Who wouldn’t want to lose weight without working out? All I have to do is avoid carbs right?
If it were only so easy.
As long as advertising has existing, weight loss trends that have come and gone. Lately, the keto diet has gotten a lot of attention. One of the more popular benefits of the keto diet (as with any diet) is the allure that you can lose weight fast, effectively and without a major focus on working out. Best of all, with this diet you get to eat lots of bacon!
But is it something you should consider? Can you really just drop 10 pounds in a month without working out? Is it that easy?
The simple answer is ‘it depends’. While there are some short term health benefits that can be achieved through the keto diet, we first want to explore what this trend is, the science behind it and the possible benefits the keto diet can offer you.
Here at HouseFit, we have a team of experienced personal trainers and professional nutritionists who specialize in fitness and health, and we’ve seen lots of trends come and go. We help our clients live healthier, more active lives in a healthy manner, and we highly recommend you consult a professional before making any significant dietary changes. We’re here to answer your questions and make sure you lose weight in a healthy manner!
Science Behind the Headlines - The Keto Diet Breakdown
To say that the keto diet is simply ‘no carb and high fat’ is an oversimplification.
Firstly, you’re allowed to eat carbs on the keto diet, which is one of the more common misconceptions. However, carbs are certainly limited, but needed for fibre. Typically 30g of carbs is the daily recommended limit.
Before we go further, you should understand the basics of the keto diet. The keto diet is focused on the ratio of your ‘marco nutrients’ aka your intake of fats, carbs and proteins. On this diet, you will have to be very proactive with your food quantities and measurements. The ultimate goal is to get most of your daily calories from fats and proteins, not carbs.
What is Ketosis? Why Does it Matter?
The whole goal of the keto diet is to put your body in a metabolic state of ketosis. This occurs when your body draws energy from the ketone bodies in your blood. This is in contrast to glycolysis; the process in which glucose in the blood provides the energy.
Many of us don’t realize how dependent on sugar we are. A big part of the keto diet is getting your body used to drawing it’s energy from alternative sources than sugar. Remember that even complex carbohydrates are still sugars at the end of the day!
Get Familiar With your Keto Calculator – Get Those Macros!
This is not a ‘set it and forget it diet’. On the keto diet, it’s not about what foods to avoid, it’s about the balance of nutrients in your diet. Depending on your sex, weight, age and health, your specific dietary restrictions can change. All of these factors are also compounded by your fitness levels.
You can check out this Keto Calculator to see what it means to ‘get your macros’ and understand what your meals would look like on the keto diet.
Keto Diet vs the Paleo Diet
There are similar elements in both diets, so it’s easy to understand why you thought the Keto diet may have sounded familiar when you started reading about it. Both focus on avoiding carbs, increasing your protein and have meat centred menus. Both avoid processed food and high amounts of sugar and most of the food products you see advertised on TV - good bye fast food!
However, the keto diet is much more ‘involved’ in the sense you are trying to manipulate the macronutrient levels of fat, carbs and protein in a very calculated balance. The paleo diet is much simpler, and focuses on avoiding specific food groups all together.
Losing 10 Pounds in a Month
There are a lot of stories in the media about people easily shedding 10 pounds in a month on the keto diet. Anytime you hear about someone losing 10 or more pounds in a month, there are some important things to keep in mind surrounding the backstory.
Firstly, you have to have some excess fat to lose! 10 pounds is possible to lose through a low calorie diet. Of course people’s weight can fluctuate, but understand that losing that amount of weight in a short period of time is not necessarily a good strategy for a healthy weight loss plan. This time of year, gaining 10 pounds isn’t so hard to do, and remember you don’t have to wait until the holidays are over to get in shape.
Chances are, that calorie counting alone could account for the weight loss, or at least a huge portion of it. If someone is regularly eating 3000+ calories a day (especially a diet high in saturated fats), and they reduces their intake to a recommended 2000 calories a day, a significant weight loss could occur. This is especially true if the diet is put in place with a personal trainer.
Is There Such a Thing as the Optimal Diet?
According to this recently published article in the New York Times, there is no such thing as the ‘optimal diet’. The article looked at hundreds of sources of information from hunter gatherers to modern society and ancient civilizations; and found they all exhibited ‘excellent metabolic health while consuming a wide range of diets’.
In their research, they found that some populations got 80% of their calories from carbohydrates! These people wouldn’t do very well on the keto diet, no matter how hard they tried.
In conclusion, going on a strict calorie counting diet (like the keto diet) can certianly be beneficial. However, there is no way to avoid the simple math that weight loss occurs once you use more energy than you consume!