Why I Will NEVER Recommend a Keto Diet
If you are anything like me, you are sick of the hype. Over it.
Ketogenic. Paleo. Intermittent fasting. HFLC. Intuitive eating. Superfoods. Macronutrients.
What does it all mean, and which one is right for you?
Add to that the health claims.
Saturated fats are killing us. No, carbs are killing us. Don’t eat red meat. Don’t drink too much caffeine. Don’t eat so much sugar. Don’t consume dairy. Milk is not for humans.
Which one is right? And how do you figure it out???
I educate women every day about topics ranging from mindful eating to how to shop locally to deciphering food labels. The one thing that I WON’T talk about is DIET HYPE.
Recently, several women came to see me about their weight loss goals, each of which had the same skin in the game - becoming healthy role models for their children. EXCELLENT, I thought to myself. Women of all shapes and sizes concerned about their HEALTH and what that could mean for our FUTURE.
But then they started asking about different diets.
“I want to GO VEGAN. How do I do that when my kids and husband all eat meat?”
“I count MACROS on this current challenge that I’m doing — how do I transition out of that without gaining all of the weight back?”
“Can you just give me a keto meal plan to follow? It works for everyone else!”
You see, I know a thing or two about diets. Two and a half years ago I embarked on my own diet. I lost 35 pounds doing the 21 Day Fix workout and drinking Shakeology every day. And I am so grateful for that time that I spent doing that hard work because it has lead me to here. Before Beachbody, I was a wreck.
I fell asleep at 4:30 in the afternoon.
We ate Wendy’s twice a week. Sometimes more.
I wasn’t exercising, and so I couldn’t keep up with my toddlers, who were running circles around me.
My relationships were all suffering.
And there I was, standing in the middle of a storm, not even knowing or understanding where to start.
That DIET saved my life.
And I don’t say that lightly.
Now, here’s the good news about diets. They are really helpful in kickstarting a healthy lifestyle if you aren’t already leading a healthy lifestyle. They help you to build healthy habits, and to learn proper portion sizes.
What diets AREN’T meant for is long-term health. Diets that are as restrictive as what I was following are HARD. They take a lot of EFFORT. And the fact of the matter is, that kind of effort is not sustainable in the long term.
Furthermore, for every study out there that shows the positive effects of different diets on CHRONIC ILLNESS, there is a study that shows the dangers of adopting these diets in a person who is otherwise healthy with minimal risk factors.
For example, I did a quick PubMed search of “ketogenic diet” and limited my scope to just this past year. The very first article is titled Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors, and the findings show that a ketogenic diet “may be associated with some improvements in some cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, type 2 diabetes and HDL cholesterol levels”, however, the researchers conclude that “it is mandatory to maintain body weight after weight loss, which is usually a major problem.” Additionally, a side effect of a keto diet that is noted is possible insulin resistance.
Going back to that PubMed search, other articles noted are studies on the effects of a ketogenic diet on cancer patients, patients with Type 2 diabetes, and children with neurological disorders such as epilepsy.
You see, the way that a ketogenic diet works is by forcing the body into carbohydrate starvation by eliminating carbs and replacing them with very high volumes of fat. The result is the substitution of ketone bodies as a source of energy. And so, a group of researchers got together to study the outcome of a ketogenic diet used by people for weight-loss purposes ONLY, and what they found was that there is a very good chance that a keto diet could very well DAMAGE our DNA and our antioxidant responses.
And so this is why I clearly promote mindful eating and breaking up with those emotional connections that we have to food over any DIET treatment. As a holistic nutritionist, my job is to educate and support - not to prescribe or treat.
Are you still with me? Good. Here are some tips to get you started:
ADD, DON’T SUBTRACT. It is always easier to add than to subtract. Besides, we are neurologically hardwired to resist change - ESPECIALLY when change means taking away things that we rely on for comfort. Start by adding more fresh fruits and veggies to your diet.
MOVE YO’ BODY. It doesn’t matter how. You don’t have to do that dirty E word every day (you know the one - EXERCISE). Find something that you love doing that involves ANY kind of movement and do it for 30 minutes 5 times a week!
BYOS. Bring your own healthy snack to the party and sit next to the veggie platter.
STEP AWAY FROM THE KITCHEN. If you are feeling hungry, drink a glass of water. Take a walk. Read a book. Get out of the kitchen. If you are still hungry and your body is showing you signs of hunger (light headed, tummy growling, lack of focus), then go eat something - but be intentional about what you grab.
DITCH THE GUILT. Food can’t make you feel guilt. It is an inanimate object. Hunger is one of the most BASIC needs that we have. The best way to satisfy that need is by FEEDING YOUR FACE. Just make the conscious decision to grab something fresh and unprocessed, instead of that sugary doughnut. Your body AND brain will thank you by giving you the energy that you so desperately need to get through your day.
MAKE A DIFFERENT CHOICE. Every time you open your mouth to put food into it, you are making a decision. Just because you feel like you messed up today doesn’t mean that all is lost and you should “start again tomorrow.” All you have to do is make a different decision the NEXT TIME you head to the fridge. Trust me. Your body will start to tell you what you need if you just listen.
Ready to learn more about how to unlock your own potential to hold the power over food? Book a free discovery call with me TODAY and we will get you started on the path to true wellness!