*Disclaimer: This post was made in no way made to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings. Do not take this post in a personal way. It was written with the intentions of enlightening the public on incorrect information being spread in today’s society. With that in mind, I hope this post is read with open minds and allowing me the chance to bring some perspective to be considered when deciding if fad diets are legitimate or not.*
One thing that we can all agree on is that the foods we eat impact our bodies in specific ways, whether that be in a good way or a bad one. However, what we all can’t agree on is the types of foods that makeup the perfect diet or lifestyle. While I do believe that not every body is made the same and what may work for some may not work for others, I also do believe there comes a point where following a fad or trend just becomes down right dangerous, especially when it’s spreading false truths. Although this is the first of many health and diet related posts on my blog, I intend to only share information with my readers that I am confident in and can back up with 100% real and factual evidence, none of that fake-news here.
To start things off, I’m going to be talking about the oh so famous, Ketogenic Diet, or Keto for short. I know, pretty brave of me to choose such a controversial diet as my first, however I do have a couple reasons why I am so passionate about writing this. For the past two years or so, I have watched the Keto diet catch flame. I started seeing the diet pop up with a couple of my friends and on some mom blogs, to it now being broadcasted over national television, practiced by dozens of friends and family and taken over health-related Instagram pages. When I first heard about the Keto diet from a friend at lunch, it instantly didn’t sit well with me. As I sat there, listening to my classmate describe her grocery list, a year after giving up meat, I remembered the time when I began studying the effects of consuming high amounts of red meats and pork and what it did to your body (that’s a story for another time) and what made me stop in the first place. Although I’m sure the diet started off with good intentions, this diet is being misused, and from my couple years of basic nutritional studies, I could tell this wasn’t going to end well. Although I wasn’t a huge fan of watching this classmate of mine consume pork rinds and beef jerky sticks every day while I chowed down my salad, I pushed my negativity away and just told myself to “quit being stubborn, not every one likes the same things that you do.” However, two years later, I am utterly shocked at how many people have fallen into practicing what the Ketogenic Diet said was the ideal way to live.
Before I list off the reasons I don’t believe the Keto diet is a good idea, it’s important that you have a good understanding of what it is. The Ketogenic Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that is claimed to hold many health benefits. However, the real question everyone wants a answer to is, how does it work? When you eat less than 50g of carbs a day, your body will eventually run out of fuel, in about 3-5 days to be exact. Once your body doesn’t have carbs to run itself off of, it begins transforming proteins and fats, already stored in your body, into a way it can be used for energy, which in turn, causes weight loss. This process is called Ketosis. Ketosis is in fact a mild form of Ketoacidosis, which mainly affects people with Type 1 diabetes, and can even lead to death.
Many of the people who follow the keto diet, or support it, often use the documentary “The Magic Pill” to back their beliefs on how and why the diet is effective. To see what all the hype was about, I took an hour and a half out of my day and watched the film that claims to hold the secret we’ve all been missing out on. As I was watching the film, the number one thing that I noticed, since the beginning credits, is how the director created carbs and sugars to be this destructive and life-threatening monster. Although I didn’t agree with this ideology, I trekked on and finished the documentary. I will admit, looking at it from a stand point of someone who is desperate to lose weight fast and not nutritionally informed, turning Keto sounded like the Holy Grail that had been hiding from us all. The film captivates viewers by showing the positive effects of the diet on everyday individuals: a young, non-verbal, autistic girl finally speaks and a woman’s breast cancer shrinks. However, after doing some research of my own I came up on a couple of studies, clinical trials, and medical journals that disproved the arguments that film writer, Pete Evans, along with supporters of the Keto diet claim are true. This leads us to the information that you came here for, what’s so wrong about the Ketogenic Diet? Now let’s explore some of the claims that this trendy diet makes
You’ll lose a ton of weight
Not only is a low-carb diet extremely difficult to follow and stick to, but it’s honestly not that great for you either. To make this a little bit easier to understand, let’s go on a journey of how starting the diet will go. The first couple days of the Keto diet are going to be the hardest, you will completely cut out carbs from your, very carb filled, diet. This means, no fruit, no grains, no starchy vegetables, no juices and no honey or syrups. Now, like I mentioned in the beginning, your body will eventually run out of “carb energy”, glucose, and begin to use “fat energy”, glycogen. This is the part that you will see the most weight lost. In the beginning, you will shed a ton of water weight, which often gets diet followers very excited. However, this is only because once your body turns to glycogen, which is stored in your liver and muscles in case of emergencies, it starts to break down this molecule to be used as an energy source. The glycogen molecule holds about 3 to 4 grams of water, which explains the reason that when you finally tap into this stored energy, as in exercising or beginning a diet, its going to release a lot of water in a short amount of time. Now, you’ve lost all this weight, yay!!! You’re eating lots of fats and protein but you’re just not feeling yourself (we’ll get to why a little later) and you’re weight loss has plateaued. This is the point where you decide that this diet is not for you. You see the Instagramers doing it, you see the Facebook moms doing it, but you’ve just officially come to the conclusion that the Keto diet was not made for you. So you go back to eating carbs. However, according to Dr Kristen Kizer RD, a dietitian at Houston Methodist Medical Center, the real reason why the diet wasn’t made for you, was because it is too restrictive to follow long term.
