Nancy, what do you think about the Keto Diet? My friend has lost a ton of weight. She marvels at how easily she slimmed down…
Answer: The keto diet is indeed popular these days, in part because people who follow this high fat diet report they do not feel hungry while losing weight. For some keto-dieters, the firm rule of “no carbs” (well, maybe just a few low-carb lettuce leaves and berries) reduces the option to indulge in yummy bread, pasta, cookies, chips, candy, and other tasty foods.
If you are not familiar with the keto diet, it is a very high fat diet (with at least 70% of the calories coming from fat, including butter, cream, olive oil, nuts, avocado, bacon, cheese, peperoni, etc.. Carbohydrate intake (fruit, vegetables, grain foods, sugars) is minimal. Protein intake is moderate —a serving at each meal—but nothing excessive. That is, a keto diet is NOT a high protein diet, because protein can convert into glucose, which takes the body out of ketosis (the fat-burning mode).
Here are my holistic thoughts about the keto diet: You want to embark upon an eating plan / diet that you would be willing to maintain for the rest of your life. Otherwise, you end up going on and off diets, with weight that yo-yo’s up and down. Doing so is psychologically depressing
Diets commonly result in long-term fat gain. We know that 97% of dieters regain lost weight, plus more. One reason why two-thirds of Americans are overweight or obese relates to diet-backlash. That is, we know when the diet starts on Monday, people can do a heck of a lot of eating on Friday, Saturday and Sunday (and sometimes don’t quite have the mental energy needed to go back on the diet on Monday).
The “magic” of keto is it curbs the appetite, so people feel less hungry and consume fewer calories. While short-term weight loss is rewarding, I question if eliminating carbs is a long-term solution. Do you really want to never enjoy birthday cake, bananas or bread ever again??? Will you miss eating from the same menu as your friends?
Keto is just another diet with strict rules that puts the dieter in food jail. While people marvel at the weight loss and reported health benefits (including lower blood glucose), those same benefits can come with eating learning how to eat balanced meals at the right times. The diet doesn’t work; the dieter works!
If the keto diet is calling to you, I encourage you to first consult with a registered dietitian who can help you learn how to manage your food intake in a sustainable way. I’ve observed that most frustrated dieters diet “too hard” and self-impose unrealistic calorie targets — until hunger gets the better of them and they binge / “blow their diet.” You might just discover there’s a better way to manage your food and weight for your entire lifespan.