The keto diet is popular for a reason: it works! But that doesn’t mean it is the right diet for you
Thinking about starting the keto diet? You’re definitely not alone. The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets to date. Celebrities have done it and a plethora of fun, easy-to-make recipes can be found all over the Internet to help you maintain the perfect keto lifestyle.
I tried the keto diet for several months. After sticking to the diet for several months, I found my energy levels heightened and my sleep improved. I also lost several pounds over the span of a few months. While this sounds idyllic, it may or may not be right for you. So, what exactly is the keto diet and how does it work?
Essentially, the keto diet is designed to decrease insulin and blood sugar levels while forcing the body’s metabolism to burn fat and ketones (as opposed to carbs) for energy by balancing high-fat and low-carb foods. It’s one of the quickest ways to lose weight while also improving energy and focus.
Here are 5 things to keep in mind before you give the keto diet a shot:
1. It’s a Lifestyle
Unlike many diets, you can’t start and stop the keto diet sporadically. Doing so can throw off your metabolism and might even cause you to gain more weight, eliminating the results of all your hard work.
You must be ready to make a commitment to avoid the all too tempting carb diets you may have been consuming.
Before you start the keto diet, you must be ready to completely change your lifestyle and way of eating in order for the diet to be effective. As a matter of fact, the keto diet is one of the most physically punishing diets out there. Cheating on the keto diet results in more than just bloating and disappointment. It can mean stomach aches, diarrhea, and complete confusion within your body.
During the first few weeks of my keto experience, I had a lot of trouble adjusting. I had a hard time giving up sodas, pasta, and other carb-filled foods and snacks. The pain I experienced every time I went over my carb limit was excruciating, but I continued to stick with it in hopes of getting in better shape.
2. You Can Experience Flu Symptoms
There’s good news and bad news. The bad news is that there is a such thing as the “keto flu” — a series of flu-like symptoms that kick in during the beginning stages of the keto diet. There are two reasons why this could happen:
- Your brain might start to run low on energy during the switch from a carb-burning metabolism to a fat-burning metabolism. This can lead to headaches, fatigue, and nausea.
- You might become dehydrated since the keto diet can cause you to urinate more frequently than usual. This is a sign that you need to drink more water.
The good news is that experiencing these effects this means you’re living the keto lifestyle correctly.
To alleviate the symptoms, accompany your diet with more water and supplements to help balance your electrolytes.
The keto flu is definitely one of the disadvantages to the keto diet, but fortunately, it typically only lasts for a week or so before your body readjusts, and your metabolism becomes accustomed. Still, it’s definitely something you want to keep in mind before you start the keto diet.
3. There are More Benefits Than Weight Loss
Aside from being a method for weight loss, the keto diet can be an effective remedy for a considerable amount of medical conditions. For instance, the keto diet was used as a way to treat epilepsy in the 1920s. The diet has also been found to improve cognitive function altogether. It is also used to treat patients with cancer or diabetes.
4. It Can Affect Your Exercise
If you exercise regularly, you might notice that your strength and endurance has been reduced after you start the keto diet. Since your body is accustomed to burning carbs for energy, it will take time for your metabolism to readjust. Once your body adapts to running off of fat, your strength and endurance will return to normal and maybe even improve. For extra athletic people, this can be quite an annoyance; however, if you stick with the diet, the benefits will absolutely outweigh the drawbacks.
5. Eating Keto Can Be Affordable
A common reason that many people have for not dieting is the cost of healthy foods. After all, some diets come with a pretty hefty price tag. A McDonald’s cheeseburger is much less expensive than a well balanced meal, so it’s understandable to believe that healthy eating is expensive.
However, you will be surprised at how affordable the keto diet is.
For starters, the keto diet is actually pretty filling. You will find that you won’t be as hungry, so the results will lead you to spend less money on your groceries. With an effective meal planning and preparation strategy, you will be able to save money on groceries rather than splurging on more expensive foods.
The bottom line is that, with all its benefits, a keto diet is quite specific and definitely not for everyone.
I decided to quit the keto diet after roughly six months because I was unhappy that I was unable to eat my favorite foods without experiencing painful symptoms and throwing my weight loss goals off track. Even though I started to see results, I found that it wasn’t the right weight loss method for me. Since then, I’ve decided to experiment with different culinary styles and diets.
If you decide to go forward with starting the keto diet, congratulations. You’re making an excellent step toward strengthening your health. The hype for this diet is completely deserved, as it is one of the fastest ways to lose weight and keep it off as long as the diet is followed correctly. As with any diet, however, be aware of its effects by listening to the cues of your body (and mind) over time.
You may also enjoy reading Ketotarian: A Refreshing Take On The Keto Diet With a (Mostly) Plant-Based Twist by Dr. Will Cole