Disclaimer: Pack Health DOES NOT endorse the ketogenic diet in any way. We provide content on trending diets for informative purposes only. Anyone interested in the keto diet should consult their care team first.
Lately, our Health Advisors have gotten questions about the Keto diet. What is it, really? Keto is a Very Low Carb diet (we’re talking <10% of daily calories from carbohydrates) with a higher percentage of calories coming from fat. The keto diet allows your body to shift its metabolism to what’s called “nutritional ketosis.” That means your body uses fat for energy instead of carbohydrates.
Even though the Keto diet has just recently become a popular diet, it’s actually been around for a long time. Recently, scientists have started to evaluate the keto diet from a weight loss perspective. Studies show that if done right, the keto diet helps with weight loss while controlling blood sugar and blood cholesterol. However, studies haven’t been conducted over long periods of time, so scientists aren’t sure of the effects of remaining on a keto diet long-term.
Being on a keto diet doesn’t require fancy recipes – it can fit into the Healthy Plate. Here’s what it would look like:
- Protein – all of the proteins on the Healthy Plate fit into a keto diet.
- Vegetables– non-starchy vegetables, like dark leafy greens, are part of the ketogenic diet.
- Fruits – small portions of berries fit into the keto diet, but most other fruits have too many carbs to fit.
- Dairy – cheese and unsweetened yogurt have fewer carbs than milk, but all can fit into a keto diet with careful planning.
- Starches – with careful planning, a single serving of starch can fit into a keto diet per day; sources of starch should be starchy vegetables, not refined carbs. Examples of starchy vegetables include potatoes, carrots, and squash, and examples of refined cabs include cookies, cakes, candy – essentially, anything that is processed.
Unfortunately, many people who are trying to be on a keto diet aren’t doing it right. In studies, trained experts count grams of carbohydrates and protein and prepare meals for the study participants. However, if you’re doing the keto diet but aren’t part of a study, that responsibility falls to you. Eating only a few extra grams of carbs one day can kick your body out of nutritional ketosis. Then, it takes 3-4 days of eating right to get back into nutritional ketosis. Here are some other common areas where people trying a keto diet might get confused:
01 Eating too much protein.
The keto diet isn’t unlimited meat and cheese. Your body can make carbs from extra protein. Eating too much protein means your body will still use carbs instead of fat for energy.
02 Not eating enough green, leafy vegetables.
Your body still needs vitamins and minerals! Getting vitamins and minerals from green, leafy vegetables is also important for fighting off flu-like symptoms called “keto-flu.”
03 Not telling their doctor.
Having medical supervision is absolutely required when on a keto diet, especially if you’re taking medications for diabetes or blood thinners. Even if you’re a healthy adult just looking to lose a few pounds, you should tell your doctor so they can make sure your ketone levels stay in a safe range.
So, how do you know if the keto diet is something to look into?
- Are you willing to eat non-starchy vegetables? We’re talking spinach and bok choy, like 2-3 cups a day.
- Do you know how to get healthy sources of fat?
- Do you consistently drink 64 oz of water a day?
- Do you have reliable access to a primary care physician who can monitor you while on the keto diet? This is especially important if you’re on medications for diabetes or warfarin (Coumadin).
If you’re considering giving the keto diet a try, be sure to chat with your doctor. If you have other questions, talk to your Health Advisor. They can help you find resources and get you set up with a nutritionist. Doesn’t sound like the right fit for you? Our Health Advisors can help you eat healthily and lose weight using the Healthy Plate method.