Lifestyle

What Is the Keto Diet: A Complete Review

You know by now how big I am on the importance of good nutrition. Eating right is such a huge part of being healthy and reaching your fitness goals!

At the end of the day, good nutrition basically comes down to balance.

As long as you hit your macro goals, get enough of the right vitamins and minerals, and avoid the wrong types of fats and carbs, you’re on the right track.

There’s not one single way to achieve good nutrition, though. You can eat right by following a number of different nutritional methods.

One method that’s become super popular recently is the ketogenic diet, although you’ve probably heard it referred to simply as keto.

What is the keto diet? Is the keto diet good for weight loss? Should you try the keto diet?

If you’re looking for the answer to any of these questions, you’re in luck! This is my keto review, and by the end of this blog, you’ll have all your questions answered.

Keto Diet Macros

An infographic showing keto macros by percent

The keto diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low-carb diet. It’s based on manipulating your macros in order to promote greater fat loss.

And when I say low-carb, I mean very low carb.

The keto macros breakdown by percent is about 70-75% fat, 20-25% protein and only about 5% carbs.

The reason for the name ketogenic is that when you significantly limit your carb intake like this, your body enters a state called ketosis.

When there aren’t any carbs available to burn for fuel, your body really has no choice but to turn to fat.

Essentially, ketosis is what happens when your body has shifted away from using carbs as a primary energy source and begins to use fat instead.

The keto diet is all about cutting off your carbohydrate supply to induce this fat burning state.

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Who Can Do Keto

The keto diet actually had its start in the world of medicine. Initially, it was used clinically as a way to try and help decrease symptoms of epilepsy in children.

Some health professionals have even started experimenting with it for those with other health conditions, like diabetes and even cancer to see if any solid benefits can be identified.

But most commonly, the keto diet is used for weight loss by people looking to shed some fat.

Keto Diet Results

Woman doing sit-ups in some sort of gym

 

Keto Diet for Weight loss

The #1 keto diet result most people are hoping to experience is weight loss.

The ketogenic diet has been shown to be an effective method for weight loss when overall caloric intake is appropriate.

However, some of the initial weight you lose may not be from fat. In fact, one study found the percentage of weight lost on a 10-day low-calorie keto protocol was primarily water weight.

These same results haven’t been observed on longer keto protocols, which suggests that super short-term “crash” keto diets might not be effective for burning fat.

Keto Diet Supports a Good Mood

Let’s face it. When you’re restricting calories, it’s hard not to get cranky!

When you’re depriving yourself of treats and goodies, sometimes all you want to do is throw your hands up and scream (but not before eating all the cookies in the house ?).

Well, a high-fat low-carb diet may be able to help fight that feeling.

In one study, over 100 people were put on a calorie-restricted diet for a year. Half of them followed a low-carb, high-fat diet, and half of them adhered to a high-carb low-fat diet.

Researchers found that those on the high-fat diet generally had a better mood! They also experienced fewer incidences of anger, confusion, and depression.

Enjoyability factor

One of the main reasons keto is so popular is that, for some people, it’s easier to stick to than anything else they’ve tried.

Keto goes against what we’ve always been told, which is that fat is bad, and it lets people eat things they actually enjoy.

Again, keto doesn’t allow you to eat whatever you want (still no french fries-sorry!). Your total daily calories also have to be within the correct range for your goals.

But many foods that healthy eaters would traditionally try to avoid, like bacon, steak, butter, etc. are all allowed on the keto diet, which a lot of people love!

Keto Side-effects

A bowl of olive oil with some nice plump green olives

Not all the keto diet results are good. Although they don’t happen to everyone, and they’re usually short-lived, keto does have some side-effects. These are a few of the most common.

Keto Flu

This is usually the first side-effect to set in when you switch to a high-fat low-carb diet.

Once your body realizes that carbs are gone, it goes into mini withdrawals. When this happens, you experience flu-like symptoms that can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.

Some people might not even go through this, while for others it can become somewhat severe.

Many have success treating the keto flu by eating more calories, drinking more water, or exercising more. While these may help a bit, you’ll likely have to just wait it out.

Keto Diet Causes Fatigue

Many people report feeling lethargic for a little while after starting the keto diet.

Since our bodies are accustomed to using carbs as energy for the most part, it’s normal to experience fatigue when they’re removed.  

This usually goes away once your body has successfully begun to rely on fat as a fuel source, but be advised that you will likely experience a period of low energy.

Carbohydrate Intolerance

A lot of people don’t hear about this little detail before they start. But after several months or more without carbs, your body can “forget” how to use them and will become somewhat intolerant.

This can cause issues like digestive troubles, intestinal discomfort, and weight gain when you reintroduce carbs back into your life.

If you integrate them slowly and strategically back into your diet you should be able to lessen these effects. Once your body re-adjusts to carbs in your diet again, they ought to go away completely.

But the development of carb intolerance is one reason most professionals suggest that you cycle the keto diet.

Should You do Keto?

A nicely sliced avocado

Many people have had success using the keto diet for weight loss. However, you should be aware of what you’re getting into before you start.

First of all, you should know what the potential keto diet results might be. I’ve gone over some of the most common side-effects, but be aware that every body is different and there may be others that are unexpected.

It’s also important to fully research what foods you can and can’t eat with keto. A lot of people hear “high fat” and they get excited to rush into keto, only to find that french fries, donuts, and junk food aren’t part of the plan (If only!).

While these treats are high-fat, most high-fat treats are also high in carbs, and thus they don’t fit with keto. Also, deep-fried foods should be avoided no matter what diet or eating strategy you adhere to.  

Foods that do fit in with the keto diet include meat and poultry, seafood (especially high-fat fish like salmon), eggs, low-carb veggies, avocados, and healthy oils, just to name a few.

If you’ve done your research and are aware of what you’re getting into, and keto still sounds like something you’re interested in, then give it a go!  

Conclusion

A plate of sliced meat, asparagus, and cherry tomatoes

Whatever way you choose to eat, make sure that it’s long-term sustainable for you. “Dieting” is not effective because it’s not a long-term solution.

Keto is generally meant to be cycled, and not recommended as a continuous, permanent lifestyle. But it shouldn’t be used or viewed as a crash diet either.

Most fad diets involve a ridiculously low caloric intake and are meant to be picked up for a month or two and then dropped. While they sometimes result in weight loss, it’s usually regained later.

Your task is to find a style of eating that is healthy, helps you meet your macro goals, and that you enjoy enough to stick to indefinitely.

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When it comes to getting results, your recovery is just as important as your workout. Available in several delicious flavors, IdealLean Protein is super low carb, only 90-100 calories & packed with 20g of high-quality whey protein isolate, so you can take your fitness results to the next level.

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Lindsey Mathews

Lindsey Mathews

Head Trainer & Nutritionist

Lindsey Mathews is the Head Trainer and Nutritionist at IdealFit. She is a NSCA-CSCS certified personal trainer, C-ISSN certified sports nutritionist, Pn. 1 certified nutrition coach, and a nationally qualified NPC bikini competitor. Before joining IdealFit, she ran the largest boot camp program in Utah County.


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