“When people tell me they want to try it because their friends lost weight, I always tell them, ‘Just watch, I almost guarantee that they’ll gain it all back,’” Kizer said.
Some, but not all, consequences of this constant “back and forth” between diets are weight gain, development of eating disorders, mood swings along with lowering bone and heart health.
Not only does Keto provide false hopes in the beginning stages, however it also sets up dieters for failures as it doesn’t provide a long-term solution.
Carbs Are Your Greatest Enemy
The keto diet and “The Magic Pill” do a great job of promoting the idea that carbs are evil and you should steer clear of them.
Carbohydrates are found in food items like fruits, vegetables, breads and pastas. When you consume these foods, your body turns them into a glucose and uses it as it’s main source of energy.
Yes, eating too many carbs is not a good thing and can lead to weight gain, however keeping up with your body’s energy needs is something that should be prioritized.
The carbs that you should steer clear from are those that scientists like to call “refined and processed carbs,” these are going to be your pizzas, pastas, white bread, and desserts. A downfall to eating these refined carbs is that it leads to “brain fog.” This is when there is a rapid change, rise and fall, of sugar levels in the body. and simply eliminating these processed and refined carbs from your diet can fix this problem.
Now those are the “bad carbs”, but seriously there’s good ones that you don’t want to miss out on.
One common issue that doctors see with people that follow a low-carb diet is that they don’t get enough nutrients, vitamins and minerals. The most common way that humans get most of their nutrients are from natural foods, like fruits and vegetables, that contain carbs. The negative of the keto diet is that because people cut out these foods from their diet, they are now missing out on these vital resources. Most of the people who follow the diet are also not doing so with the advice and counsel of a health care professional, doing so, dieters often are uninformed and unaware that their eating habits are in fact putting themselves in danger, as they are not consuming the necessary nutrients for optimal health.
This leads to my point that although eating too many refined, processed or even natural carbs isn’t necessarily great, cutting them carbs out your diet completely can be dangerous to one’s overall health.
It’s a cure all solution we’ve all been missing out on
Doctors who support the keto diet, along with the documentary “The Magic Pill” claim that it holds cancer-fighting, anti-aging and anti-inflammatory benefits. However, doctors have begun to point out that the mass amounts of animal protein and fats that dieters consume may actually lead to the opposite. A study conducted at the end of August of this year with 25,000 people in Munich showed that the people on the lowest-carb diets had the highest risks of dying from cancer, heart conditions and various other reasons. In another study done earlier this year, scientists found that people who consumed higher amounts of animal-based proteins were associated with higher mortality than those who consumed plant-based proteins.
One of the main issues with consuming such high amounts of fat and protein is the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. In a study done in the beginning of August of this year, scientists argued that it was likely for people to cause an increased risk of developing the disease in the early stages of the keto diet. Insulin is released into your blood stream and is used to help control blood sugar levels in the body, along with alerting your liver to stop producing sugars. By not using insulin properly, your body can develop what is called insulin resistance. When the liver stops can’t respond to normal levels of insulin anymore, it can’t control the blood sugar levels properly, which leads to a risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Now, although I’m not a doctor nor a world-renown expert on fad diets, I have learned that before making any radical changed in my diet, I should do my research before hand. Foods are what give us energy, make our minds work properly and help our body function the way it’s supposed to. Before taking on a trendy diet, especially one that is radically different than what your body is used to , I highly suggest one, do your research (and I mean a lot of it) and two, seek advise from the professionals (this is code for: call your doctor.)