The keto diet has become very popular. It seems like everyone, from your coworker down the hall to your favorite celebrity, has tried it. So, you may be tempted to give it a try yourself. After all, the promise of burning lots of fat and gaining energy is very appealing. However, the keto diet might not be the best diet for you. Eating keto is extremely limiting and some people find that they do not do well on it. In fact, they gain fat instead of losing it. So, what should you do? Here are five reasons to reconsider trying the keto diet.
What is the Keto Diet?
Before we begin, let’s take a quick look at what the keto diet is. Keto stands for ketogenic and is based on the idea that if your body does not have glucose to fuel itself, it will turn to stored fat. So, your goal is to not give your body any glucose and instead give it mostly fat with a moderate amount of protein. Your body will eventually adapt to running on fat for fuel only, a state that is called ketosis.
This diet was originally intended for children who suffered from seizures but others have found success on the diet, particularly those are obese or diabetic. The key to keto is eating a very small amount of carbs every day – about 20 grams. If you eat more than that, you risk kicking yourself out of ketosis.
Now that we know exactly what the keto diet is, let’s see why it might not be a good diet for you.
1. Hard to Sustain
The keto diet is very difficult to sustain because you are very limited in what you can eat. Most keto diets call for you to eat 20 grams of carbs per day, though some will allow up to 50 grams. However, even if you allow for extra carbs with fiber, it still significantly reduces the amount of food you can eat during a day. Many people become so obsessed with eating low carb on keto that they throw out vegetables altogether. Eating a diet mostly of fat and only moderate amounts of protein is dangerous and extremely unhealthy.
2. Low in Nutrients
If you are not eating enough fruits and vegetables, then chances are your body is not getting the vitamins and minerals it desperately needs to function. You will probably find yourself dependent on supplements to get everything in. If not, you run the risk of developing heart disease because of the high fat content and little else in your diet. Those on the keto diet also find themselves with little to no fiber intake, making their digestive system suffer. Keto dieters are often short on electrolytes as well, and must supplement with salt and potassium in their water.
3. Not the Best for Weight Loss
If you are looking for healthy, sustainable weight loss, keto might not be the answer. While you can lose weight doing keto, studies have shown that it is no more effective than other, more reasonably balanced diets. Research has also found that those who go off of the keto diet have a hard time keeping the weight off. Using a more moderate diet that allows for higher carb consumption, a healthier calorie count, and slower pace weight loss are just as or more effective for most people.
4. Difficult to Begin
Starting the keto diet requires a major overhaul in how you eat. This can cause your body to overreact when it loses the carbs and sugar it is used to getting. Many people find that they go through a withdrawal period that is called the “carb flu” or “keto flu.” The symptoms of this flu can be as minor as a headache to more serious problems as nausea and fuzzy thinking. Since it takes 6-8 weeks to enter ketosis, you must strictly adhere to the diet or risk losing all of your progress. There is no leeway if you feel sick or need an energy boost.
5. Can Decrease Muscle Mass
If you are looking to gain muscle and become stronger, the keto diet might actually hinder your progress. Muscles use the glucose from carbs for fuel and without carbs, it must adapt to a new way to build muscle. This can be difficult to achieve and requires a strict diet that also relies on supplements. This also means that if you are training for any type of athletic event, your body could suffer for as long as 6-8 weeks before it fully adapts to the new diet.
The keto diet can be useful for those who need help controlling seizures, diabetes or extreme obesity. However, most people do not need to use such an extreme diet to lose weight and become more fit. A more moderate and balanced diet can help you achieve the best results and will not require you to eat a lot of butter, heavy cream and eggs. Whatever diet you choose, make sure it allows you to eat plenty of vegetables and a healthy amount of protein. Anything else will likely lead to disappointment and lack of results.