Every month there seems to be a new diet trend that takes the media by storm, touted as the best way to lose fat fast or live ‘till you’re 109. Throughout the years, we’ve heard people praising the life-changing benefits of going low fat, doing 5:2, intermittent fasting, paleo or being raw ‘till 4… that’s right, eating only raw fruits vegetables until 4pm - we wouldn’t recommend it! But since Dr Atkin’s food plans came booming into the world in the 70’s, variations of low-carb diets have consistently attracted a loyal following of models, celebrities and health conscious consumers alike. Whilst science and opinion has changed over the years, the low carb craze doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, especially with the recent popularity of the Ketogenic diet…
Whilst here at Free Soul we don’t promote fad diets or extreme weight loss, we’re here to give you the facts about nutrition and offer advice to help you live your healthiest life. So, here’s what the keto diet is, how it works and some things to think about when deciding if it’s right for you. Remember, everybody is different and you need to do what makes YOU feel your best!
What Exactly Is Keto And How Does It Work?
Okay, time to get our science on for a sec. The main purpose of the ketogenic diet is to get the body to start relying on fat, rather than carbs for energy. When our bodies are deprived of glucose (which we get from carbohydrates) we enter what is called a catabolic state. This forces certain metabolic processes to come into action, one of which is ketogenesis! Ketone bodies replace glucose as our source of energy, and because insulin secretion is low, the stimulus for fat and glucose storage is reduced. Your body will stay in this state for as long as it’s deprived of carbohydrates – so bad news, no sneaky “I don’t think anyone’s watching” biscuits are allowed here!
Most low-carb diets, such as Atkins, recommend around 130g of carbs a day, but in order to achieve ketosis, you’ll need to limit your intake to less than 50g a day – around the same as one bagel. But don’t worry, it’s not all doom and gloom! You can eat as many fats and proteins as you’d like, no matter what they might be. Due to the strong satiation effect of fats and protein, you’ll likely find this incredibly filling, which will help to keep you in a calorie deficit if weight loss is your aim.
So, Is This Really Healthy?
Short-term, most studies haven’t shown any serious implications on your health. It is common to experience what is known as the “keto flu” for the first few days or weeks, with symptoms including nausea, fatigue, dizziness and headaches. So, make sure to drink plenty of fluids and electrolytes whilst your body adjusts.
Long-term? There’s varying opinion and more research is needed, especially to decipher the effects when staying in a ketogenic state for more than 2 years.
No Pasta Or Bread? What Can You Even Eat?!
It’s time to bring on the meat, butter and cheese! Put down that low-fat, low calorie yoghurt that tastes like nothing and indulge in the full-cream version instead. Lather on the butter, pour on the oils, nuts and seeds – you might be missing out on carbs but you can still enjoy a whole load of indulgence and flavour and indulgence in your food! Remember, your intake includes veggies too so swerve high-carbohydrate fruits and veggies like sweet potatoes and bananas and opt for berries or green veggies to keep your intake under 50g.
Feeling full and struggling to eat enough calories? Stop forcing yourself to chow down another meal and try sippin’ on a Free Soul Protein whey or vegan shake with coconut milk and nut butter instead, making sure you’re still getting a full spectrum of vitamins and minerals to support your hormones and overall wellbeing. Our Original Protein blends are suitable for inclusion in a keto diet.
Is This The Right Diet For You?
If you usually feel great and full of energy on a high fat, low carb diet and want to stop relying on quick sugars for energy and feel more stable throughout the day, keto might be something that could work for you. However, if you already have dietary restrictions (such as allergies) or have a difficult relationship with food we wouldn’t recommend it. It is a pretty restrictive diet with many rules that will implicate your lifestyle; meaning it can be incredibly dangerous for those who have suffered with disordered eating habits or eating disorders in the past.
Finally, What’s The Most Important Question To Consider Before Starting Keto?
Why are you doing this? Are you looking to boost your health and make a change that makes you feel great in both your body and mind? Or is this a quick fix or fad in the hopes of making a drastic body change? If the latter, hold it right there! Whatever you decide, make sure you’re putting your health, mind and body’s needs first. If you’ve experimented with low carb, high fat eating and feel amazing then go for it, but don’t worry if you feel most energised on a plate full of carbs! Carbs aren’t the devil and certainly aren’t unhealthy. Keto might work for some people but won’t suit everyone, so if you feel healthy, fit and strong and love loading up on carbs – you do you Sista!