So you’ve finally submitted to the legends of lightning-fast weight loss and surf-board abs and decided that its time to try the Keto Diet. Well in this post I will be discussing the pros and cons and telling you about my own experience with the diet as well as giving you my personal favourite keto recipes.
What is the Keto Diet?
Developed in the 1920’s as a treatment for severe epilepsy, the diet Ketogenic Diet, or Keto Diet, is one of the most prominent topics of discussion concerning sports nutrition and physical wellbeing in the past 20 years, it seems I’m unable to watch a fitness-related video on youtube nowadays without being bombarded by suggestions for videos telling me how the keto diet is going to change my life and make fat loss easier than ever.
The meat and (lack of potatoes) of the diet prescribes that the follower drastically reduce their carbohydrate intake, typically to 50g a day or less (less than that found in 1 banana), to cause the body to enter a state of ketosis in which fats are utilized as the primary source of energy.
Most convincing arguments for the diet present the idea from that of an evolutionary standpoint. They suggest the human body has adapted to run best when using fats are its main energy source and that the huge quantity of carbs we find ourselves consuming is a relatively contemporary development in human nutritional habits.
A series of studies including a meta-analysis that examined 13 investigations comparing the Keto diet to a ‘normal’ reduced fat, higher carb diet discovered significant results in 5 studies suggesting the keto diet presented these pros 123:
- Up to 3x greater weight loss
- Reduced Insulin Sensitivity and Hunger
- Higher levels of HDL Cholesterol, associated with reduced chance of heart disease.
- Reduced Blood Pressure
- Improved cognitive performance
- Can be hard to stick to
- Increased levels of LDL, associated with increased risk of heart disease
- Required supplementation of vitamins and minerals absent due to lack of vegetables and fruit in the diet.
- A chronic lack of pizza.
I was motivated to try the Keto diet not so much because I wanted to lose weight, or because the scientific evidence was overwhelmingly suggestive that it was superior to conventional higher carb-fat ratio diets (in fact the literature is very controversial on the subject matter); I had seen interviews and read posts from athletes such as David Goggins (probably the most intense human being on the planet, seriously look him up for some hardcore motivation) and an ultramarathon runner called Zach Bitter who holds the world record for the fastest 100-mile run at 11 hours 40 minutes and 55 seconds.
My thinking was if athletes of this calibre love the diet so much then there must be something to it! What followed was two of the strangest weeks of my life, it is truly difficult to appreciate just how much of your diet comes from carbs until you cut them out.
I was severely struggling with my energy levels, workouts were hard, motivation was low and my emotions regarding dominos were similar to that of how I imagine a weepy teenager feels after being dumped on prom night.
Needless to say, I did not feel the diet was for me… Now in all fairness, at this point it is possible i had not even reached a Ketogenic state, and with this In mind it is likely I will return to the diet again and try wade through the fields of agony in hope of reaching the promised land.
The experience was not all bad though, it led me to do some thorough research and learn about some really cool athletes who have made great success with keto and found it to be much more than a weight-loss diet.
If you are interested in hearing the opinion of two respected nutritional experts on the subject and can spare a couple of hours across a few days I recommend watching this video.
The Keto diet has proven to be a great weight-loss diet as well as a tool for improving many markers of general health, finding its home at the hand of many successful athletes.
Whilst the literature states that many of the benefits a Ketogenic diet provides can be found when adhering to a reduction in calories through conventional diets, if you are looking at this post it is more than likely that you struggle to adhere to exactly those diets.
For this reason, I would suggest you conduct your own experiment and find out just how the diet works for you because with all diets, they are extremely individualistic and what is important above all else is that you can stick to it long term.
With this in mind, allow me to share with you some of my favorite recipes from my (brief) time on the diet.
MY FAVOURITE KETO RECIPES
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