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Keto Diet Review
Let's talk a walk down keto lane so to speak and do a deep dive with a fun keto diet review! I've written about many topics before, but I'm going to overlap a bit in this review.
The keto diet, also known as the latest fad diet (which it is NOT), is really taking over. I mean, most people have at least heard of the keto diet which is crazy.
It has come to be this thing that people either love or hate. With a passion.
Let's just get down to it!
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic (keto) diet is a lifestyle that involves eating high fat, moderate protein and very low carbs. Definitely the opposite of what we’ve all been taught, right?
One must calculate their macros based on their individual boy and needs, but in general, the macros fall somewhere in line with 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% fat.
Hopefully you know by now that healthy fats are not the enemy, but if you don’t, then definitely stay with me here.
Sugar and processed foods are what you should be more concerned with.
The goal of keto, traditionally, is to reach a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is when your body burns fat and uses ketones (the byproduct of that process) for fuel, instead of glucose.
Ketosis isn’t always a walk in the park in the beginning either. It is often accompanied by the keto flu for starters. But that can be mitigated mostly.
RELATED – Different Types of Keto
The origins of the keto diet
If you weren’t already aware, the keto diet was developed in 1920 as a treatment for epilepsy. The intent was to “mimic the metabolism of fasting” which had been used to treat epilepsy long before keto .
Simple as that. It was not a weight loss diet or for any other purpose.
Weight loss and the keto diet
So why do you lose weight on the keto diet?
Well, the scientific explanation is pretty simple and I’m going to simplify it even more.
- Fat is more satiating than carbs or protein and keeps you fuller for longer. So you end up eating less (but be careful because is also high in calories itself)
- Your body is burning your own fat for fuel
- If you are eating strict keto and doing Intermittent Fasting, your body is HEALING.
And, of course, calories matter as well. If your calories are not in a deficit, you will not lose weight - keto or not!
What about the keto diet and cholesterol?
This is a good topic. I think the concern with high cholesterol is heart issues/disease, right?
So let's talk about that!
Back in the day, there was a battle between sugar and fat and sugar “won”. I use that term loosely, by the way. It was “shown” that saturated fats contributed to heart disease.
The government told Americans that they should decrease saturated fats in their diets. So, what happened? We listened! We decreased fats and replaced them with trans fats (oops – we all know what a tragic mistake this was) and crap carbs.
The result? A huge rise in obesity, Type 2 Diabetes and heart disease.
Hmmm….. According to a 2010 study,
“… studies showed that there is no significant evidence for concluding that dietary saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of CHD or CVD”
(CHD -> Coronary Heart Disease, CVD -> Cardiovascular Disease). 
Now, there was another study shows that the keto diet lowered triglyceride levels and LDL cholesterol (the “bad” kind) and increased HDL cholesterol (the “good” kind). 
I think the issue here is that people think keto is this bacon and butter carnivore diet of gluttony. That is far from accurate. Are there people who do that? Sure. But they are not the norm.
Check out what my cholesterol was in A Real Look at Cholesterol. You might be surprised!
Is the keto diet safe?
Now that same study we just talked about concluded that the keto diet is safe for longer periods of time than previously thought. 
But as I said, there haven’t been TOO many long term studies done yet.
I think the thing to keep in mind here is what TYPE of keto you are doing also matters.
Are you eating your vegetables? Or are you using the excuse that they are too high in carbs?
What about getting your fat from a variety of sources or are you stuffing bacon down your throat at record speed?
Are you working out (if you can) while eating keto?
Lifestyle is an important distinction here. Even the healthiest diet can be unhealthy if not utilized properly.
Is the keto diet lifelong?
Yes, it definitely can be.
I will say, though, that there isn't much in terms of long term studies of keto either way but I can give you what I personally think.
Will I stay in ketosis for the rest of my life? Absolutely not. Do I think it I necessary? Nope.
You can still follow the keto diet and not be in ketosis 24/7.
I firmly believe in cyclical keto. This basically means eating keto for 5-6 days for example and then having 1-2 higher carb days.
It is a common thought that the body can become resistant to ketosis , which I know sounds weird. But your insulin levels can drop to the point that the body creates glucose to supply the brain with what it needs. So, you introduce more carbs via cyclical keto, raise insulin levels just a bit and shut down the production of glucose.
