It’s time for the second half of our 25 Days of Christmas Countdown Calendar.
Everybody is talking about it, but should you give the keto diet a try?
What is the keto diet?
Let’s start with the basics.
The keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that promises to help aid weight loss through putting your body into a state of ketosis.
How does it work?
The basic premise behind the keto diet is that by reducing your carbs (to fewer than around 50g a day), your body is forced to get its fuel from a different source.
Without getting too complicated, ketone bodies are a type of fuel produced by the liver that are made up of fatty acids.
When your body uses these as its source of fuel, it is basically burning fat. Your insulin levels drop and fat burning increases.
In theory, this not only helps you lose weight but it also provides a more steady supply of energy when compared to carbohydrates.
Older studies supported the keto diet, revealing that endurance athletes who were on low-fat, high-carb diets burnt twice as much fat when compared to those following a high-carb diet – pretty impressive right?
But hold up a second.
If we flash forward to 2018, the science is not quite so positive about the keto diet.
Researchers from Saint Louis University revealed that those who followed a low-carb diet did not perform as well in aerobic activities.
It therefore followed that, unless there are compelling health reasons for following a low-carb diet, then being in a calorie deficit alone will help you to lose weight, while also maintaining your aerobic fitness levels.
The risk of having a diet predominantly made up on saturated fat is also a concern for science, as this has been linked to cardiovascular disease and other health issues. Unless done correctly, a keto diet could also lead to nutrient deficiency.
The bottom line?
For specific health issues, if prescribed by a Doctor or dietician, the keto diet can be quite beneficial. However, if you’re simply looking at losing weight, then it is probably not necessary.
All the diet is doing, in that case, is putting you into a calorie deficit, which can be achieved on high-fat, high-carb diets or pretty much any controlled diet.
However, many people have found this diet works for their lifestyle. If you do fancy giving the keto diet a try then make sure you're following it properly and fuelling your body with what it needs to be healthy and happy.