I want to go over a topic/question that's been coming up more frequently in the past couple of months regarding the Keto diet.
Friends, family, clients, and even during consults, I've been asked, "Should I be doing the keto diet?”
“Is the keto diet going to help me burn more fat?”
“My coworker's doing it, my friend's doing it. It's worked great for them. Do you think I should be doing the keto diet?"
I'm not going to bash it (Keto) or anything. I'm going to give you my thoughts on it. At the end of the post, I'll give you a tip on how to do the keto diet better if that's something that you're going to pursue and if that's something that you're going to do.
I think there are couple sets of questions you should ask yourself first.
The first set comes down to sustainability and enjoyability. Is this diet going to help me? Am I going to be able to sustain it for a long period of time? So, that's over six months. Am I going to enjoy it? Those are questions you want to ask yourself.
Enjoyability is kind of a two-factor/ two-part question. Enjoyability comes from food preferences. Do you like pasta, rice, potatoes, wine, and fruits and vegetables? Also, what is your training style like?
Going back to actually the food preference, if you like those foods, then obviously a diet that cuts those foods out is likely not going to be something that you're going to be able to sustain for a long period of time. Now, if you're the type of person that doesn't even like those foods, doesn't eat them regularly, feels great without them, then yes, you're probably going to have the better chance of sustaining that diet for a longer period of time.
Training style. Lifestyle. Are you a sedentary person? Are you someone that does very low intensity exercise, Walks and doesn't really do high intensity exercise? Then, yes, the keto diet, a diet that is very low in carbs, is going to be something that can suit you.
But are you someone that goes to barre, goes to spin, goes to power yoga, does high intensity interval training, HIIT, and lifts weights, so you're active several times a week, and you want to keep your performance up, you want to go in that workout and workout for harder and longer? Then carbs are going to be your friend and they're going to help you to perform better in those workouts and help you with recovery.
The second part is can I achieve these same results, fat loss, with other diets as well or is this the only way?
Calorie balance is the king of fat loss. It rules everything. It doesn't matter what diet you're on, if you're on a keto diet, the paleo diet, the vegan diet, the Oreo, Twinkie, Arby, Subway, McDonald's, my grandmother's Persian diet, whatever…
Whatever diet you decide to choose, you will lose fat as long as you can maintain a calorie deficit for a period of time.
It doesn't matter if your diet is very low in carbs or high in carbs. Researchers has shown this when they've compared a very low-carb diet to a high-carb diet. The fat loss effect has been the same when the calorie intake and the protein intake has been matched. So both diet strategies work.
It busts one of the myths and one of the selling points of the keto diet, that if insulin goes up, you won't lose fat. You can still lose fat on a diet that has a higher level of carbs as long as calorie intake and protein intake are at a levels that puts you in a deficit.
On the topic of protein, and this touches on the tip that I wanted to give those of you who are doing the keto diet or going to start doing the keto diet:
A lot of people who start the keto diet don't maintain a high enough protein intake. The keto diet typically is very high in fat, but not that high in protein.
The issue with that is that as we lose weight, we want to maintain as much muscle mass as we can so that we maximize fat loss. The two ways that we do that is by resistance training and consuming enough protein.
It's very important that you're lifting weights when you're dieting so that you maintain the muscle mass, muscle tone, and muscle definition as you lose fat. To maximize muscle mass retentions aim to keep your protein intake take at a high enough level.
But one of the fears that some people have with keeping protein intake up during the keto diet that they may go out of ketosis due to a rise rise in insulin levels, and stuff like that. If that is a worry for you, you can still bump up your protein intake to a range of 1.2 to 1.6 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. At that range you should still be able to sustain your state of ketosis if that’s your goal.
But if that's not something that you're worried about, I would advise you to bump up your protein intake even higher than that and aim for closer to 1.6 to 2.2 grams of protein per kilogram of protein per day of body weight.
I hope those things help. If you have any questions, shoot them in the comments below.