3 min|Rhiannon Lockhart

Is The Ketogenic Diet Right For Me?

Wellness, Nutrition

Nearly everyone has a friend of a friend who has tried the ketogenic diet, and for good reason!

If you check out social media, you’ll see a lot of amazing success stories from trying out the ketogenic diet. Unfortunately, social media is usually the highlight reel for most of our life - including weight loss success. So what we don’t see are those who have tried a ketogenic diet without success or what happens when someone begins to reintroduce carbohydrates without a plan. In order to make the right choice for you, we’re going to dive into what the ketogenic diet is, as well as the pros and cons (because yes, there are both!).

What is the ketogenic diet?

First, let’s differentiate between a low-carb and a ketogenic diet.

A low-carb diet means reducing the number of overall carbohydrates in your day, without necessarily considering other macronutrient amounts. Many people will go “low carb” without assessing calorie intake and can actually end up under-eating.

A ketogenic diet means you decrease your carbohydrate intake, as well as increase your fat intake (the amount may vary), to enter what’s called “ketosis”. Here is the general breakdown:

  • 55-65% calories from fat
  • 30-35% calories from protein
  • 5-10% calories from carbohydrates

So, if you are eating 2,000 calories/day, the general breakdown is:

  • 1100-1300 calories from fat
  • 600-700 calories from protein
  • 100-200 calories from carbohydrates

Pros of a ketogenic diet:

First and foremost, this is generalized and not guaranteed for all who try a ketogenic diet. However, for most people, many of the common benefits can include:

  • Weight loss
  • Increased energy (after a period of fatigue)
  • Used to reduce seizures in children
  • Help with short-term blood sugar control in patients with Type 2 diabetes
  • Increasing healthy fats can support skin’s appearance
  • Mental health support

Cons of a ketogenic diet:

  • Some who begin the ketogenic diet may experience what’s called the “keto flu”, which can consist of headaches, fatigue, brain fog
  • Many people feel that it is not sustainable in the long-term
  • Some people encounter constipation due to the decreased fibre intake

Another component of the ketogenic diet that is important to discuss is distinguishing “healthy” vs. “dirty keto”. As the ketogenic diet really is defined by your number of macros, not the types.

For example: many people on a ketogenic diet enjoy the style of eating because they are still able to consume their favourite foods within the correct range of macros - bacon tends to be high on the list for many people.

However, if you are interested in trying a ketogenic diet, it is important that we consume quality, whole, unprocessed foods first and aim to meet your macros for fats from a variety of plant sources (i.e. avocado, coconut, olive oil, nuts and seeds, etc.) and quality animal protein (wild-caught salmon, grass-fed meats, cage-free poultry, etc.), rather than their ultra-processed alternative.

What do I do when I want to go off of a ketogenic diet?

Cycling restrictive diets can have negative effects on our overall health and long-term weight management. This is why it is important to re-integrate certain foods back into your diet slowly, to minimize the risk of your weight swinging back up quickly.

If you are interested in trying a ketogenic diet, it is important to work with someone to ensure you are consuming a wide variety of nutrients, consuming enough calories, and making the diet work for you!

Book an appointment with our our Naturopathic Doctors to start your journey.

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