Keto Diet Review
As a Certified Bulletproof Coach, I get a lot of people asking for a Keto Diet review… What is it? Does it help with weight loss? What are the benefits? Is it sustainable? We will explore all of these questions.
Ketogenic Diet (AKA Keto Diet) Defined
Ketogenic Diet: A high fat, low carbohydrate, & moderate protein diet that supports burning fat instead of carbohydrates
There are 3 different kinds of Keto Diets:
- Standard Ketogenic Diet: Consists of 30-50 grams of carbs per day… typically green leafy vegetables are the only source of carbs
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet: Consists of carb intake based on physical training times… For example, eating 25-50 grams of carbs 20-30 minutes before exercise
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: Consists of 30-50 grams of carbs per day with 1-2 carb re-feed days per week
The History of the Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic Diet was invented in the 1920s & 30s as a way to help epilepsy patients. Fasting was a dietary method used in the early days of epilepsy treatment, but in 1921, Rollin Woodyatt (endocrinology researcher) found that the Ketogenic Diet created a similar chemical environment to fasting. People with neurodegenerative disorders (for example, Alzheimer’s) & traumatic brain injuries also started using the diet to mimic the benefits of fasting.
In the 1980s and 90s, many bodybuilders used the diet for a different reason: to burn fat & look ripped.
Today, many people shun the diet completely due to our society’s fear of dietary fat. However, dietary fat is slowly making a comeback in major publications like Time Magazine. Even the USDA has been rethinking cholesterol & fat.
Many doctors, nutrition scientists, and health leaders endorse a high fat, low carb diet: Dr. Mark Hyman, Dr. David Perlmutter, Dr. Josh Axe, Ben Greenfield, Dominic D’Agostino, Dave Asprey, Mark Sission, and Jimmy Moore.
Why does the Ketogenic Diet limit carbs?
Reason #1: To promote Ketosis
Just like prolonged fasting, a Ketogenic Diet causes your liver to create ketones, which are used for fuel by your muscles, organs, and brain. When your body produces ketones, you shift from burning carbs and sugar to burning fat.
Excess carbohydrates are stored as fat. Excess ketones are not stored as fat. They are excreted through urine.
In a state of ketosis, many people experience heightened mental clarity, fat loss, and freedom from cravings/binge eating.
Reason #2: To lower insulin levels
Insulin plays a role in making new fat cells. A high carbohydrate diet raises insulin. By reducing insulin levels through a Ketogenic Diet, you can reduce fat accumulation.
What are the benefits of a Ketogenic Diet?
It depends! Everybody will respond differently. Common benefits…
- Weight loss
- A larger proportion of visceral fat lost (“bad fat” in the abdominal cavity around the organs)
- Lower triglycerides
- Increase in GOOD cholesterol (HDL)
- Reduce insulin and blood sugar (Many people with Type 2 diabetes have used a Ketogenic Diet to help their condition.)
- Lower blood pressure
- Decrease in sugar cravings
What are the side effects of a Ketogenic Diet?
Following a strict Ketogenic Diet long-term may cause…
- Constipation: the digestive system may need time to adapt
- Fatigue: typically caused by salt deficiency or dehydration from increased urine production (peeing out all those excess ketones & electrolytes)
There are many other side effects that may occur from a long-term Ketogenic Diet. Learn more by checking out these articles: article 1, article 2, article 3. To prevent some of these side effects, check out this resource.
What do you eat on a Ketogenic Diet?
Below, I’m listing some examples of healthy Ketogenic Diet foods. Sure, you could eat tons of nitrate-filled bacon or hydrogenated oils & still be in ketosis, but that is NOT recommended.
Foods high in fat:
- Egg yolks
- Grass-fed Ghee/Clarified butter
- Grass-fed butter
- Coconut oil, MTC oil, Brain Octane Oil
- Nutpods Coffee Creamer
- Nuts/Nut butters like macademia nuts
- Olive oil
Vegetables low in carbs:
- Leafy greens
- Broccoli, Cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, cabbage
- Grass-fed meat
- Fatty fish like salmon and mackerel
- Bone broth
What are the common mistakes people make on a Ketogenic Diet?
- Fearing fat: You must greatly increase fat intake on a Ketogenic Diet. If you don’t, it will be very hard to sustain.
- Eating too much protein: Excess protein is converted into glucose, preventing ketosis.
- Choosing unhealthy fat: Hydrogenated oils (canola, soybean, peanut, safflower oils), processed lunch meats, and factory-farmed meat are not optimal options, especially in high doses.
- Not supplementing: It’s important to keep your electrolytes balanced on a Ketogenic Diet. Use some Himalayan sea salt in your cooking. Supplement with Potassium, and Magnesium.
- Not tracking your carb intake: You may be surprised how many grams of carbs are in some of the foods you eat. If you’re a beginner, track your carb intake on an app to see if you’re staying within the ketogenic range.
Who should NOT follow the Ketogenic Diet?
Before starting any diet, speak with your doctor. The Ketogenic Diet may not be a good option for people with…
- Kidney stones & conditions
- A removed gallbladder or gallbladder disease
- Bariatric surgery
- Abnormal fat metabolism
It also may not be a good idea for…
- Teens & children
- Highly active athletes
- Pregnant or breastfeeding mothers
My Personal Keto Diet Review
I followed the standard Ketogenic Diet (50 grams of carbs per day) to put it to the test, I experienced good and bad results.
- Decrease in belly bloat
- Extreme focus/brain clarity
- No desire for sweets/junk food (very satiated)
- Dry eyes
- Menstrual irregularities
- Sleep problems
- Socially isolating
Please note, I only lasted about 2 months in pursuing my “Keto Diet Review” experiment… In my opinion, it’s challenging to enjoyably sustain. I find that I’m better off having keto days, just not consecutively for months on end.
Instead, I am VERY HAPPY on a low carbohydrate diet that includes cyclical ketosis. I typically eat 70-150 grams of carbohydrates per day & use intermittent fasting and brain octane oil to occasionally go into ketosis.
I find that eating a low carb, high fat diet (NOT strict ketogenic) is more socially sustainable. It also allows me to get enough fiber in my diet (25 grams at least), enjoy a little fruit, and get great sleep. All of the negative side effects that I experienced from the Ketogenic Diet went away when I shifted to a low carbohydrate diet (similar to the Bulletproof Diet)… AND I still benefit from all of the the positive effects I experienced on a Ketogenic Diet. It’s a win-win.
Keto Diet Review: Does it Work?
The Ketogenic Diet has proven that eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, a study by the Annals of Internal Medicine showed that a low carbohydrate diet caused more weight loss than a low fat diet, EVEN when the low carb group was eating 300 MORE calories than the low fat group.
No diet is right for everyone. The key is to find the right amount of carbohydrates for you. If you’re young, very active, or a woman, you may need more carbs. If you’re very sedentary, struggle with sugar addiction, or have brain fog, this diet may be helpful. Go beyond my basic Keto Diet Review by reading some of these scholarly articles.
Happy experimenting! If you have any questions, please comment below… I love chatting with y’all!