Top 6 Keto Myths

Let’s dive into the current Top 6 Keto Myths that I see EVERY DAY!  Sort through the misinformation that plagues the keto diet and lifestyle so that you can pave the way for a successful keto journey.

 

 

 

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Top 6 Current Keto Myths

 

Top 6 Keto Myths

Let’s talk about the top 6 Keto Myths that I see over and over again. Why am I doing an article on this? Because when people join a polar “thing” they suddenly become the expert and start fighting tooth and nail for it regardless if they are WRONG.

I normally don’t get involved in stupid internet fights about which diet is better, whether keto is bad, why it is good, what will happen to your cholesterol, blah, blah. 

I give my opinions in my Facebook Group, on my podcast, in blog posts and when asked.  BUT I normally stay out of the dumb back and forth stuff.

I hit my limit this week and I got involved in 2 of these dumb internet disagreements and I regretted it afterward. Sigh…  I know better. 

When I watch these disagreements and listen to how people respond and the reasons they give, it boggles my brain.  They use mom blogs (as I’ve said before – I have nothing against mom blogs because I have one), documentaries like The Magic Pill and random .com sites as their sources.  

Or maybe what their friend’s sister’s mother’s boyfriend said.  Whatever it is, it is not valid or reputable sources.

When you are involved in a polar lifestyle like keto, you are constantly being bombarded with negativity and well-meaning people telling you why you shouldn’t be doing it and you get in a position of defense and constantly feeling like you are defending your health choices. 

Am I right?  When this happens, often people become blind supporters of their cause and lose sight of truth and reason. 

OK, so let’s dive into the top 6 myths that keep people fighting when they really shouldn’t be.

 

Myth 1: Keto is only for quick weight loss

There is this misconception that keto is a quick weight loss diet only for those that want to lose weight.  Remember, though, keto was originally developed to help manage seizures. 

It was not designed for the average Joe wanting to lose weight.  That is what it has come to use for though.

There is going to be a theme here, so you’ll hear me say this a lot.  When something gains momentum INCREDIBLY FAST like keto did, people jump in quickly, misinformed and begin spreading misinformation.  I already mentioned this and it isn’t going to be the last time.

So, suddenly keto became this crash course diet plan and that was never the intent.  Yet here we are.  

I think a reason people jump in so quickly is that they hear that their friend just lost 10 pounds in their first 2 weeks.  Here’s the thing, though… People drop a lot of water weight in the first week or two and then complain because they aren’t losing anymore. 

Well, the hard part starts after the water is dropped.  Sorry to say – you didn’t lose fat, you lost water. 

Anyway, the keto diet should be approached as a lifestyle.  You’ve heard that before.  It’s like the saying “If you built it, it will come”.  If you change the LIFESTYLE the weight loss and health will come. 

It is not a crash diet and should not be treated as such.

 

Myth 2: You can eat as much fat from any source that you want

The “bacon and butter” keto eating pattern is not sustainable.  Or overly healthy in my opinion.  A short time?  Whatever?  A lifestyle?  Never.  Check out my article “Are Veggies Optional?”.  I talk a little about fat and sources and food choices and all that! 

There is this massive misconception that keto is all fat.  Now, it is absolutely high in fat, but where I think the biggest misconception is about the source of fat. 

I am plagued by online groups and misinformation in them.  Someone will say “Help!  I can’t get my fat in today, I’m just not hungry”.  Then another person will basically go tell them to eat a stick of butter.  I choke a bit every time I read this.  For 2 reasons:

  1. You do NOT need to get your fat in. Fat is one of those macros that you do not need to meet any goal.  As long as you are getting the minimum for survival and thriving survival, then you are good.  Eat some if you are hungry and skip if you are not.
  2. There are so many healthier options that eating a stick of butter! What about an avocado?  Make an avocado boat.  They are super yummy.  Basically, you cut an avocado in half take the pit out, crack and egg into the avocado and bake it.  That is a perfect high fat snack.

Keto is not a free-for-all to take bad sugar choices and turn them into bad fat choices.  Disordered eating doesn’t just end when you switch to keto.  YOU have to make that change separately.

 

Myth 3: You have to be in ketosis to lose weight

You might be thinking, WHAT?  Did she just say I don’t have to be in ketosis to lose weight?  Yes, I did.  Let me repeat – you do NOT have to be in ketosis to lose weight.  People get so wrapped around the axle about being in ketosis that they forget to take a look at:

  • How they feel
  • Are they losing weight
  • Are they following the diet and eating well

First of all, urine strips are not an accurate test for ketosis.  Neither are those breath things.  The only reliable ketosis measurement is a blood test or a blood meter.

