Bacon, steak, avocado, repeat. That’s a snapshot of the keto diet (short for ketogenic diet), the latest weight loss trend. The diet is high in saturated fats and low in carbs. That’s right – instead of a bowl of fruit and oatmeal in the morning, the “keto” tribe suggests whole eggs, bacon, and “bullet-proof coffee” (i.e. 1 cup of coffee with 1 Tablespoon coconut oil and 1 Tablespoon butter).
Intuitively, your first instinct in the morning probably not to throw butter and oil in your coffee for weight loss – but some research shows otherwise. While many tout the effectiveness of the Keto Diet, it ranked last on U.S. News’ list for Best Diets for Healthy Eating. So what’s the verdict?
First, let’s look at what it is.
What is keto?
It’s short for ketogenic, which is named after the distinguishing process of the diet, called ketosis. On this diet, you reduce your caloric intake and essentially deprive your body of carbohydrates with an intake of around 20-25 grams daily (the same amount of carbohydrates in one apple). Carbohydrates are converted into glucose – which your body uses as its primary energy source, completely dismissing stored fats. When your body can’t produce glucose, it produces ketones – which break down fats as energy. Ketosis will usually begin two to four days after maintaining the 20-25 grams of carbohydrates (note: values may vary).
Keto helps you lose weight – just like any other diet that allows a calorie deficit. The low-carb, high-fat diet has been shown to shed more body weight over the course of 12 months than a low-fat diet alone. The well-known Atkins diet, which similarly restricts carbohydrates, also wins the match in terms of weight loss when squaring up to three other lesser-known high-carb diets: Ornish, Zone, and LEARN.
On a wellness note, children who have epilepsy have responded well to the ketogenic diet, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information – because of the switch of energy sources. Some, but less evidence has also showed uplifting results in patients with Parkinson’s, ALS, and Alzheimer’s.
If you’re considering a keto diet for short term rapid weight loss, we won’t sugarcoat it – it’s extreme, (which makes it hard to follow). The extent of “long-term” research on the diet only goes up to about a year – it’s not sustainable for most people. Another con is the fact that as soon as carbs show up to the party again (and eventually, they will), you’ll spike in water weight. Some studies have also shown that the diet, when practiced for longer terms, may promote tumor growth.
Some of the possible temporary side effects from rapid weight loss associated with the Keto Diet are lethargy, flu-like symptoms, constipation, excessive cravings, bad breath and leg cramps.
Weight loss for the long run
Slow and steady wins the race. Since many specialized diets can lead to weight fluctuations later, you may opt to find a more sustainable program. The nutritionists at Thrive Fitness can advise you on the pros and cons of specialty diets vs. a diet comprised of proteins, whole grains, fruits, vegetables and healthy fats.
With balanced nutrition, you’ll enjoy improved health and immunity, natural energy, and sustainable weight loss. (You may even be able to enjoy a small cheat meal here or there that won’t wreak havoc on your progress).
The decision to put certain foods in your body should not be taken lightly – that’s why Thrive Fitness offers nutritional coaches to create the perfect program for you. To find out which one of the hundreds of diets out there are best for you, contact Thrive Fitness today or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The fitness world is filled with great practices, new ideas, truths – and fitness myths.
For just about every useful piece of advice tossed around by fitness gurus, there’s just as many myths thrown out there that could hurt your progress (and your wallet). If knowledge is power, then misinformation is oblivion. Everyone has an opinion to what diet drops 20 pounds or what exercises shred abs, but there are some facts that need to be laid out – and some myths that need to be taken down.
Here are just three of many, many, many more. Bottom line, trust the advice of a trained, educated nutritionist.
Myth: Does organic mean healthier?
Sort of. Not really. The conclusion of this study found that there is a lack of evidence that organic foods are significantly more nutritious than conventional produce. Although specific studies like this showed that organic tomatoes from a particular field had higher levels of antioxidants, no consensus from researchers has been made stating that organic foods are healthier for you than their counterparts. Nutrients in vegetables differ drastically, according to a NPR report. “One carrot in the grocery store may have two or three more times more beta carotene… than its neighbor. That’s due to all kinds of things: differences in the genetic makeup of different varieties, the ripeness of the produce when it was picked, even the weather,” the report said. Vegetables are wild cards – stick to conventional and wash them thoroughly before eating. There’s no such thing as a vegetable that’s bad for you.
