On the ketogenic diet you can eat cheese, bacon, red meat, butter and heavy cream and still lose weight. But is it safe and healthy? What are the pros and cons of going “keto?” Let’s discuss…
First, what is the ketogenic diet? The term ketogenic comes from 2 words “keto” short for ketones or ketone bodies, and “genic” meaning producing or forming. “Ketogenic diet” literally means ketone-producing diet. The ketogenic diet is a very low carb / high fat diet, which puts the body into a state of ketosis. After 3 or 4 days of fasting or following a very low carb diet, the body reduces insulin production and switches to burning primarily fat for energy, resulting in the formation of ketones, hence named the keto-genic diet. The ketogenic diet was first used in the 1920s as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. Over the past 15 years there has been an explosion in popularity of the keto diet as a weight loss tool.
According to keto diet advocates, once you are in ketosis, your body becomes a fat burning machine! And you know what, it works, for a while. Insulin and blood sugar levels drop, cravings and hunger are reduced and pounds are lost. Today you can find keto friendly foods, cookbooks, test strips and keto “pills” to get you in ketosis faster. You can eat cheese, bacon, red meat, butter and heavy cream and still lose weight… What’s not to like? Ketogenic diets are popular because they work, as least in the short term.
Are there any negatives or side effects? Well yes, probably the first one you’ll notice is the “keto flu” which can include fatigue, headaches, nausea and constipation – as the body is getting used to having extremely low carb intake. The next thing you might notice, or your partner, is keto breath. One of the ketone bodies released from ketosis is acetone. Yeah the same stuff you ladies clean your nail polish with. Acetone and other ketones are released through breathing, sweating and urination – making your breath and body and urine smell very strange. Thankfully keto flu and keto breath are both temporary symptoms as your body adjusts to being in ketosis. Approximately 4% of keto dieters may also experience hair loss or thinning. Another negative is: nearly cutting all carbs out of your diet also cuts out fiber and some micronutrients. Plus the ketogenic diet is very difficult to adhere to long term. The ketogenic diet was voted the second worst overall diet by US News & World Report because was too restrictive and unsustainable.
So why on earth is it still so popular? Like I said, it’s popular because it works, short term. How does it work? Nearly cutting out an entire food group will most likely put you in a calorie deficit automatically. Also cutting carbs specifically will result in an immediate loss of water weight. So the ketogenic diet does work short term, but as you can tell I’m not a fan due to all the negative effects, and how unsustainable it is. According to research, weight loss on keto diets peak about 5 months but is often not sustained. Ketogenic vs low fat diets showed no difference in weight loss at one year.
So here’s a question: What, if anything, does the Bible say about eating a ketogenic diet? Honestly nothing directly. What comes to my mind is the word balance. One of the fruit of the Spirit is temperance or self-control. Temperance means moderation, or avoiding extremes. I have a hard time seeing an eating plan that nearly eliminates an entire food group as being balanced or moderate. That’s just my opinion, the Bible also says not to judge each other based on what foods we eat. Of course the exception would be eliminating carbs to treat epilepsy or some other serious health problem. For most of us, I recommend eating a balanced diet with fruits and vegetables and plenty of high quality protein.
Many years ago I actually tried the keto diet. I lasted for 4 months. I experienced the bad breath and brain fog and fatigue really bad. After the first 2 or 3 weeks my energy was so low I thought I was doing something wrong. The articles I read said it may take several weeks to completely get used to it. So I kept going, but after 4 months I couldn’t handle it any more so I slowly started introducing carbs back into my diet, and my energy came back. So my general recommendation is a balanced diet with plenty of high quality protein.
Okay that’s it for this week’s article. Thanks for joining me. Don’t forget to pick up my calorie calculator combo, the ultimate free tools to help you succeed on your fitness journey, just visit the link below. That’s all for now, God bless you, and I’ll see you next time.
Free Calorie Counter Combo: https://www.spiritandmuscle.com/calories