Keto Diet - Expectations vs Reality

You may want to try (or have tried) a Keto diet because your friend lost a ton of weight, the internet “experts” say how you can eat bacon and cheese all day or because you’re just ready for a change in your diet routine.

I hear A LOT of people say “The Keto Diet just didn’t work for me…” There’s probably a good reason for it, sans a medical contradiction: you’re not doing it right!

I just have one word of advice I hope you implement:

Stop listening to the google/social media “experts”. Please.

The Keto Diet is a very powerful and sophisticated diet. It requires more than just eating lots of fat and guessing what is Keto-approved (“hmmm, a block of cheese with a diet-pepsi sounds Keto to me!”).

Or worse: posting a question on a FaceBook group asking “is this keto approved?” and getting bombarded with a variety of snarky, based-on-zero-science answers.

The Keto Diet is a very low carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet meant to push your body into nutritional ketosis. The benefits of being in nutritional ketosis are too much to list here, but you should read up on them. It’s pretty mind-blowing.

The fact that it is very low carb means two things:

  1. You HAVE to track for at least the first week. Don’t guess if you are getting below 50 grams of carbs a day. Track in a electronic diary like Cronometer or MyFitnessPal. You will be SHOCKED how fast 50 grams adds up. Once you feel comfy that you can identify your carb sources, you can relax the tracking reigns. But revisit this tool when you feel off or are not getting into ketosis.

  2. PLEASE use your carbohydrate bank for nutrient-dense foods like leafy greens, cruciferous and sulphur rich veggies, fatty nuts/seeds and a few dark berries. Don’t know what they are? Google them and lots of pictures will come up. Or go to a legitimate Keto website like Diet Doctor or Keto Diet App to find handy grocery lists that will help you shop for these nutrient-dense carbs.

Stop using your carb bank for junk Keto!

This is not the purpose of a Keto Diet and you probably won’t get those long-term, amazing benefits if you eat bacon, butter and cheese all day washed down with a zero-calorie “Keto-Approved” diet drink.

I mean, does this sound even remotely healthy to you.

You’ll be in ketosis but you’ll probably feel like shit. And won’t be able to poop because you have zero fiber in your diet. And you’ll probably be nutritionally depleted.  And then you’ll say “That Keto Diet thing did NOT work for me”.

So what should you do?

You’re going to have to put a teeny bit of effort into this diet if you want to make it to work (and be easier to manage).

Use your carbohydrate bank for nutrient-dense carbohydrate sources (see above). These foods have lots of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients. No, they are not as fun (or gross) as pork rinds or a Keto Snickers bar recipe, but they will support your body and improve your health (unlike pork rinds).

Use a variety of healthy, non-hydrogenated sources of fat. Like:

  • Avocado oil

  • Olive oil

  • Macadamia Nut oil

  • Walnut oil

  • Hemp oil

  • Flax oil

  • Ghee

  • Butter

  • Lard from wild, pastured, grass-fed animals

  • Raw/High-quality Dairy (steer clear of those bright yellow cheese slices!)

Buy healthy protein sources like pastured eggs, wild game and fish, grass-fed meat, pastured chicken.

"But it’s too expensive!! No, it’s not. High-quality, humanely-raised protein sources costs maybe $1-3 more per lb. You’re not supposed to eat a lb or even a half a pound per meal (remember - moderate protein). So pony up the extra $2 and get a protein source that is better for you, the animal and the planet.

Seriously - some people have no problem throwing down $5 for a Big Mac or $12 for a pizza but paying $5 a lb for grass-fed beef or $4 a lb for pastured chicken which can feed a family is like “Oh My God… I’m broke over here!

Save the treats as a treat. Unless you are supplementing with high-quality fat bombs made with nut butters, coconut oil/butter, cacao butter, etc, you’re probably doing your body a disservice. Fat bombs or keto treats made with cheap dairy and fat sources can be inflammatory and this can mean that you won’t feel very good.

I hope this was helpful.

Rant over.

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Janine Henkel