I’m not a doctor, just a reg gal on a health journey sharing my thoughts! All our bodies are different & just because something is trendy, it doesn’t mean it’s right for you! I personally don’t think that keto is sustainable & while it may render short-term weight loss, I see it as more of a quick fix. I believe the real answer is to incorporate a healthier way of being that’s possible to sustain long-term & realistic & that most importantly, makes you feel good mind, body & Soul every day. It’s possible to lose fat without extreme or fad diets.
My Personal Thoughts On Keto
Something I get asked often is: what’s my take on KETO?
I never actually followed a keto diet; I’m just sharing my opinion. If it works for you, I’m not here to criticize your choices. Continue doing you!
For those of you who may not be aware of what the ketogenic diet is, it’s basically a diet based on an 80% fat/15% protein & 5% carb ratio, with the logic that lack of carbs forces the body to burn & use ketones for fuel (this is a shift from the way our bodies are traditionally designed to use glucose for fuel, which we get from the consumption of carbohydrates). Basically, the liver uses stored fat to make ketones for fuel, which is why it may be beneficial for weight loss.
However, IMO, keto isn’t better for weight loss than any other diet. I think initially, people get excited about the concept that it burns stored fat for fuel & while it’s true that’s how ketones are made, the diet is also high in fat.
The fat we eat is converted into ketones, yet, to ensure we burn more fat than we eat, we’re told to reduce fats in our diet (a.k.a. cut calories). Case in point: Every fad diet works if we’re in a caloric deficit. When we cut carbs, calories naturally drop & boom: weight loss. The same is true if we remove all fat. Being at any extreme isn’t the best for long-term health, even if it gives some short-term benefits.
Moreover, keto isn’t ideal for women; it can potentially disrupt hormones & lead to higher cortisol levels as the body’s activates its fight or flight response due to stress (when we deprive our bodies of carbs or do intermittent fasting, our bodies are actually in a state of “stress” & our hormones respond accordingly). As women, we have a monthly hormonal cycle that fluctuates and changes daily. Throughout the stages of our lives, so many things from the food we eat, the sleep we get, the frequency with which we move our bodies, exposure to environmental toxins, stress, anxiety, etc., affect our hormones & put us at risk for becoming more hormonally imbalanced.
And I’m not just talking about sex hormones. I’m also talking about stress hormones, like cortisol. When we eat low-carb diets, we run the risk of drastically changing our cortisol levels to the point where we may even develop adrenal fatigue & chronically elevated cortisol levels. FYI, fun fact: women who hold excess fat in their midsection are often cortisol dominant, not to mention all the other negative effects of having elevated cortisol levels.
Keto puts us in a mind-frame where life revolves around all the food we can’t eat & can lead to disordered behaviours & fear to reincorporate those foods if & when goals are met. And then what happens when you do? Digestion is thrown off as the food has become so foreign to our body, gut health issues ensue & slowly, the weight may pile back on.
Some bodies are more fat sensitive & IMO, our livers weren’t genetically designed to process that much fat. Fats are necessary but excessive amounts can take a toll on the liver & increase risk of metabolic & chronic disease.
The carbs we cut aren’t just carbs; they’re also rich in fibre, vitamins & minerals we may not get from high-fat foods… hello nutrient deficiency.
Each time we put our body on a diet, it has a famine response in order to protect us (it’s basically our “caveman brain” that’s activated to ensure that we don’t starve to death & that we survive). Every time we restrict macros or calories to extremes, our caveman brain “turns on”, our hormones change & we put our bodies into vicious cycles, where they can no longer trust us. This is what makes it so hard to lose weight & maintain that loss when we do these extreme fad diets – it’s not because we don’t have willpower; it’s that our bodies have systems in place to make sure we get the macros we need to survive & when we don’t, that’s when all hell breaks loose. The body gets angry. The body NEEDS that fuel & eventually, it can lead to binging, restriction, purging, unhealthy eating patterns & disordered behaviours & a skewed relationship with ourselves, our minds, our bodies & an inability to eat intuitively.
Moral of the story: you can burn excess fat by working with your biology & eating the quantity of macros that’s sustainable & appropriate for your body & what you ask it to do every day! There is no overarching way to do this that suits every single person because every body’s body is different.
To finish off, I simply want to reiterate that I don’t mean to say that the keto diet does not render results. Like many diets, results may be short-lived. If healthy habits are not maintained, the weight may come back on if one stops eating keto, the same way it’ll come back on if one stops doing any diet. I also don’t mean to insinuate that keto is outright bad. I know people have changed their lives with it, the same way other diets have changed people’s lives for different reasons.
All this to say, this is my opinion & I love sharing it with you guys! I hope nobody takes offence to this & please feel free to share your experience with keto or your thoughts on it in the comments below! xx