What I find the best is to do regular keto and then switch to paleo for my carb up days and throw in sweet potatoes, carrots and things like that.
RELATED Benefits of a carb up meal
RELATED My favorite healthy carb up meal
Keto Vs Paleo
I love Paleo eating, just as much as keto. I was eating Paleo for years when I transitioned to keto.
Paleo is a way of eating that goes back to our ancestral days. It involves eating whole unprocessed foods that are non GMO and organic when possible.
The acceptable foods are meat, poultry, seafood, vegetables, nuts, and minimal fruits. Unacceptable foods are grains, dairy, legumes, soy, and anything processed or with added sugar.
The idea is to mimic as closely as possible to what we used to eat before the agricultural age and processed foods.
Paleo, by default, is lower carb usually (but not always), but not as low carb as keto.
Keto and Paleo Similarities
Paleo and Keto have the following similarities:
- Both Paleo and Keto remove sugar. Sugar is one of the most pervasive and destructive substances around.
- They are both low carb.
- They both focus on healthy fats, protein & vegetables.
- Fruit is minimized, but not removed.
Keto and Paleo Differences
The biggest differences between Paleo and Keto are as follows:
- Keto is much lower in carb intake and results in ketosis. Paleo is often lower carb but not low enough to get into ketosis
- Keto is higher fat in general than Paleo
- Paleo removes processed foods whereas Keto simply discourages certain ingredients, but there are keto “approved” processed foods.
- Keto allows dairy
Keto Vs. Low Carb
There really is no definition of what low carb means. There is a generally accepted thought that it means under 100g of carbs per day.
Often people will transition to Paleo or Low carb when they are in maintenance mode. Or do what I do and use my higher carb days to eat low carb paleo.
Keto and Low Carb Similarities
- Well, both are lower in carbs, that's pretty much it.
Keto and Low Carb Difference
- Low carb generally doesn't result in ketosis
- Low carb is not specific to ingredients where strict keto is (dirty keto is not)
Negative Reviews of the keto diet
Where do I start?
Let’s see there is the thought that keto leads to higher cholesterol, it is not long term because people can deprive themselves (gee, thanks for basically dumbing down people’s ability to better themselves), you lose muscle, you’ll gain all the weight back when you stop. Blah, blah, blah.
We already talked a bit about cholesterol. In an interview, Cardiologist Dr. Petre was quoted as saying
“it's our over consumption of sugar, not fat, that has led to an alarming increase of obesity and heart disease in Americans, especially after the low-fat diet craze of the 1980s and '90s. Since the keto diet is so low in carbs, sugar is virtually off the table, which can be a good thing overall.“
AND she also said
"Like with any diet, there is a right and wrong way of doing it ... The key here is to limit the saturated fats at 10 percent of [your] daily caloric intake with the rest of the fats originating from healthy fat sources including fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil, etc."
Lastly, she said
"Overall, there are seven major risk factors for heart disease: sedentary lifestyle, high cholesterol, high glucose, obesity, diet, smoking, and high blood pressure," Dr. Petre said. "Losing weight with a ketogenic diet can improve at least five of them and reduce one's risk of a heart attack by at least 50 percent — I'm sold!"
THAT was from a cardiologist.
Now, let’s talk about deprivation and gaining weight back.
So what are keto folks depriving themselves of? Sugar? Gluten? Processed Foods? Good. We should eradicate those from our diets anyway. Thankfully keto does that for us.
Look, we either eat to live or live to eat. If I can’t have a gluten cake. Great. I shouldn’t have it anyway.
I want to be healthy and live. And unfortunately, with how many of us are raised, that means a complete reprogramming of what should go into our mouths for food.
Do people who go on diets, lose weight, stop the diet and go back to their old ways gain weight? You bet. Why should keto get singled out for that oh so ordinary fact?
Positive aspects of the keto diet
Well, we just heard about what the cardiologist had to say, so there’s that!
According to Healthline (and as I’ve said before, I love using them because they link all their scientific articles and it saves me time of hunting them all down myself), following are benefits of the keto diet :
- Low carb diets reduce appetite
- Abdominal fat loss
- Lower levels of triglycerides
- Increased HDL
- Reduced blood sugars and insulin levels
- Might lower blood pressure
- Can be effective against metabolic syndrome.
