BY ANDREW MCDONALD
KETO, short for ketogenic, is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet which claims to get you losing weight quickly. According to keto experts, up to 90% of your daily calories should be made up of fat. At least in the short-term, as it is inadvisable to stick with keto for longer than three to six months in any period.
Like any diet, there are people who rave about it and those who are convinced that it is all hype and no substance. It’s certainly a strange idea when contrasted with traditional advice. For years, low fat diets have been the normal recommendation. Now, there are many advocating a high fat one.
It is a little more complicated than gorging on chocolate and crisps though. Whilst chocolate can be an integral part of a keto diet, it should be unsweetened, dark chocolate which contains at least 70% cocoa solids. No Dairy Milk, Galaxy or Yorkie then. That’s because the fats consumed on a keto diet are ones which are good for our bodies. Olive oil, avocado oil, nuts and seeds, yes. Battered sausage, chips and burgers, no. Deep fried Mars bars probably aren’t recommended either.
Does it work? In theory, yes. Eating very few carbohydrates supposedly results in your body losing its reliance on sugar for energy to using ketone bodies which your liver develops when it burns fat stores.
Turning your body into a fat-burning machine sounds good on paper. It’s also undoubtedly true that many people have achieved great results following keto diets. In the short term. This has fed into a business boom with books and seminars on keto diets selling well. Foods which fit with keto eating practices are also flying off the shelves. All this has fed into the hype surrounding keto.
I mentioned a critical point in the first paragraph though. Keto is not advisable in the long term, far less permanently. Any nutritionist or medic will tell you that what we need is a balanced diet. This consists of eating carbohydrates, proteins and fats. Advice suggests we aim for between 45-65% carbs, 10-35% protein and 20-35% fat. Clearly then, keto is not consistent with a balanced diet, hence why it should only be adhered to, if at all, for a relatively short timeframe.
Let’s imagine we embark on a keto diet, we lose the weight and get to our target in the three to six months it’s suggested we stick on keto. Then we start back on our old diet. Suddenly the pounds start piling on again. This is not a strange phenomenon. In fact, it’s pretty standard for almost every diet out there.
The problem is what we truly need to acknowledge is that to lose the weight healthily and to keep it off, what we must do above all is change our lifestyle. Adopting a healthy balanced diet and ensuring we exercise regularly is the surest way to reach and stay at our target weight.