The ketogenic diet aims to cut carbs and cause a state called ketosis. During ketosis, the body burns fat, not sugars, for energy. Advocates of the diet say this promotes weight loss and better overall health. The standard keto diet is made up of 75% fat, 20% protein, and measly 5% carbs. This teeny carb allowance means excluding grains, beans, legumes, fruit (except berries), alcohol, sugar, artificial sweeteners, and refined oils. What’s left? Meat, eggs, full-fat dairy, nuts and seeds, unrefined oils (like coconut oil), non-starchy vegetables, herbs and spices, and (just ask Instagram) a lot of avocados.
A 2004 study compared the effects of low-fat and low-carb (ketogenic) diets on 150 obese adults. Not only were the folks on the keto diet 20% more likely to stick to the diet, they lost nearly twice as much weight as the people on the low-fat diet-- on average, almost a pound a week over a 24-week period. The keto folks also ended up with more HDL (good) cholesterol and fewer triglycerides in their blood, factors that reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke.
No Counting Calories
Another study compared weight loss on a high-protein/low-carb diet (keto) and moderate-carb/high-protein diet (closer to the Standard American Diet), along with the number of calories people on each diet ate each day. Neither diet locked the participants into a certain calorie count. The keto group not only lost more weight, they consumed fewer calories on average. And they felt less hungry. Fats can really fill you up!
Not Much Research
Sure, lots of studies have been done on the ketogenic diet. But it was created to help fight childhood epilepsy, so most of these studies are about the diet’s success at preventing seizures in children. Keto for weight loss isn’t nearly as well-tested.
Not Sure About Long-Term Effects
Long-term, the keto diet has only been proven to help with… you guessed it… epilepsy. Effectively giving up entire food groups long-term is not only tough to stick with, it can cause nutrient deficiencies. Doctors who prescribe the keto diet to epileptic kids worry in particular about deficits in fiber, vitamin K, vitamin D, and all essential minerals except chromium. Even if the diet helps you lose weight, don’t take for granted that you’re getting all the nutrients you need! Micronutrient deficiencies increase your risk of a range of health problems, including cancer and heart failure.
What About The Environment?
It’s not impossible to be vegetarian or even vegan on the keto diet, but since fat and protein are key, the list of keto foods certainly skews toward meat. Resource-wise, a meat-based diet is more demanding, requiring more land and water than a plant-based one. By weight, meat’s carbon footprint is also larger by far than that of fruits, veggies, grains, and sweets.
Keto-Friendly Products from Blue Mountain Organics
If you decide to try keto, you can’t go wrong with these!
My Nutty Mylk
Nuts and seeds
Nut and seed butters
Coconut flour, butter, and oil
Cacao nibs, powder, and butter
Extra-virgin olive oil
Egg white protein