Keto has a huge potential and lots of benefits (especially for weight loss) but, should we adopt it as a lifestyle?
There’s a lot of controversy regarding this issue, mainly between keto supporters – those who defend keto as a lifestyle and all its amazing benefits -, and keto skepticals – those who claim keto is dangerous and bad for our health. But guess what? There’s always a half-way point.
Irrefutable facts ✋🏻
The truth is, there are a few facts no one may be able to dispute:
- Restricting calories of any type induces weight loss.
- A diet rich in fats and proteins causes early satiety therefore a reduction in ingestion of calories.
- Limiting or eliminating carbohydrates is a major contributor to weight loss.
- Introducing a keto diet mostly, or almost exclusively, based on animal products induces rapid weight loss (that doesn’t mean keto is not compatible with vegetarian options).
Short-term benefits 🍀
Having said that, it is clear that the keto diet offers several potential benefits such as:
- Substantial and rapid weight loss
- Reduction in insulin secretion
- Reduced hemoglobin A1c
- among others…
Long-term effects: evidence 📑
However, the long-term effects of a sustained keto diet still remain unclear.
Some studies have observed alarming indicators in those individuals who sustained a strict keto diet for a period of 6 to 12 months.
For instance, an increase of LDL (“bad” cholesterol) levels was detected on those subjects, not only while following the diet, but also months later from the end of the trial. Also, hepatic conditions may arise in the long term due to lipid accumulation and/or liver overload. ⚠️
This scenario may not be an ideal one…specially for those with a high risk or background history of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).
So, what’s the plan?
Keto is effective and perfectly safe for a short period of time or even short cycles; and that, combined with a healthy eating pattern equals success. We just have to change our mindset a little bit, especially with carbs.
Nowadays, we consume way too much refined sugars (on purpose and accidentally) and trans + saturated fats.
The perfect balance would be: a few complex carbs + a good amount of high-quality fats and protein. The perfect role model for that would be the Mediterranean diet.
The Mediterranean diet ☀️
What differentiates Mediterranean populations from others is not only the proportional intake of fat, vegetables, olive oil, nuts and fish/meat. Diet in those countries is a lifestyle; a way of living that involves pleasure in eating.
It entails seeing a meal as an opportunity to enjoy friends, family and a tasty portion of food, without too much preoccupation as to the caloric content of each item on the menu.
Developing a healthy relationship with food is a necessary part of life. One can’t help but wonder if the attentiveness to labelling certain foods as ‘bad’ and to be avoided, or ‘good’ and to be consumed induces an unhealthy preoccupation with food and enhances latent behavioural eating disorders.
After all, a little bit of exercise and conscious eating may be all we need to improve our health and do so happily. 🙂