The keto diet is taking the world by storm, and unfortunately, with this fantastic diet comes a lot of myths that people make a mistake believing. It’s easy to find something that’s deemed as “truth” when the internet spins everything nowadays. If the ketogenic is new, then it’s important to note that this high-fat, low carb diet has incredible benefits. We discuss many of these benefits in the Body Reboot book. A few benefits include weight loss, less likely to get several diseases, and the ability to say no to sugar due to eating satiating foods. Let’s debunk these strange myths for once and for all because the keto diet is something that’s transforming lives, and the positivity needs to outweigh the negativity that it sometimes gets.
1. Keto is only for weight loss
Keto is terrific for weight loss, but Dr. Axe reminds us that it does so much more than that. The keto diet may have other benefits such as treating diabetes and preventing heart disease, among other conditions.
No doubt about it, the ketogenic diet can definitely help many people with weight loss and fat burning. But if losing weight is not one of your goals, this doesn’t mean you can’t follow the keto diet and maintain or even gain weight.
Can you gain weight on the keto diet? It’s certainly possible, especially if you don’t follow the diet correctly and aren’t actually in ketosis.
There’s some controversy surrounding the topic of weight loss due to very high-fat, low-carb diets: some people believe that weight loss is due to decreasing calorie intake, while others believe it’s due to the hormonal effects that the diet has. Still, most experts will agree that despite the type of diet someone follows, if calorie intake exceeds someone’s needs then weight loss can still occur, no matter where the calories come from.
The bottom line? If you eat more calories consistently than you actually need, even if the calories are from fat or protein sources, then you may start to see the scale creep up.
Maybe you’re wondering, “If someone is not looking to lose weight, why would they still follow the keto diet”? The benefits of the ketogenic diet extend far beyond weight loss — they also include regulating hormone production, helping to normalize blood sugar, improving cognitive functioning, improving digestive health, and potentially even reducing the risk for certain diseases and disorders like diabetes or heart disease.
2. It will result in nutrient deficiencies
If you’ve been on the fence about trying the keto diet because you’ve heard that it may result in nutrient deficiencies, that’s not true. The reason this is a myth is that Keto Krate says that if you correctly follow the diet, you can eat nutrient-dense meals that are fulfilling, tasty, and full of vitamins and minerals.
Reality: When followed correctly, the Keto diet is one of the most complete and nutritious diets on the planet.
Here’s the thing, the Keto diet can be executed in many different ways. The only requirement for achieving ketosis is to restrict carbs and limit protein so that the bodies glycogen reserves are depleted to the point that ketosis kicks in. If you do that by eating hot dogs and margarine then I agree with this claim, you are on a dangerous nutrient-deficient diet. However, if one chooses to achieve ketosis by eating fatty cuts of quality meat, dairy, nuts and plenty green leaves and fibrous vegetables–they are on a nutrient dense, complete diet.
What about the nutrients found in high carb grains, fruits and vegetables? What are we missing out on?
The fact is that compared to many vegetables, fruit is actually a pretty poor source of vitamins and minerals. And grains? Not only can the trace vitamins and minerals in grains be found more richly in meats, dairy and other keto friendly foods–there is speculation that phytates and tannins found in grains can block absorption of some vitamins and minerals. – PubMed
In practice most people who begin following a Keto diet actually end up eating many more servings of nutritional low carb fruits and vegetables than they previously were. Once you cut out all of the candy, chips and soda suddenly tomatoes, avocados, olives, spinach and broccoli start looking a lot more attractive.
Unlike proteins and fats, there’s no such thing as an essential carbohydrate. There’s nothing a carbohydrate has to offer the body that couldn’t otherwise be obtained from fats and proteins.
