10 Myths about the Keto Diet

10 Myths about the Keto Diet

by Kelley Herring on June 4, 2017

Celebrities, athletes and people in general are raving about the ketogenic diet. And while keto is certainly very popular, it is also surrounded by many misconceptions. In the event these myths may prevent curious minds from giving it a try, today we highlight (and debunk) 10 of the top myths about keto.

But before we unearth these common keto myths, let’s define the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is a way of eating that is rich in healthy fats, low in carbohydrates and moderate in protein. Eating this way puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis. In this state, your body’s energy needs are met by compounds called ketones and the breakdown of fats… rather than glucose.

The keto diet promises many benefits including weight loss, reduced hunger, lower and more stable blood sugar levels, greater mental clarity and improved tolerance to fasting intermittently.

Now let’s debunk the ten keto diet myths.

Myth #1: Eating Fat Makes You Fat

Most of us grow up believing that fatty foods are fattening. People confuse body fat and dietary fat. In reality, what’s making you fat isn’t dietary fat itself but too many calories from a high-carbohydrate / high-sugar diet… and the hormonal dysfunction that results.

The problem with eating junk foods and pastries laden with sugar is that your brain and metabolism become addicted to them. A study published in the Brain Research Bulletin shows that carbohydrates, particularly sugar, play a strong role in binge eating and obesity.

Eating healthy fats on keto helps your body adapt to burning fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The result greater energy efficiency… and quite often, rapid loss of body fat.

Myth #2: You Can Eat Any Type of Fat

Just because keto is a high-fat diet, doesn’t mean you can eat any kind of fat. Not all fats are healthy. For example, processed trans fats from margarine and processed baked goods come with serious health consequences. In fact, the Institute of Medicine states that there is “no safe level” of these fats to consume. Food quality matters.

Also remember that while processed meats can make for a convenient meal when you’re busy, these meats often contain hidden sugars and other additives that can hamper your health and weight loss efforts.

For the best keto diet, choose real, whole foods. Beneficial fats include eggs, wild fish from a clean source, grass-fed meat, pastured poultry, avocados, and olive oil.

Myth #3: You Need to Eat More Protein

A keto diet is not a high protein diet. While protein is essential for hormone production and muscle mass, protein intake should be moderate – in the range of 15-30% of daily calories.

Exceeding your protein needs could hamper ketosis. Too much protein converts into glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis.

So while you may feel satiated, the excess protein is stored as fat and causes weight gain. This is especially true if you’re not physically active. Too much protein also harms your kidneys.

Myth #4: Keto is Good for Weight Loss Only

Weight loss is a great reason for trying keto – but it’s not the only one. In case you didn’t know, the keto diet was introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s. Lowering carbohydrates in epileptic patients decreased their seizures.

A low-carb ketogenic diet also controls glucose levels which would benefit people with type 2 diabetes. One study showed that hemoglobin A1c improved in type 2 diabetes patients who followed a low-carb diet.

Other benefits include lower triglyceride levels, better memory, and improved energy levels.

Myth #5: Keto Is Bad for Your Cardiovascular Health

Another myth is that a high-fat diet causes heart disease. There is no evidence to prove consumption of healthy fats predisposes a person to cardiovascular problems. Of course, as we already mentioned, not all fats are created equal.

Healthy saturated fat improves your HDL (good) cholesterol. HDL removes excess cholesterol in your blood vessels. Another beneficial fat is monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs). These fats help to lower inflammation and reduce cancer risk. Keto foods with these good fats include avocados, nuts, red meat, and fatty fish.

What you should avoid are trans fats that are found in many processed foods, vegetable shortenings and fried fast foods. Trans fats increase your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and stroke. Also avoid an excess of omega-6 fatty acids – particularly the vegetable and seed oils found in sauces and dressings and most processed foods.

Myth #6: Fasting Is a Requirement

The ketogenic diet increases your tolerance to fasting over time. As your body adapts to relying on stored fat for fuel, your energy needs are more easily met without requiring constant refeeds. Keto also helps to balance the hormones that control hunger and satiety.

While fasting is helpful, it’s not a requirement to achieve or maintain ketosis. However, intermittent fasting can be a great addition to your ketogenic lifestyle and should speed up your transition into nutritional ketosis.

Some people aren’t open to the idea of fasting or don’t respond well to it. If this is you, know that you don’t have to force yourself. You can achieve great results with keto by simply following the required macros and exercising.

Myth #7: You Can’t Exercise on Keto

When it comes to the keto diet, some people assume exercise isn’t needed because you don’t have enough carbs. The “keto flu” may happen during your initial phase of adaptation and generally comes along with low energy levels. However, it is usually short lived as your body adapts and adjusts to carb withdrawal.

Exercise is good for your health and may help you get into ketosis faster.

Here’s what you should do to feel good working out: Increase your healthy fat intake and consume water with a teaspoon or two of mineral rich salt (it is quite common to shed retained water – and electrolytes – during the adaptive phase of keto). You may also consider increasing your carbohydrates a little to support a tougher workout.

Myth #8: Ketosis and Ketoacidosis Are the Same

Ketosis and ketoacidosis have the word “keto” in them, but the two conditions are very different.

Ketosis refers to the presence of ketones in your blood as a result of eating a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. This metabolic state is quite normal and will benefit your health. In fact, newborn babies grow and thrive in a state of ketosis.

Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a life-threatening complication of type 1 diabetes. Ketoacidosis happens when blood sugar levels remain uncontrolled for too long. It can also be triggered when a diabetic patient experiences stress, an illness, or skips meals.

Myth #9: Keto Is Meat Based

If you research the foods allowed on keto, you’ll notice that these foods include meats and vegetables. In fact, there are many vegetarians who follow a ketogenic diet.

However, it should be noted that some vegetables contain greater amounts of carbs and may “kick you out” of ketosis. Grains and fruit are generally avoided, due to higher levels of carbs (and their inflammatory nature, as it relates to grains).

Low-carb vegetables are those that grow above the ground and are green and leafy. Examples include broccoli, cauliflower, celery, spinach, asparagus, and kale.

Myth #10: Keto Makes You Tired

The belief that keto makes you tired is limiting. It’s the transition to a low-carb ketogenic diet that may result in decreased your energy. During the first few weeks, your body slowly shifts from glucose to fat as the primary form of energy.

Eventually, you’ll become a fat burner and once fully adjusted, your energy will return. In fact, most people report an energy boost they’ve never experienced before. As your body adapts to using stored fat, cravings for an external source of glucose as a quick “pick me up” will disappear.

When you feel tired during the adaptive phase, increase your water and electrolyte intake. Make sure to get proper sleep. Engage in a light exercise.

Wrapping Up

Are you thinking of doing keto? We hope that today’s guide cleared up some misconceptions about the keto diet. If you follow the diet with care, it will help you reach your health and fitness goals, as it has for millions of others over the years.

About The Author

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

Kelley Herring – who has written posts on Healing Gourmet.

About Kelley Herring

Kelley Herring, founder of Healing Gourmet, is a natural nutrition enthusiast with a background in biochemistry. Her passion is educating on how foods promote health and protect against disease and creating simple and delicious recipes for vibrant health and enjoyment.

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