For example, the keto urine strips simply measure the excess ketones in your body.  As you get more fat adapted, your body becomes more efficient at using ketones and you have much less spill over into your urine.

A typical conversation goes like this:

Worried Keto’er: It has been 4 weeks and I’m not in ketosis yet.

Me: Are you following your macros and recording your food?

Keto’er: Yes, every day.  Here is a sample day [and then they give me a screen shot]

Me: [At this point, I can tell if they are good or not.  Let’s presume they are good] Looks good.  Are you losing weight?

Keto’er: Yes!  I’ve lost 12 pounds and am thrilled.

Me: Great

Keto’er: But I’m not in ketosis

Me: Do you feel good?  Lots of energy?

Keto’er: Yes, but I’m not in ketosis

Me: Don’t worry about it

Keto’er: how can I not worry?  I’m supposed to be in ketosis

Me: Ketosis doesn’t matter if you are losing weight and feeling great

Does ketosis help you burn fat?  Absolutely!  But here’s the thing.  Chances are this worried keto’er did not do a blood test and was simply obsessively peeing on a stick.  So do we KNOW she wasn’t in ketosis?  No. 

The point is that if you are accomplishing your goals, don’t worry about the details.  Who cares if you are in ketosis or not.  It is not like it is a badge of honor.  Well, I guess to some people it is, but to me it is not. 

Don’t worry about ketosis if all else is going great.

 

Myth 4: Ketosis and Ketoacidosis are the same thing

This is one of my biggest pet peeves.  For those of you that don’t know the difference, I’m going to put you at ease here by telling you a story from when I (yes, me) misunderstood the difference. 

My son has had Type 1 Diabetes for 8 years now.  For a Type 1 Diabetic, if they are not getting enough insulin and their blood sugars are high, their body starts producing ketones rather quickly (like in a matter of hours) and then it means either hours worth of corrective behavior OR a hospital visit. Sometimes both. So that was my only experience with ketones.

In my head, I had equated ketones with danger.  Now, the average person does not have this experience, they simply hear other misinformed people say they are the same and then they decide to believe it.

I remember when a good friend of mine went keto a few years ago and she was so happy to have ketones in her urine and was telling me about it.  I remember being appalled at why someone would do something so dangerous to their body and I refused to listen. 

Which, is weird for me because I am definitely one to do research.  BUT I was emotionally invested and had an emotional response to the word ketones and I just shut off.

An interesting turn of events landed me with an adult Type 1 Diabetes diagnosis at the end of 2018.  For the year leading up to that, I HAD to go keto to keep my blood sugars down while they were trying to figure out what was wrong with my body since I wasn’t taking insulin. 

We went through several misdiagnoses such as Type 2, but finally the right tests were done.

When I had to switch to keto, it forced me to do my research and realize that, in fact, ketones were not bad.  It was the process by which you got the point of creating them that was important. 

So, let me explain.  I’ll preface that I am not giving medical advice and I am simply giving my understanding and my experience.

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat, and that process produces ketones as a byproduct, and then your body uses ketones for energy.  Perfectly safe and healthy for most people.

Ketoacidosis is a state when the body isn’t getting enough insulin, the blood sugar is often quite high, but the body cannot use those sugars for fuel since there is a lack of insulin.  Therefore, it must burn fat to produce ketones for energy.  The problem here is not the ketones per se, but it is the lack of insulin and a COMBINATION of high blood sugar AND ketones.  Now as this process continues and builds up in the blood, the blood becomes acidic and that is when the emergency arises.

So for a non-diabetic who produces insulin, this will not occur.  You rarely see ketoacidosis by itself, except in places like this.  Instead, you will see DKA or Diabetic Ketoacidosis as it is mostly only ever relevant for diabetics, specifically Type 1 Diabetics.

So what does that mean for Type 1 Diabetics?  Well, again, I don’t give medical advice but I will tell you what it means for me.  It means that when I am producing ketones, I want to ensure the following:

  • My ketones are low-moderate, never large
  • I am getting enough insulin
  • My blood sugars are not high

If properly managed, DKA will not occur.

