As one of the top searched diets of 2021, and with millions of followers around the world, the ketogenic diet is here to stay. Unfortunately, with lots of interest comes lots of misinformation. A number of myths surround the keto diet – particularly when it comes to what you can eat, how you will feel and why it works.
Suzannah Robin, Operations Director for dietary technology experts Ketoscan, comments:
“The keto diet has a wealth of health benefits including weight loss, a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes, increased levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol and help for drug resistant epilepsy. However, there is a lot of misinformation out there, so it’s important that those thinking about trying a keto diet do their research, and speak to their doctor before beginning their keto journey.”
Here, Suzannah busts the top keto diet myths, to make sure that anyone giving keto a go is armed with the information for success.
The Keto diet is high in protein
One of the most common myths about the ketogenic diet is that it is a high-protein plan, because it often incorporates large quantities of meat and fish.
In reality, the keto diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low carb diet. It’s recommended that those following a keto meal plan eat 5-10% carbohydrates, along with 70-80% fat and 10-20% protein.
An emphasis on healthy fats is the cornerstone of the keto diet, so keto eaters can enjoy plenty of avocados, fatty fish, fatty meats, olive oil and eggs.
You will feel tired
It’s true – the keto flu can hit hard when you’re first adjusting to the diet. This is due to a lack of electrolytes (mainly sodium) and eating fewer calories. To lessen the effects, salt your food a little more than usual and, even though the keto diet can suppress your appetite, make sure that you don’t reduce your calorie intake too suddenly.
The keto flu can make keto dieters give up prematurely, so it’s important to know that it will pass.
Once your body has adapted to burning fat for fuel, your reduced carb intake will stop the sugar spikes and dips that are responsible for that ‘post lunch slump’ on a standard western diet. This means that your energy levels will stabilise, and you should feel more focussed and alert throughout the day.
You can’t eat out on a keto diet
The words ‘diet’ and ‘eating out’ don’t exactly go hand in hand. While you might think that everything on the menu will take you off plan, it is totally possible to eat keto while you’re out and about.
Opt for meats, poultry or seafood served with non-starchy vegetables. Choose options with a non-starchy sauce, or ask if it can be made without flour. In fast food restaurants, a bunless burger with lettuce, onion and tomato is a keto-friendly choice.
Salads are also a great option – go for salad niçoise, chicken Caesar salad and halloumi salads – but hold back on the croutons.
If you’re out for breakfast, it’s easy – avocado, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and bacon are all recommended foods for keto dieters.
The keto diet is a lifestyle change, so it’s important to know that you can still do all the activities you enjoy, like going out for a meal, without worrying that it will kick you out of ketosis. Most restaurants are well versed in dietary requirements and are happy to customise your order.
You never really know if you’re in ketosis
For the keto diet to work, the body must enter a stable level of ketosis. Traditionally it has been difficult to regularly test for ketosis because measuring the body’s ketone levels involved blood or urine testing – not the most convenient when you’re out and about. From a medical point of view, it’s important to keep an eye on your ketone levels, as too much fat-burning can cause ketoacidosis, a serious health condition.
Thanks to the development of highly accurate sensors, a third method is now available – breath analysis. Products such as the Ketoscan Lite and the Ketoscan Mini measure the concentration of ketones (acetone) in your exhaled breath, offering a non-invasive way to check your progress and perfect your food and exercise plan.