Fad diets are not a new concept but it seems like every year there are new ones that come out that everyone is trying. For the past couple of years it’s been the keto diet. Essentially, the keto diet is a high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet that makes a person go into ketosis. Ketosis is a process your body goes through when it doesn’t have enough carbohydrates. Because your body isn’t getting enough carbs, it will burn fat to use for energy instead of carbs. I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the benefits of going on the keto diet, either from a Netflix documentary or from a friend who has done the diet. I personally have a few friends who have done it and have lost a significant amount of weight from it. So the question you all want to know the answer to: should you try the keto diet to lose weight? (Disclaimer: this is my opinion and I think you should do your own research before you go on a strict diet.) My personal opinion is that no, most people should NOT start a keto diet to lose weight. These are my reasons:
- It is a strict diet that cuts out a major food group: carbs. Any diet that cuts out a major food group should be thought about carefully. Carbs are not bad and your body needs carbs for fuel. If you can’t eat healthy food because of your diet, it’s probably too strict to be sustainable. For example, I would assume that everyone thinks fruit and potatoes are healthy. But you can’t eat these on the keto diet so essentially you’re restricting yourself from eating healthy foods because they have too many carbs. It is an extreme diet and who wants to live without fruit and sweet potatoes for the rest of their life?
- A common reason people go on the keto diet is because they hear testimonials about people losing 10lbs the first week or some crazy amount of weight. While I don’t doubt this is true, there is 2 reasons why people initially lose a lot of weight on the keto diet.
- Carbs hold onto about 3 times as much water as protein and fat. A majority of weight people lose when they first start keto is water weight which you will gain back once you start eating carbs again.
- They are in a calorie deficit. The keto diet isn’t some crazy science, it’s the same science we’ve been told time and time again: calories in versus calories out. People on the keto diet are losing weight because they are eating less calories than they are consuming. When you limit what you can eat, you realize that a lot of the stuff you were eating before is no longer in your “diet”. For example, cookies, cake, chips, candy and bread all (generally) have too many carbs to be eaten on the keto diet. So this means that you’ll most likely be eating less calories than you were before. Secondly, fat is a very satiating macro-nutrient so while you’re eating less calories, you may not be as hungry because of the high fats that you’re eating.
- Just because you lose weight doesn’t mean you’re healthy. While most people on the keto diet may be eating healthier than they used to be eating because they aren’t eating as many sweets and processed food, that still doesn’t mean they are eating healthy. For example, a lot of people of the Keto diet, eat a diet high in cheese, bacon, fatty meats, etc. These foods have a high amount of saturated fat which is proven to not be good long term for our bodies. Ideally, if someone wanted to try the keto diet, I would recommend they get their sources of fat from healthy sources such as avocado, nuts and seeds. This, however, seems rare while on the keto diet (from what I’ve seen/heard).
- It is not sustainable. While some people may not agree with me on this, I don’t think there’s anyone who wants to give up carbs for the rest of their life. While the keto diet may help you lose weight, once you go off the diet, you still have to learn to make eating a healthy a lifestyle in order to not gain the weight back. Personally, I think that if you have enough willpower to eat less than 20g of carbs a day, you have the willpower to eat less processed junk and make eating healthy a lifestyle that you can sustain.
Those are my thoughts on keto for weight loss, I’d love to hear (or read) yours below!