Is the Keto Diet Right for You?

Finding a diet that works for you can be tricky. We've all heard of diets that coworkers, friends, or family members swear by only to not experience the same results.

Right now, the ketogenic diet - or keto diet for short - is trendy and you’ve likely heard others talking about how much weight they’ve lost while trying it. But is it right for you?

The toughest part about strict diets is they often leave you feeling hungry. If you’re constantly counting calories or resisting cravings, it can be easy to eventually give in.

The appeal of the keto diet is that you don’t have to count calories or go hungry in order to lose some weight and keep it off.

So, What is the Keto Diet?

While consuming fewer calories is a great way to guarantee weight loss, it also means you're going to be a lot hungrier on a daily basis. In order to avoid this common diet pitfall, the keto diet requires a significant amount of fat.

It might sound counterintuitive, but fat is very satiating. A diet that is high in fat will keep you feeling fuller for a longer period of time. 

Specifically, the keto diet requires you to get about 80% of your calories from fat, 15% from protein, and 5% from carbohydrates. This means that your total carb intake should only be between 15-40g net carbs per day (total carbs minus fiber). Low-carb diets are fairly common, but they are usually much higher in protein instead of fat. 

Since carbs are the body’s preferred fuel source, the keto diet forces your body to switch to a different fuel source. If your diet contains a lot of carbohydrates, your body uses the sugar they contain as your primary fuel source. In ketosis, the body switches to utilizing fat stores in our bodies for energy and instead of producing glucose, it produces ketone bodies, which are a type of fuel that comes from stored fat.

Inducing ketosis forces your body to burn fat for energy, which is a great way to lose weight. Additionally, those practicing the keto diet often feel more alert and have more energy. 

This is because the fat stored in your body contains quite a lot of energy. When you induce ketosis and begin burning fat, you finally tap into these energy reserves so you don't feel lethargic in between meals.

However, it should be noted that you can't immediately induce ketosis. Once you start the diet, the transition process can take a few days. You may feel groggy, tired, and even grumpy as your body transitions to a fat-based energy source.

What Can You Eat?

The high-fat requirement of the keto diet means you should eat fat with every meal. Your first step has to be cutting high-carb foods from your diet. Bread, rice, pasta, sweets, and grains are all high in carbohydrates, so you should minimize those foods. The keto diet does allow some carbs, but not many at all.

Keep an eye out for surprising sources of carbohydrates to avoid. Fruits, dairy, and condiments all contain more than you might realize.

In order to increase your fat intake, you should focus on both unsaturated and saturated fats. Some healthy unsaturated fats are encouraged, like nuts, avocados, tofu, seeds, and olive oil. But high amounts of saturated fats are encouraged, like butter, lard, oils (coconut or palm), and cocoa butter.

As for protein, the standard keto diet allows both lean proteins and high-fat protein sources like beef, pork, fish, and eggs. 

The vegan keto diet would include a wide variety of nuts and seeds, such as walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashews, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds, as well as protein sources from tofu and tempeh. 

Whether you follow the standard or vegan keto diet, the most important thing to note is to get enough vegetables and fiber. Focus on getting plenty of dark leafy greens, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, bell peppers and celery. For fruits, focus on blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, avocados, and lemons for dressing. 

Are There Drawbacks or Risks?

The keto diet is a great way to shed weight, but it doesn't come without some drawbacks. Here are a few things to be aware of before embarking on a keto journey:

  • Saturated Fats: The keto diet specifically calls for a lot of saturated fats, which could be problematic. High amounts of saturated fats have been linked to diabetes and heart disease. The keto diet is also connected to an increase in LDL cholesterol, which is also linked to heart disease. Proponents of the diet insist that this is only true if you consume high-fat and high-carb foods.
  • Nutrient Deficiency: Vegetables, fruits, and grains are necessary for a nutritious diet. The keto diet limits the consumption of some vegetables and fruits, which could put you at risk for nutrient deficiency. In particular, these deficiencies include micronutrients like magnesium, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B, and vitamin C.
  • Kidney Problems: Your kidneys are tasked with metabolizing protein. Depending on how much protein you consume while on the keto diet, you may overwork them.
  • Liver Issues: A keto diet means your body will have a ton of fat to metabolize. If you have any existing liver conditions, the diet could make things worse.
  • Confusion and Irritability: Your brain requires sugar to function, which typically comes from healthy carbohydrates. Since the keto diet cuts your intake of carbs so severely, it could lead to muddled thinking and even mood swings.
  • Constipation: Any time you change your diet, this could be of concern. If you're following a strict keto diet, you're probably not getting enough fiber. This could be problematic for your digestive system and constipation could be the result.

Making It Work for You

Some of the drawbacks of the keto diet could be concerning, but there’s no way of knowing what you might experience. If you have any concerns, make sure to speak to your doctor before starting your keto journey.

However, there are a few things you can do to ensure things go smoothly while you’re trying the keto diet. 

Since most followers of the keto diet don’t get enough fiber, consider adding a keto-friendly fiber, such as Pineapple Chia Cleanse. It contains all the fiber you're missing out on thanks to the keto diet. Activated sprouts and seeds assist with digestion, bloating and constipation with 5 grams of fiber and 1 net gram of carbs. Use it as a daily mini-cleanse to gently remove waste and eliminate toxins from your body.

If you aren’t getting enough vegetables on the keto diet, there’s an easy way to ensure you get the nutrients you need: Organic Pressed Greens from Smart Pressed Juice. 

Our greens are perfect for anyone who struggles to get enough vegetables, and that's definitely a concern for anyone on the keto diet. Each serving contains over 20 delicious superfoods and ingredients to ensure you're living your best life while on the keto diet.

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