- Effective for some brain disorders
And let’s not forget weight loss and more energy!
My personal experience with the keto diet
If you’ve been around for awhile, you probably know that I was misdiagnosed as prediabetic in 2017 and later properly diagnosed with adult onset Type 1 Diabetes in 2018.
I have been eating the ketogenic diet since 2017.
I do weekly cyclical keto and have done that for the last year. However, I was strict keto for the first 6 months or so.
I have more energy, my blood sugars are stable and my insulin requirements are pretty minimal. I only need fast acting insulin on my higher carb days.
That may change as my body continues producing less insulin, but for now, it still produces *some*.
It has been a life changer for me.
How to start the keto diet
I have 7 steps that I recommend to people who want to start the keto diet.
Step 1: Get in the right mindset.
Getting in the right mindset is the most important step that cannot be skipped.
First and foremost, determine your WHY. Why did you choose this lifestyle? Was it due to health reasons? Do you have weight you want to lose? How did you feel prior to making the decision?
Think about all these things and formally construct your WHY. Write it out. Feel it.
This is what will carry you through the cravings, desires to quit and chances of resorting back to prior habits. Let your WHY blaze your trail.
Step 2: Prepare your family and find your support.
This is going to be a big change. Prepare your family, minimally your spouse and kids (if you have them). Explain why you are doing what you are doing and have a mini education session.
Find support in online forums such as Facebook groups or other support groups. Join MY Facebook group!
Surrounding yourself with as much support and accountability as you can will help you succeed especially in those weak moments.
Step 3: Clean out the pantry. If you live alone, get rid of everything that is not keto or that will tempt you. There is no point in keeping those foods around. Donate them if you can.
If you have other members of your household that will be eating foods that you no longer can, and especially if those foods are ones that you are going to want to eat, then partition your pantry and fridge.
This is what I do. There are 7 members of my house. Only my husband and I are keto. All our food is gluten-free for starters.
Then we have a shelf in the pantry for “kid stuff” like granola bars. That is the “mom don’t touch” shelf.
The same is true for the fridge. It may sound silly but just the act of physically making a space that you know you are not to choose food from will help you in those moments when you might be hungry and just want to grab something quick without thinking.
Lastly, make sure you stock your pantry with keto approved foods. See my resource vault!
Step 4: Plan your meals.
Failure is often the result of a simple lack of planning. We do not want that to lead to bad food choices.
Plan your meals a week at a time and shop 2-3 times per week if you can. You don’t have to cook every day either.
If you make extra dinner, then you can have leftovers for lunch the next day. This is how I find the most success since lunch is always a wildcard for me.
Step 5: Meal prep!
This will save you lots of time and stress. Batch cook your meals and freeze leftovers that won’t be eaten in a few days.
Make snacks ahead of time.
If you eat meat, make a big batch of bacon twice a week.
If you want buns, make a big batch of keto buns.
Make snack packs.
Know what your meals are going to be like. Last minute cooking always falls short of a planned meal.
Step 6: Get in tune with your body.
Part of this process will heighten your senses to your own body which is fantastic. Your body will tell you when it is in ketosis.
Rather than just eating at standard times of the day, your body will tell you when it is hungry. It will also tell you when it is full or simply wants to skip a meal.
Listen to it.
Don’t worry about what you think you should be doing but do what your body instinctively tells you it wants to be doing (unless of course it is to eat a sugar filled donut, but that is the addiction speaking, not your body).
Step 7: Relax and give yourself grace.
You are beautiful. You are perfect. You are human.
The Keto Diet Review Conclusion
To wrap this up… (Too late? I hope not!) the keto diet can be incredibly healthy and provide a ton of health benefits if done properly.
Cyclical keto with lots of veggies and clean fats is the way to go for long term success.
Be smart. Eat smart. Live long!
Trina Krug is a Holistic Nutritionist, Integrative Health Coach and host of the Carbless Conversations Podcast. With a Master’s Degree in Complementary and Alternative Medicine, her single mission in life is to facilitate self-healing in herself and those around her through awareness, lifestyle shifts and low-carb eating. As a current Doctor of Science student, she continues her studies in functional nutrition.