As you may know, the Ketogenic and Low carb diet has become extremely popular over the last couple of years.
Today’s email is going to break down the pros and cons of a low–carb and/or Ketogenic diet, based on the real unbiased scientific research, practical considerations of real people performing the diet long-term and hundreds of documented testimonies from patients of mine and customers here at Nutrition Solutions.
Firstly, you may be wondering what the Ketogenic diet is. In short, it’s an EXTREMELY low carb diet with very high fat intake. On this diet, all grains, fruits and other carb sources are totally eliminated.
The majority of the diet is made up of fatty foods, such as meat, fish, bacon, eggs, dairy, nuts, seeds, oils, etc and it’s been known to be restrictive in nature.
At first, it may seem totally crazy, especially if you’re still following the belief that fats make you fat.
However, lots of research has shown us that healthy (polyunsaturated fats) fats are not bad or unhealthy; in fact, they have beneficial effects on our heart, overall health, hormones and do not cause obesity as long as consumed in moderation as part of a healthy, nutrition program.
The reason the Ketogenic diet has been rumored to work so well as far as getting quick results, is it removes carbohydrates totally which will allow the body to flush a quick 5-10 pounds of water weight which carbs tend to hold on to.
Also, you’re basically removing an entire food group (carbs) and eliminating a lot of high-calorie foods that we tend to binge on late at night or on weekends. (basically anything processed with sugar).
Now, with all that being said, it also has some profound downsides…
Firstly, and as you may have guessed, it’s VERY restrictive. Meaning you have a limited bank of foods to choose from, making it more difficult to prepare and sustain. In fact, it’s one of the most restrictive diets out there, as you are eliminating an entire food group. If you’ve ever done a low–carb or Ketogenic diet, you will know that carbs are in virtually everything!
Additionally, it’s also not optimal for high-level performance or lean muscle enhancement, as carbohydrates have a key role in ATP energy production, hormone production, nutrient delivery and recovery.
Whether in the gym, at work or home with the family, people who live active lifestyles perform far better when they have carbs (from proper sources of course) in their nutrition programs.
Of course, if you are 1-200 pounds overweight, that probably isn’t the primary concern, hence why some will find success following a Ketogenic plan for a short period of time.
Despite plenty of short term success stories for people who love the immediate gratification and don’t mind committing to a life of no carbs for a short time frame, it’s not recommended for most, as it’s super hard to sustain Keto eating patterns over the long term and the vast majority of keto results are not maintained…
In fact, it is common that I meet with patients who have told me they lost a lot of weight on keto, only to gain it all back and then some. This is the psychological effect of restricting and no matter how disciplined or dedicated we may be, this is how the human brain works
In fact, the occurrences of individuals who lost a lot of weight following Keto only to gain it all back and then some, is far more prevalent than that of any other diet.
As a licensed physician, I can honestly tell you that this leads to psychological side effects like poor self esteem, low confidence and a negative self image, in addition to physical side effects, as the bodies internal defense mechanisms will now be activated, making it increasingly more difficult to lose body fat moving forward as the body will fight aggressively to hold on to fat.
That’s the main reason I tend to not recommend this diet to patients and why we don’t advise our customers at Nutrition Solutions to go this route.
At days end, we are trying to change people’s lives – as help them not just lose the body fat and weight they had when they started with us, but send it packing permanently.
Any time we operate with a “quick fix” mentality, we can rest confidently assured that whatever that fix is, it won’t be anywhere close to being our best option. Unfortunately, in today’s society people love the thought of quickly being able to lose all the weight that they’ve been packing on for years, in just a short period of time.
The fact is this; the best nutrition program we can follow is ultimately the one that allows you to enjoy a variety of foods, is easy to follow, requires minimal planning/thinking and is sustainable over the long term!
Because if it’s not sustainable or is a pain to keep up with, it will be impossible to maintain the consistency that’s needed to experience life changing results.
Unfortunately, for 99% of people out there, that isn’t Keto.
Instead, just like we do here with our meal programs at Nutrition Solutions, a more sustainable middle ground is eating quality proteins like chicken, turkey, & steak, reducing the intake of ‘bad’ processed carbs and focusing on carbohydrate sources that are beneficial for our health from natural sources such as quinoa, rice, potatoes, , etc.
Combined with a good level of healthy fats from steak, ground beef, bison, coconut oil, canola oil, nuts, etc allows you to get the best of both worlds, along with a better balance, more flexibility and better long-term results, as shown by our thousands of customer success stories and that I’ve experienced with patients over the last 15 years.