 

Myth 5: You don’t need to exercise on keto

Excuses, excuses, excuses.  Most people hate exercise anyway, so what a great way to give yourself an excuse to not have to do it!  I am so harsh sometimes, so you’ll have to forgive me!  Or maybe that is why you love me – because I tell it like it is!

Here’s another common exchange:

Keto’er #1: Do I need to exercise on keto?

Keto’er #2: NO!  I lose 50 pounds and NEVER exercised

Keto’er #1: AWESOME

Then the bearer of bad news comes in, aka ME.  And I normally respond with something like this ”While you will experience weight loss with keto alone, being skinny should not the end result.  Rather, being healthy should.  In order to create and maintain a healthy body, you must move your body and exercise at a minimum several times a week”.  I’m usually ignored because they want to listen to keto’er #2 and it is all good.  It is not my job to change people’s opinion, but rather offer sound advice if asked and even sometimes when not asked.

Folks, exercise.  Please.  I don’t care if it means you walk to the mailbox and back 5 times if that is more than you normally do.  But do something.  Add some resistance training it.

Skinny fat IS a thing.  I know because I used to be skinny fat.  I grew up stick thin, I ate whatever I wanted, was teased horribly and I NEVER worked out because I was thin.  But I was incredibly unhealthy on the inside.  I am certainly not as thin as my pre-baby self, but I am a whole lot healthier. 

You may find yourself with less stamina or getting winded faster while on keto when you workout, but that is all fixed with alternations.  Check out my article Working out on Keto where I talk all about working out on keto and how to be successful at it!

 

RELATEDWorking out on Keto

 

Myth 6: Keto is the same for women as it is for men

Ok, last one!  Keto is great for both men and women.  BUT it is not the same.  I talk about this in my article Keto for Women.

The main thing to consider is hormones.  I’m going to touch on 2 key differences where women really do need to pay attention. 

The first is if you institute Intermittent Fasting (IF), which many keto’ers do.  If you want to learn more about Intermittent Fasting, go to episode 7 of The Keto Living Podcast.   I do IF and I love it!  To be brief, let me break it down like this. Women hold onto more fat in the thighs, hip and stomach area for a reason.  It is an evolutionary protection to ensure the survival of the woman AND her child if she were to become pregnant.  So when IF is done too aggressively with women, the body says “oh crap, we are starving, we better to hold onto EVERYTHING just in case a pregnancy occurs”.  Thanks, body.  But that is how it goes.  To combat this, don’t do IF every day, give yourself a break, do 5 out of 7 days perhaps and just play around with it.

The other piece is the thyroid.  My 30-second overview for background is this: The thyroid produces hormones that are responsible for quite a bit.  Things like digestion, metabolic rate, mood, breathing, menstrual cycles and more. [3].  Two hormones it produces are T3 and T4.  A delicate balance is required.

I’m going to read you a quote from an interesting study.  All the studies are listed in the references section.

To evaluate the effect of caloric restriction and dietary composition on circulating T3 and rT3 obese subjects were studied after 7-18 days of total fasting and while on randomized hypocaloric diets (800 kcal) in which carbohydrate content was varied to provide from 0 to 100% calories. As anticipated, total fasting resulted in a 53% reduction in serum T3 in association with reciprocal 58% increase in rT3. Subjects receiving the no-carbohydrate hypocaloric diets for two weeks demonstrated a similar 47% decline in serum T3 but there was no significant change in rT3 with time. In contrast, the same subjects receiving isocaloric diets containing at least 50 g of carbohydrate showed no significant changes in either T3 or rT3 concentration. The decline in serum T3 during the no-carbohydrate diet correlated significantly with blood glucose and ketones but there was no correlation with insulin or glucagon. We conclude that dietary carbohydrate is an important regulatory factor in T3 production” [2].

So what that says is that the thyroid of people, not just women, on the keto diet might suffer.  I’ll speak for myself here now, but I have Hashimoto’s which is basically the autoimmune version of hypothyroidism.   So given that my thyroid is already LOW, keto has the potential to make it worse.

You might be asking what does this have to do with women in particular?  Thyroid disease can also cause things like problems with menstruation and infertility [4].

So that is how it is relevant specifically to women.

There are so many more myths out there and this is getting long so I’m going to wrap up.

My biggest advice for keto’ers is this: Be smart, eat your veggies, don’t get caught up in the details, don’t cheat, give yourself grace, and don’t let your sugar addiction win. 

 

References

[2][3][4] can be found in Keto for Women


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