Every couple of years a new diet trend takes hold. From Atkins to Paleo, there’s always a hip new way to eat. Today, we are bombarded with ads, videos, and articles about the newest diet trend – “Keto”. So what is keto and why is it all the rage? Let me start by saying, I’m no expert on keto, but in my 10+ years working as a trainer I’ve developed a good grasp on nutrition AND a healthy dose of skepticism when it comes to dietary trends. In 2010, I did a keto diet in preparation for a photoshoot. My carbohydrate intake was severely low and I went into a state of ketosis after 4 days of low carbohydrate intake. So I’ll start by saying yes, this diet can work for some individuals. It may be especially beneficial for those who have a large amount of body-fat to lose or who don’t react well to carbohydrates.

I use the word “trend” because like high-waisted jeans, slicked back hair, and jean jackets keto has been around for a very long time and it will come and go … like high-waisted jeans should. Keto, or ketosis, diets consist of eating foods higher in fats and lower in carbohydrates to stimulate the internal metabolic process of ketosis. Macronutrients on the keto diet range from 60-80% from fats, 10-30% from proteins, and only 5-10% from carbohydrates … AND 0% FROM ALCOHOL. Keep in mind, fats have a value of 9 calories per gram and proteins and carbohydrates have a value of 4 calories per gram.

Ketosis occurs when the body must metabolize fat as fuel because carbohydrates are in such short supply. Typically, this occurs after about 3-5 days of consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. But of course this varies per individual. During ketosis, the body produces ketones or ketoacids, which are diffused from the liver into the blood and transported to body tissue where they can eventually be used as energy. In other words, you are short on carbs so your body is now using fat as its major fuel source. Sounds awesome, right?

Well keto isn’t all glitz and glamour. It has its drawbacks like any other diet. Specifically, this diet is not ok for those who are diabetic or pregnant … oh, and prolonged ketosis can kill you. When your body is in a prolonged state of ketosis the chemical balance of your blood can change resulting in keto-acidosis. A condition that can cause dehydration, coma and even death. This is also seen in uncontrolled diabetes, otherwise known as diabetic ketoacidosis.

So what’s the safest way to do the keto diet? Well first off, as someone who preaches balance to my clients this diet would not be my first suggestion. Exercise often, get good sleep, minimize stress, and consume a balanced diet consisting of protein, carbohydrates, and fat … Ok, I know that sounds like the usual spiel but it works!

Now if you still want to do keto, do it safely. I suggest doing your research to see if the keto diet is right for you and your goals. Then, track it! Download the keto diet app, set your goals, adjust your macros and commit to it. Like the My Fitness Pal app, the keto diet app allows you to input all your food and track how far along you are. In addition to tracking, grab yourself some ketone testing strips from your local pharmacy. Testing strips are used to measure the amount of ketones in your urine. This will help you prevent prolonged ketosis and going overboard with your carbohydrate deficit. After 3 days, test your ketones and do so regularly to be safe. If you ever feel ill or malnourished, STOP!

Want to know more about ketosis? Click the links below or message me for details.