Myth: Should I be fasting for weight loss?
A study from Harvard said that neither traditional dieting (restricting a moderate amount of calories daily) nor fasting have an edge over the other – it’s all a matter of preference. If those 500-calorie days are stressing you out, the good news is you have the freedom to switch to another diet plan without sacrificing results.
Weight loss is a simple equation: consume less calories than your body burns Both fasting and traditional dieting use that same equation to achieve their outcome. One has no physical advantage over the other, so it’s just a matter of what’s psychologically beneficial for you.
The nutritionists at Thrive Fitness recommend a well-balanced, nutritious diet that consists of three meals with small healthy snacks in between. Everyone’s dietary needs vary, so consult a nutritionist to learn what will work for your lifestyle and goals.
Myth: Are sports drinks healthy?
Sometimes. Sports drinks are full of electrolytes, which your body needs to replenish after an intense workout. But be wary of food labels – most sports drinks contain high amounts of sugar or corn syrup, and artificial ingredients. When choosing sports drinks over water, be honest with yourself – only take them if you’ve exerted enough energy that you have no other option. Multiple experts said that homemade sports drinks are the way to go. They’re customizable to your needs as an athlete – and can definitely help out your wallet.
Take everything in the fitness community with a grain of salt and do your research. Fitness is all about trial-and-error. Don’t blindly follow the crowd – your health and your wallet might pay the consequences.
Transformations can’t and won’t happen overnight. Instead, weight loss transformations are the product of little victories conquered over weeks, months, and years.
Setting goals is the easy part – sticking to them is the hard part. Just ask any resolutioner.
The solution is imagining S.M.A.R.T. goals. To nail your dream #TransformationTuesday post, your weight loss goals should follow these simple, but underestimated criteria:
Specific. Everyone wants to get shredded, but what steps are you taking to get there? Without specific goals in mind, you’re bound to grow frustrated not from a lack of progress – but from a lack of certainty. You can’t build a house without a blueprint. Visualize your start and finish line – and fill in the blanks with specific steps. This can be creating a meal plan you enjoy or attending two training sessions a week.
- Measurable. Quantify – and qualify – your goal. The scale can be a tremendous tool, but it can often be misleading. Those three pounds you literally gained overnight does not equate to three pounds of fat. Taking pictures of yourself as you tread along your journey can also be a useful tool. Pictures offer you a valuable glimpse of how your body is changing. Tape measures are also a useful tool that can quantify your weight loss even when the scale seems deceiving.
Achievable. Some goals are simply unattainable – and that’s okay. If your goal is to hit the gym seven days a week for five hours, your body won’t appreciate you very much. Sustainability and attainability go hand-in-hand. When you go on someone else’s extreme diet or rigorous workout plan, add your own modifications so that you’re not exhausted after three days. By all means, don’t pick the lowest-hanging fruit – but make sure the fruit is still on the tree.
Results-driven. Make sure your goals are yielding results. If they’re not, it’s time to tweak them. If your cardio-only goal isn’t giving you the transformation results you want, try adding some weightlifting into the mix. If your diet isn’t giving you the results you want either, shock your body and switch it up. Fitness is all about trial-and-error when it comes to finding what gives you results.
- Time-bound. Performance under pressure is a game-changer. Try adding a sense of urgency to your goal by applying a reasonable time-frame. Make a timeline – losing half a pound per week is much less of a burden than ten pounds per day. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
If you’ve set a goal for yourself, congratulations! You’re already halfway there. The next step is to tweak your goal to make it S.M.A.R.T. Your body transformation starts with transforming your goal.
The elite training and nutrition team at Thrive Fitness are able to guide you towards creating the right goals. We offer one-on-one and small group training to provide the optimal training environment. Email us today at email@example.com.