In practice, you’ll probably consume more vitamins and minerals on a ketogenic diet than you did on a standard American diet (SAD), as long as you are eating whole foods (i.e., natural fats, meats, leafy green vegetables) and not packaged low carb junk food. – Ellen Davism, M.S. Applied Clinical Nutrition
Meat is the only nutritionally complete food. Animal foods (particularly when organ meats are included) contain all of the protein, fat, vitamins and minerals that humans need to function. They contain absolutely everything we need in just the right proportions. That makes sense, because for most of human history, these would have been the only foods available just about everywhere on the planet in all seasons.- Georgia Ede MD, Diagnose Diet
This should put things into perspective: gram for gram, broccoli, kale and cauliflower all have more vitamin C than an orange. The high carb foods we famously believe to be the major sources of nutrients are often beat out by low carb meat, dairy or vegetable options.
3. Everyone needs the same amount of carbs
If you’re thinking you’re going to have to eat under 20 grams of carbs per day that may be the case, however, you may be able to eat 50 grams of carbs per day and be just fine. Everyday Health states the reality, which is that everyone responds differently to this high fat, low carb diet, and your carb intake may be different than someone else's. That’s okay, and as long as you’re not pushing past the barrier that the diet is no longer working, then you should be fine.
Reality: How many carbs you should eat really depends on your personal health.
When you start a very-low-carb diet like keto, you may not realize how low in carbs it is. Followers typically consume 20 to 50 grams (g) of carbohydrates a day, often beginning on the lower end of that spectrum to help the body enter ketosis. Nonetheless, depending on factors (like physical activity), you may be able to go higher, says Fleck. She recommends teaming up with a dietitian who can calculate your nutritional needs. What’s more, sometimes it’s not even necessary to go keto, she says. “Some people have genetic issues with using fat for energy, making the diet even more difficult or ineffective for them,” says Fleck.
4. It’s high in protein
The keto diet does include eating protein, but remember, as Women’s Health points out, it’s a high-fat diet and not a high protein diet. What’s nice is when you eat fat in the form of meat, nuts, and other foods, you’re also getting protein. For the most part, you’ll naturally have protein in your diet by selecting high-fat foods.
In order to stay in ketosis and out of dangerous ketoacidosis, those on a keto diet must reduce rather than increase their protein intake, explains Kelly Roehl, R.D.N., a researcher and dietitian at Rush University who counsels patients on the ketogenic diet. As far as she is concerned, the misconception that the keto diet is a high-protein diet is the biggest and most dangerous myth around.
That's because when protein levels get high, the breakdown of the amino acids in protein can also lead to an increase in ketones. While that's all well and good in the average dieter, in a keto dieter who already has elevated levels of ketones in their bloodstream, that can plunge the body into ketoacidosis, Roehl explains. Plus, when protein intake gets too high, it is converted to glucose, causing a blood-sugar spike and an anti-ketogenic effect,” Roehl explains. Lose-lose.
So, when you're on a keto diet, what's the right amount of protein? About 6 to 8 percent of your daily calories should come from protein in order to remain in ketosis and eliminate the risk of ketoacidosis, White says. (Meanwhile, carbs should contribute about 2 to 4 percent of your daily calories.) For the average woman (following a 2,000-calorie diet) that would mean eating approximately 30 to 40 grams of protein per day. That equals about two eggs and a 3-ounce chicken breast per day.
5. You can’t eat veggies and fruits because they have too many carbs
If you think you have to stay away from eating vegetables and fruits that Everyday Health says you’re wrong. Veggies and fruits are more than okay to eat while on keto, and it’s encouraged to eat them for nutritional benefits. There are low carb fruits and veggies that you should eat more than others, and Everyday Health explains more below:
Reality: You need to eat produce to avoid constipation, a nasty keto side effect.
Fruits and veggies are sources of carbohydrates. (The only things that will be carb-free are oils, butter, and meat.) Still, that doesn’t mean you should avoid produce. In fact, these whole, unprocessed foods are important sources of vitamins, antioxidants, and fiber — the latter of which is critical for avoiding constipation, a common keto side effect. Keene recommends nonstarchy veggies, like zucchini, cauliflower, cucumbers, peppers, and broccoli, plus small amounts of lower-carb fruits, like berries — think strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. That said, there are still some healthy foods that are not allowed on the keto diet, so you’ll want to consult the common keto diet food list first.
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