The Dangers Of The Keto Diet
What is a ketogenic diet and how healthy is it?
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb or no-carbohydrate diet where people instead eat large proportions of protein and fat (saturated, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated). It is the latest fastest-growing fad out there.
The biggest benefits are getting off of processed foods, sugars, crap breads processed with chemicals and pesticides, even heavy metals in some cases. Naturally, that’s going to help people feel better.
But when it comes to eating heaps of chicken wings, bacon and butter. That is absolutely not good for your health.
What happens when your body goes into Ketosis?
The reason the keto diet is so popular is because it brings on ‘ketosis’.
Ketosis is when the body begins breaking down fat to use for energy. Ketones build up in the bloodstream and shut off the appestat, which is the region of the hypothalamus believed to control appetite.
For people who are overweight and obese or suffering from an eating disorder, this sounds like a good thing. But when you’re eating a lot of fat, your body is mainly burning the fat you’re eating, rather than using your fat stores. People also tend to lose water weight, which makes the diet appear more effective than it actually is because the numbers on the scales go down. So not only are you slowly becoming nutritionally deficient, but the scales are misleading you in the process.
So yes, you can lose weight doing it, but is it healthy? No. It’s not healthy.
You can also end up with symptoms that people call the ‘keto flu’. People experience diarrhoea or constipation and flu-like symptoms that last up to 1-2 months. Now, if you’re eating six chicken wings and bacon and butter and all these animal-based foods, do you really want to have a bunch of dead animals stuck in your digestive system?
Nutritional ketosis through intermittent fasting is much more beneficial for actually burning fat and nourishing your body, and I’ll talk about that below.
How the keto diet affects your body in the long-term
Studies that show the ketogenic diet is safe for long periods, yet only conducted the study for 24 weeks is not a good indicator. Approach this diet with caution. There is not a long-lived culture on this planet that lives a ketogenic type of lifestyle.
The only people in my awareness are people who are living a ketogenic type of lifestyle are people who are living in the Arctic. The Inuit people who have sparse access to foods other than seal blubber and fish. There are medical journals and reports which have shown that these people have an even higher prevalence of stroke than the Western diet.
When we look at any healthy long-lived culture free from most heart disease, cancer, diabetes—and basically all the things we’re trying to avoid—then you start to see blue zones. In every single blue zone it’s a high plant-based diet, high in carbohydrates and good sugars from fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds.
How to experience the benefits of ketosis and stay healthy
If you do want to experience the benefits of ketosis, be guided by some of the longest-living cultures. For example, the ancient Egyptian culture, the ancient Greeks; the Spartans; the Roman Garrisons. Some of the most amazing warriors throughout history, and even some today, would fast all day and eat just one meal a day.
Nutritional ketosis through intermittent fasting burns our own fat and feeds the brain. It actually creates a level of detoxification and healing of ourselves. When the body is given the right nutrients, it enhances your longevity. You don’t get that from gorging on animals and fat.
Now, I know some people promote a vegetarian ketogenic diet. And sure, if you just want to drink coconut oil all day and eat some avocado… but how realistic is it in the long term? Avocados are my favourite food but I’m not just going to eat avocados and drink coconut oil.
I do intermittent fasting every single day, I typically go till about noon before I eat anything. Sometimes if I’ve smashed it out with some training and different things I might eat a little bit earlier if I feel hungry. I usually start out with fruit and I listen to my body.
If you are really overweight or obese then a ketogenic diet may help you lose weight, but you will then want to get into some really nutrient-dense foods to feed your body.
Our brains and bodies need carbohydrates, carbon hydration, oxygen… they’re what we run on: beautiful natural fruit sugars, vegetables, nuts and seeds.
The secret to a healthy ketosis diet is intermittent fasting
We can still achieve the benefits of ketosis through intermittent fasting.
If you wake up and fast until noon, then want to keep that state of ketosis going, steam some broccoli and add a little bit of extra virgin olive oil or some ghee. That will help promote fat loss without adding all the toxicity and high protein that could potentially lead to diabetes, cancer, heart disease and stroke. Eat it as a small meal and then that will keep you going and feeling good until you have dinner.
Around dinner time, you need to load yourself up with some good carbohydrates; bananas, fresh fruit—food in high antioxidants and all the vital nutrients that fight disease and produce energy.
Then after a good fruit load, wait 15-30 minutes for that to digest and then have your dinner. I would recommend a lot of vegetables; a soup or salad, whatever you feel like. Living, plant-based whole foods.
If you would like an introduction to intermittent fasting or extended fasting, I invite you to check out my Heal Thy Self Fast program in Bali. This fasting retreat comes with mind-blowingly delicious fresh organic juices and activities to make the days fly by.
Click on the link to learn more!
Thanks for reading,