Hey guys! It’s Marcus from Fitness Room here!
The Ketogenic Diet is probably one of the most well-known diets that we hear about. We’re going to break down what it is, how to go keto and whether or not it could work for you.
How it works
When you eat less than 50g of carbs per day, your body will start producing ketone bodies. They are formed in the liver from a breakdown of fat when there isn’t enough glucose, (from carbohydrates), in your system. You must be certain you’re eating less than 50g of carbs per day for this diet to work.
The amount of weight lost is similar to other diets that simply restrict calories, so there is no 100% confirmation that the weight lost on a keto diet is due to ketone production. It may just be that doing this diet is inherently making people restrict carbs that come from processed and junk food sources which are high in calories. This then aids in weight loss.
Since you’ll be eating such a tiny amount of carbs, those 50g will have to come from healthy, high fibre foods, like vegetables. If your carbs are from bad sources then the diet will not be effective and you’ll probably feel pretty terrible as well.
Cons of Keto
The biggest one is that eating less than 50g of carbs is not an easy thing to do. People who were successful on the diet generally report they stop craving carbs, but getting to that point and staying consistent may be a challenge. Ketosis is a binary thing, either you are or you aren’t keto, so you can’t slowly ease into it. Going cold turkey on most carbs, with the exception of veggies, and also dealing with the small amount of carbs overall may trip people up.
The second problem may arise with extended periods of time on the keto diet, (5+ years). There is not much empirical evidence on the long term effects of eating a tiny amount of carbs. We know that carbs are not ‘essential’, but they can definitely affect how we feel in terms of both mood and energy when training.
Keto definitely works for some people, although the exact reason why it works is still in the air, the important thing is that it generally makes people eat a healthier diet. For those who feel they need a stricter diet in order to stay accountable, keto may be a good choice, but it definitely isn’t necessary.
I also wouldn’t recommend it to those who need to maintain athletic performance. Some people report more energy after swapping to keto, but that is purely based on the person and will vary. As a general rule, if you’re playing sport, you should be eating carbs. Similarly if your performance in the gym decreases after switching to keto, it may not be the right diet for you.
It’s a difficult diet to stick to for most people and its long-term sustainability is questionable. Both Stefan and I are not huge fans of the diet and wouldn’t be quick to recommend it. However, if you do it correctly and you feel fine eating low carb then it will work for weight loss.
If you have any questions, make sure to let us know and we’d be happy to get back to you! Thanks guys!