The keto diet is super trendy these days - but what exactly does it entail, and is it even worth it?!
By: Kiki Athanas, Calii Love’s In-House Wellness Expert & Founder of Me by Kiki™
Here’s the deal, the keto diet – at it’s initial therapeutic intentions for treating chronic health conditions such as cancer, epilepsy, and more (1) – is just that: therapeutic.
It’s an intensive dietary regime consisting of a high-fat, adequate-protein, and very-low-carbohydrate way of eating. More specifically, the ‘keto macros’ should look something like this (2):
- 70% Fats
- 25% Proteins
- 5% Carbs
That’s a true ketogenic diet, and likely not the one your super fit friends are doing – even if they say they are. In reality, it’s an extremely strict protocol that should really only be followed under supervision from a medical professional, as you’re essentially trying to put your body under “ketosis” – a unique metabolic state whereby you’re burning fat as your primary fuel source (ibid.).
If you’re not eating strictly keto, the only other way to do it would be to not eat – at all, as fasting for several days is another way this state can be achieved.
While this may seem wonderful in theory; “Eat bacon. Burn fat.”.
It’s simply not the healthiest nor a safe or long-term sustainable diet.
Chances are you’re interested in the keto diet in the interest of weight-loss or boosting your fitness abilities, and for that, there’s the “keto” diet all the cool kids are doing. Most likely they claim to be eating “keto”, but when it comes down to it, they’re eating what I like to call “keto-ish” – a term I heard Naturopathic Doctor Salna Smith state…and love it!
- High healthy fats that provide ketones which fuel our brain (read: increased energy and focus),
- Moderate clean protein (to sustain our energy by balancing blood sugar)
- Low carb (to optimize our stress balancing hormone cortisol) .
This is all in conjunction with a plant based (lots of fruit and vegetables) diet. In essence you then create a body whose brain is fuelled by ketones and cells that are fuelled by a phytonutrient rich diet.
Decreasing your carbs for a period of time can certain help with weight-loss goals in the short-term, but do remember to provide your brain with enough carbohydrates (glucose) to thrive – especially if you’re more physically active. If you’re opting for complex carbohydrates like sweet potatoes as well as nutrient-rich natural glucose sources from fruits, then you are truly in a state of healing your mind, body & soul!
As I always say – mindful eating “wins”, everytime. Choose foods that make you feel good, eat them slowly and consciously, and try to set healthy boundaries rather than rigid rules.
As David Wolfe once stated in an interview regarding the keto diet, “What I see with them is that it’s an on-off thing; you’re keto for a while, then you go back to having some carbohydrates because, see the thing about the natural sugars, is that they’re connected to joy.”
Just remember that one-size-fits-all diets never apply (learn more about the power of personalized nutrition here), and while keto meals are a nutritious and healthful addition to your dietary regime, there’s never any reason to beat yourself up for indulging in a fruity summer smoothie bowl too!