vitamins and minerals, all of which you need to be healthy and keep all systems running as they should be doing.
Bad for muscles
Number 4; it’s not good for muscle mass. Your muscles are very reliant on glucose, or glycogen at least to work. When they don’t have them AND you’re making a big calorie deficit in your diet, your body is going to have a lot of trouble maintaining it (even more if you're trying to build). That means a lot of muscle wastage can occur, and you can lose a massive amount of muscle mass. This isn’t a cert., but it’s more than likely unless you REALLY know what you’re doing with the keto diet.
Impossible to sustain
Last but not least is the habits that you make with the keto diet. When you’re trying to improve your health, whether that’s eating healthier or being a healthier weight, you need to be doing it healthily and sustainably. Believe it or not, avoiding almost every food out there is not an easy thing to do. Especially in the long term. More often than not, you might make it weeks, months if you're determined, and then go back to old ways. All of the weight you lost will come back, and you’ll be a lot unhealthier as a result. It’s just a waste of time and health really.
Ultimately, there just aren’t many good points to it. It’s hard, it’s unhealthy, and it’s awkward. It has its benefits, we do agree, but there are just better ways to go about it unless you’re prescribed and mentored through it by a health professional (it has incredible benefits for some health conditions after all).
Your health is your own, and you need to have a good relationship with it. Eat food you like but do it in a healthier way. There are little changes you can make to prevent your health from being something you hate. Find a way that works for you and stick with it. Dramatic changes like this are rarely a good call. See what works best for you.
For more information on the keto diet and if it's healthy, or to check out where we got some of the info from, take a look at some of these:
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