It’s well-known that achieving ketosis and counting carbs are crucial parts of the popular ketogenic diet. But chances are, you’ve unknowingly heard a lot of keto diet myths about the diet that’s been making its rounds throughout the dieting world.
There are many benefits of the keto diet, but like any anything else, it’s important to know what’s backed up by evidence and what’s better left alone. Let’s decipher 5 of the most common keto diet myths that need to be put to rest!
On the keto diet, you need to limit your carb intake to 5-10% of your daily calories. For a standard 2,000-calorie diet, that’s 25-50g of carbs per day. Knowing this, you'd think it'd be crucial to cut high-carb fruits and vegetables from your daily diet, right? Wrong. According to Everyday Health, constipation is a common keto side effect, which makes it a wise decision to incorporate fruits and vegetables into your diet or keto recipes to get the great source of fiber they provide.
According to Keto Farms, it’s important to pay close attention to the net carbs of the keto diet foods you're consuming. To figure this out, take the total carbs and subtract it from the fiber. So to fit fruit and vegetables in, all it takes is an understanding of your carb tolerance and finding fruits and vegetables that work into that.
The results of the keto diet vary within each person, but ultimately, it isn’t a process that you can seesaw on and off of. To successfully enforce the ketogenic diet, you must achieve ketosis. According to Medical News Today, ketosis is when “the body does not have enough glucose for energy, so it burns stored fats instead; this results in a build-up of acids called ketones within the body.” When your body leaves ketosis, it can be hard to get back to this starvation-like state, meaning that people must stay consistently on the diet in order to not quickly put lost weight back on.
One of the most common misconceptions are about the dangers of the keto diet. More specifically, it's commonly thought to lead to nutrient deficiencies. But, if keto nutrition is followed correctly, you can reap the benefits of it while maintaining a nutrient-dense, complete diet. In order to achieve this, be sure to eat “fatty cuts of quality meat, dairy, nuts and plenty of green leaves and fibrous vegetables,” according to Keto Krate.
Although there are benefits to the keto diet, it's important to consider some of the dangers that experts have associated with this diet. According to Mayo Clinic, low carb diets "have higher rates of side effects, including constipation, headaches, bad breath and more." In order to transition into the keto diet the right way and avoid these side effects, Angela Mavridis, an LA-based holistic nutritionist and founder of TRIBALÍ Foods, shared key tips in an interview with Forbes.
"My suggestion is to start with changing your mindset first and foremost around three very important facts: this is not just another diet, you don’t have to live in Ketosis forever, and you will not be depriving yourself. Having said that, if you are used to eating highly-processed sugary food and refined carbohydrates you’ll need to ease into it," said Mavridis.
Right off the bat, you will feel fatigue when restricting your carb intake. But the fatigue you may feel and the other symptoms that come along with it is the body’s response to the transition from using glucose for energy to using fat. While this change inside the body is a good thing, the “keto flu” sadly comes along with it. When starting the keto diet, your blood sugar drops and causes hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. Then, changes occur in other bodily systems that alter your electrolytes, water and hormone levels, often leading to dehydration.
From mood swings and irritability to fatigue and dizziness, these all sound awfully similar to the withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse. According to HVMN, “recent studies have compared the effect of carbohydrates (particularly sugar) on the brain to that of addictive drugs like cocaine.”
Luckily, these symptoms don’t last forever and the shifting gears of your body to get rid of the addiction to carbs is extremely beneficial. After a short amount of time, the symptoms will fade and be replaced by a rush of energy that will help you attack each day and hit your goals!
Most of the time, people avoid the keto diet because they believe it’s an obsessive, complicated process that isn’t worth pursuing. But, that’s completely the opposite of the truth. According to Dan Johnston of Dreams Around the World, there’s “no obsession needed.” On the keto diet, Johnston simply figured out the things he shouldn’t have, like grains, potatoes, and sugars, and incorporated the things he should have more of into keto diet recipes. In fact, Johnson has never once tracked what he ate in a single day that he’s been on the diet!
After reading these debunked keto diet myths, you may be thinking it’s a lot less scary than you once believed. You’d be right in thinking that; the keto diet is extremely feasible and has endless benefits that make skipping those buttery rolls at dinner worthwhile.