Why on earth would you put a stick of butter in your coffee? And, think about how bacon grease gets hard as it cools. Bacon and butter are not health foods. While the Keto diet is currently the very popular “fad of the month” diet, it does not have a strong basis in science.
What is the Keto Diet?
The Keto diet is basically a rehash of the old Adkins and South Beach diets – low carbs and high in fat and animal proteins. I tried both the Adkins and South Beach diets back when they were popular and I was heavier. While I lost a few pounds on both diets, it wasn’t long before I gained back what I lost plus more.
The scariest issue with Keto is that you could end up ingesting 75% of your calories from FATS. While it may work in the short term for rapid weight loss, if you continue it for longer periods of time, you run the risk of incurring some serious health issues.
Why the Keto Diet Might Work in the Short Term
The Keto diet resonates with us because we crave fats. But, your weight loss is basically going to come from water weight loss and the depletion of your glycogen (basically sugar in the form of glucose stored in your liver). This could cause you to become lethargic because glycogen helps give you energy.
Interestingly, there is existing scientific research that shows while Keto may cause initial weight loss, by the end of 12 months, there is no difference in weight loss between a Keto dieter and a person who is on a high complex carb, low fat diet.
Dangers of the Keto Diet
Are you a risk taker? Choosing Keto is a way to send your cholesterol numbers shooting dangerously through the roof. On top of that, there are numerous medical studies that have shown that low carb, high fat diets like Keto can reduce life expectancy. In fact, Keto dieters have a 30% higher risk of death from cardiovascular diseases.
Why the increased risk of death? Keto dieters typically replace carb-rich foods with red meat, processed meats and dairy products, all of which are known by the medical community to increase your risk of diseases like cardiovascular disease, Type-2 diabetes and cancer. Plus, saturated fat (some examples of saturated fats being cheese, eggs, butter, dairy products, meats, fish and poultry, coconut oil, etc.) causes a decrease in blood flow in your arteries as well as a temporary loss of artery flexibility. The scientific data is overwhelming that diets high in animal protein and saturated fats, like Keto, are detrimental to every organ in your body.
The research overwhelmingly shows diets high in animal protein and saturated fats, over time, cause cholesterol (plaque) to build up in your blood vessels. This plaque build up increases your risk of metabolic diseases like high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, stroke, heart attack and insulin resistance (insulin resistance being the road to Type-2 diabetes).
Being on a Keto diet also deprives you from eating complex carbs like fruits and vegetables; foods that are associated with longevity because they contain antioxidants that aren’t found in animal products. Keto dieters also deprive themselves of consuming enough fiber. Fiber is an important component of a healthy diet as it not only keeps you regular, it also helps remove cholesterol from your body. Unfortunately, there is no fiber in animal products.
Fad Diets Come and Go
By now, I hope you are at least thinking that Keto is not for you. While we all know someone who went Keto and lost a lot of weight, I’m here to tell you that I can just about guarantee that they’ll gain it all back.
Think about what you can eat on a Keto diet. It’s pretty restrictive. Restrictive diets don’t work long term, they are just too hard to consistently follow. If you do try Keto, odds are you will regain a lot of the weight you lost as soon as you add carbs back into your diet.
I believe the reason people like going Keto, other than the fact that it is so popular now, is because it’s an easy fix for quick weight loss. Unfortunately, that route doesn’t give you the opportunity to correct bad eating habits.
Don’t get fooled by the hype. You only have one body so why would you put things into your mouth that have a negative effect on how your body functions. Your health is most important and you have the control over what you eat.
I strongly believe plant-based eating is the best form of self-care you can give your body. So, make a dietary intervention. Focus your diet on whole-foods, like whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruit. Let those foods push the animal proteins and saturated fats off your plate. You and your family will be glad you did.
Mitch Kahn is the founder of Live Lean and Fit. Mitch is a Master Personal Trainer, Health Coach and Weight Loss Specialist.
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