Updated: Jun 13, 2021
Keto can be an option as a diet at any age but a protein rich diet is often touted as the way to go as we get older - more to come on that in future articles. It was seen as a bit of fad but it is a diet which has stuck around and has maintained a high level of visibility and popularity.
But is Keto worth it?
A lot of people rush into it and, of course, like a lot of other diets find it difficult to sustain. I will say upfront - this one takes some planning and some knowledge, and like other lifestyle changes it is something that needs to be followed consistently.
Any doubts or existing medical conditions please check with your doctor before considering this diet.
So What am I Talking About?
If you are reading this you have probably heard a lot about it and want to know more in order to make the decision as to whether you venture into the world of keto or not.
The ketogenic diet, sometimes referred to as the Keto diet or low carb diet, is about consuming a lot of protein and fats, but fewer carbs. This makes the body send the fats that we consume to the liver, which transforms into energy to keep the body strong and active for a long time without feeling tired quickly.
The word ketogenic is derived from the word 'ketosis' which means the state of the body when it doesn't have enough glucose, which you would tend to get from carbohydrates. The glucose is into energy, but without it the body generates ketones that work as an amazing source of energy for both the body and the brain.
And why no carbs? One of the main reasons for weight gain is because sugar makes you hungry most of the time. When you consume small portions of carbs and focus on protein and fat, your body doesn't crave food to feel full, hence the diet has become well known for not needing to count calories or experience that feeling of hunger that is often associated with the low calorie approach. Keto usually means about 80 percent of calories from fat, 15 percent from protein and 5 percent from carbohydrates.
Please note, when I say fat, I mean good fat. This is not an excuse to go mad on eating everything you love that is bad for you.
You will see across various media a lot of success stories of people following Keto.
If followed correctly it is possible for you to become leaner. After the initial stage of the diet passes, called ketosis, you will not feel tired. You do adjust and it is easier to stick to unlike other diets where you feel tired or crave food due to a short supply of calories and hence energy.
There are also a lot of menu choices and there is more and more availability of recipes online now to make your diet more interesting and not having to eat salads all the time. See my recipe section and there is also a link at the bottom of this article to a two free recipe books.
As mentioned above, there are a few days at the start of this diet in which your body goes through a state of ketosis. You will feel tired and lethargic and want to give up. If you stick with it you soon get through it and if you do slip for a few days this does not mean you will go through this phase again (yes, of course you will if it is longer than a few days). Stay hydrated as this will help.
I would say that that it is important to plan and prepare if you are going this route as you cannot just pick up any snack or throw together a quick meal. It is possible to eat out but quick snacks on the go can be difficult. You have to be aware of hidden sugar and carbohydrates in your food, hence the preparation.
How to Start
So you decided you want to try. If you are not going on a guided plan and prefer to do this yourself it is best to start by reducing your intake of high carb foods including bread, rice, potatoes, pasta and the sweet stuff. Whilst reducing start to up your intake of food such as fish, meat and eggs, and plant-based fats, like avocados, oils and some nuts. Once you’ve mastered ketosis, you’ll begin focusing on the variety and quality of fats, but for now, fat is fat.
After you’ve eliminated the most obvious sources of carbs, look to dairy, fruit and condiments, which can sneak in surprising amounts of carbs. Watch your fiber intake and look to leafy greens and other vegetables but also beware of some high carb vegetables such as sweet potatoes.
As I said before , you will experience a period of ketosis as your body adjusts. This is known as the ‘keto flu’ as you can feel a bit tired and groggy as your body adjusts to using fat as its energy source. Don’t let this period of a few days put you off – it shows your body is adjusting so just take it easy for a few days, particularly if you are exercising. Once you are through this stage it is far easier.
If you want to go full force into this diet I would use the time of adjustment to read up a bit more about this diet – there are plenty of sources – and understand what will work with your lifestyle and for your tastes. This is a lifestyle change and so you will need to be agree with yourself what you can keep going with.
This diet does work if you stick with it and so I would say it is worth it although I stress it takes a lot of effort at first, as well as making it a lifestyle change. You will need to integrate this way of eating into your daily life. Of course, you don't need to stay away from carbs for ever but I would adjust your diet to a level you can handle easily once you reach your goal - one you can maintain for the longer term.
FREE Recipe Books - 200 Keto Recipes
Keto Resource have sent me an offer for my readers of not one but TWO FREE Keto recipe books. Please click the image below to take you through to their offer:
Customized Meal Plan
If you prefer to start by having the hard work done for you in terms of planning your food, I have included a link to an 8-week customized keto meal plan. What’s great about this is that a food plan is done for you tailored to your goals, together with shopping lists and recipe guides. A service like this will take away the hard work and help you concentrate on your progress, as well as setting you up for your lifestyle change.