Is it the right diet for you?
If it hasn’t hit you yet, chances are it’s hit someone around you. Keto is the new black – it’s everywhere and you wonder if you should do it too. To make an informed decision, however, it is firstly important to educate yourself on what a keto diet truly consists of. In a nutshell, the ketogenic diet is low-carb and high fat. As carbohydrate intake is dramatically reduced and replaced with fat, the body enters a state called ketosis. In simpler terms, fat is burned for energy rather than carbs, alongside lower insulin and blood sugar levels.
Manish Mohan, having lost 13 pounds after being on the keto diet for six weeks, shares, “The biggest pro is that you are not starving yourself. Other than limited options when in a social setting, there is no big con. You just watch your calorie intake.” While hunger is arguably not an issue, it is important to consider the foods that one can and cannot consume. Leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and lean protein are encouraged. Additionally, it is suggested to cook in high fat oils and go for drinks that are low in sugar and calories. While vegetables and fruits are allowed, the keto diet avoids ones high in sugar; natural and processed sugar are not to be eaten. Grain-based items and carbohydrates (rice, flour) are off limits. Note that there are many variations of the keto diet and list of allowed foods may vary.
Raman Multani, having followed the diet for almost two months to lose 18 pounds, elaborates, “You are able to have some very yummy food throughout the process, but this diet could be very challenging for vegetarians as there are many restrictions on the types of fruits and vegetables one can consume. I would not recommend it to someone that is not able to eat fish, meat or eggs.” It should also be kept in mind that the first bit of the keto diet may result in lower energy levels as there is decreased glucose reaching the brain. After the first week of a potential ‘keto flu’, one may feel an even heightened sense of energy as the diet goes on.
That said, other than intrinsic motivation, a great pillar of support is friends and family who help ease the transition to a new lifestyle. Paul Gill was on the keto diet for three straight months, plus an added month with cheat weekends. Gill was able to lose a total of 90 pounds, but credits his success to more than just himself, “The first three months were all possible thanks to my mom. She helped me make whatever I asked of her. I was able to learn a lot about keto recipes from online sources, which I would tell about to my mom. I would definitely not have been able to drop my first 50 without her!” Undoubtedly, losing weight is only the beginning. Once a person if off the keto diet, water weight may return, and weight gain may happen if diet is drastically changed.
Still don’t know if keto is for you? Ask yourself these questions before taking the leap:
Are you informed?
Research using different sources to ensure you are well informed on what you are signing up for.
What do you eat?
Reflect on what you eat and whether it is rational for you to enter a keto diet, especially if you have dietary restrictions.
Do you know the risks?
The keto diet is high in saturated fat, which may be linked to specific health issues. Consult a doctor or registered dietician!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Naina Grewal is a graduate of SFU, with First Class Distinction in a Business and Communication Joint Major, holding both the President’s and Dean’s Honor Rolls. Alongside winning national awards such as the Ruth Hancock Scholarship from the Canadian Association of Broadcasters, she has been featured in an international documentary featuring her accomplishments and passion for stirring youth involvement and creating dialogue.