Being a nutrition student, health & fitness coach and constantly preaching about health, fitness and all things wellness, I always get a shit ton of questions about low carb diets, and the ketogenic diet, is it good for you or whats the deal on that? So I am going to share my opinion on this topic, its super controversial in the nutrition world, you may have a different opinion but through researching a lot about it, I definitely do NOT agree with low carb diets or low carb/high fat diets like the ketogenic diet.
Personally I don’t agree with diets at all in the first place, healthy living, nutrition, wellness, fitness is all entertwined and all aspects should be taken into account. Diets do not work in the long-run and are not sustainable.
In case you did not know what the ketogenic diet is, heres a quick summary. So the ketogenic diet is a low carb diet, involving strict consumption of only foods high in fat and protein. When our bodies carbohydrate source is depleted/limited, our bodies go into full-blown survival mode and generates a mechanism called ketosis. Ketosis is when our bodies have to break down stored fat into ketone bodies for energy instead of glucose (carbs). Sooo basically when we burn stored fat instead of carbs in the form of sugar, the results is quick weight loss which explains why this diet has been so popular.
Heres why I disagree with the low-carb/keto diet fad:
- Carbohydrates is the body AND minds primary energy/fuel source, so when you are taking that out, important tissues and cells in your brain and body struggle to adapt to the ketones. Our bodies and minds prefer glucose for energy and rely on breaking down carbs to generate it.
- Eliminating carbs = eliminates fibre and other essential nutrients to be healthy and happy. Consuming a well-balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains will allow you to lose weight as well but in a healthy, sustainable way that wont leave you feeling fatigued, tired, grumpy plus it will keep your blood sugars balanced, and stable.
- Mental/physical health – regularly consuming nutrient rich carbohydrates to properly regulate and balance our cortisol, thyroid and testosterone levels, help lower stress, increase your metabolism and helps you build muscle. Carbohydrates are also responsible for producing serotonin levels which promote better sleep, enhanced mood, motivation and cognitive function. A ketogenic diet without consumption of adequate carbs will leave you fatigued and your metabolism and mood will suffer. Many people who have tried cutting out carbs tend to feel super depleted and tired causing them to binge eat, and results in them gaining all their weight back in more because its NOT sustainable.
- I absolutely disagree with the ketogenic diet for this reason. It requires to eat mostly high fat foods, so people are basically allowed to eat more red meats, unhealthy foods loaded with processed fats, sodium and sugars. You dont have to eat healthy fats, you can basically eat whatever fat source you want, as long as carbs is restricted. This is definitely not a healthy way to eat. Higher consumption of all of these fatty foods will increase your risk for health problems like heart disease, atherosclerosis, osteoporosis, and pancreatic cancer.
As my career as a health coach, we preach a well-rounded, balanced meal plan that consists of all food groups with proper portion sizes and no restrictions, counting calories, etc. In my opinion, ketogenic/low-carb diets is just another short-term, non-sustainable diet that leaves people frustrated, disappointed, and emphasizes a poor relationship with your body and with food.
Wishing you the best in Health & Wellness,