The Ketogenic Diet (Keto), is one of the most popular diets around. This high-fat and protein diet is a popular alternative to other low-carb diets. In a nutshell, the Keto diet forces the body to burn fat rather than different types of carbohydrates by consuming foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, etc.
Keto eliminates carb-rich foods like grains, fruits, beans etc. The diet only allows for 5% of calories consumed to come from low-carb, non-starchy foods like veggies and greens. According to Northwestern Medicine, 20% of calories come from protein and 75% of calories come from oils, unprocessed nuts, butter and avocado.
There are a few pros and cons of a keto diet. If you’re thinking about switching to a Keto diet, we recommend you talk to your doctor about your options, especially if weight-loss surgery is in your near future. Some people try out Keto months before their gastric bypass or sleeve, but everyone’s journey is different.
The Pros and Cons of a Keto Diet Explained
Instant Weight Loss- People on the ketogenic diet lose weight fast! Expect to see the pounds shed right off once your body achieves Ketostasis (fat-burning over carbs). Carbohydrates cause and maintain an excess storage of fat. Replacing carbs with fat-burning foods will lead to quick results. Some people lose up to twenty pounds their first month.
Creativity- The Keto diet is flexible enough so you can always find something to eat at cafes and restaurants. However, Keto presents a wonderful opportunity to eat more at home. If you like to cook, you have the power to get creative with every meal. As long as you follow the calorie percentage breakdown we outlined above, you can eat whatever Keto-approved foods you like! We recommend mixing up your greens and meats for the sake of variety and nutritional value. Make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need and try not to be too hard on yourself if you make a mistake.
Accessibility – As mentioned, the Keto diet offers a variety of accessible foods available at restaurants and grocery stores worldwide.
No-processed foods- The healthiest way to keep with a Keto diet is to avoid processed foods like sugar/flour products or processed meats like sausage and patties. That’s why cooking on Keto is essential! Avoiding processed foods has numerous health benefits whether you commit to a Keto diet or not. Your future self will thank you.
May Reduce Seizures and Epilepsy for Pediatric Patients- Historically, the Keto diet was used to treat young children with epilepsy. Sticking to a healthy, fat-burning diet such as Keto may reduce seizures and epilepsy for young dieters. Again, always consult your doctor before committing to the Ketogenic diet.
Very Strict- Once your body achieves Ketostasis, you don’t want to sneak in a non-Keto approved food or two. Other diets allow for “cheat days,” but the Keto diet makes breaks or a change in diet difficult. People who eat sugar or carbs after achieving Ketostasis tend to complain of nausea or stomach pains afterwards. Depending on your lifestyle, following a ketogenic diet may prove difficult.
Nutrient Deficiency- When you follow a diet as strict as Keto, it can be easy to overlook otherwise necessary nutrients. You may not receive the nutrients you need like the vitamins, fiber, minerals etc. found in fruits, beans, or high-carb vegetables. This can cause digestive issues and what’s known as the “keto flu” or fogginess.
Negative Impact on Heart Health- Too much fat can have a negative impact on long-term heart health. All things in moderation is the secret to a balanced and healthy lifestyle.
Psychological Distress- Due to the strict nature of the diet, people who commit to Keto may feel depressed, anxious, etc. if they cheat or forget to eat the right the percentage of foods. Some may get tired of the foods they are encouraged to eat long-term. Many people on Keto complain of a lack of variety over time. They may also get discouraged when their weight-loss journey starts to plateau. If you commit to Keto, it’s best to ensure that your life is more or less in order and that there aren’t significant, underlying mental health issues that can derail your weight-loss goals.
Typical Ketogenic Diet Meal Plan
If you’re considering a Keto diet, we recommend you follow a strict diet plan the first few weeks to see how you feel. The following is a common Keto Diet meal plan based on the first few weeks:
|Monday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Tuna salad||Salmon entre|
|Tuesday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Hamburger no bun||Tofu & greens|
|Wednesday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Roast beef & cheddar||Keto Pizza|
|Thursday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Salmon & Broccoli||Chicken parm|
|Friday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Shrimp & artichoke||Asian Salad|
|Saturday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Coconut Porridge||Fish & Greens|
|Sunday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Cauliflower Soup||Meat pie|
|Monday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Caprese Omelet||Plain Chicken soup|
|Tuesday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Asian Beef Salad||Fritatta & Spinach|
|Wednesday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Chicken & parm salad||Keto Pizza|
|Thursday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Beef and Kale wraps||Smoked salmon|
|Friday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Beet & Cheese Salad||Lemon chicken|
|Saturday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Meat Pie||Beef & Salsa|
|Sunday||Scrambled Eggs + Coffee||Pesto Chicken Casserole||Pork & veggies|
If you’re interested in low-carb diets but don’t want to commit to Keto, then we recommend the Mediterranean or Atkins diets which give you the benefits of Keto minus the potential nutritional deficiency. Whatever you decide, it’s important to remember that success is not an isolated, incident. When it comes to weight-loss, it’s all about the journey. All you need to do is take that first step.