Nutrition, Fat Loss

Should I do the Keto Diet if I Want to Lose Weight?

By Joe Talarico on Feb 19, 2020 11:20:00 AM
6 Minutes Reading Time

 

I’m not into telling people what to do. But with the mistakes I’ve seen, I AM into educating people as much as I can on a topic. From there, they can not only make the best decision for themselves, but know the positives (which is all anyone usually focuses on) AND the negatives of following a new diet. Then from that, you can make a way more objective decision for yourself, and see how you feel. Before we get into this I will say my approach that works best for most people is always somewhere in the middle. We’re omnivores. We have evolved to eat both animals and plants as well as fruits. To restrict our bodies from any one category exclusively limits what we can eat and never does as well as the diet that allows for more flexibility.

One more thing, before you approach ANY diet, I want you to make sure you ask yourselves two very important questions:

How many other diets have I tried and not stuck with?

What are the downsides of me not sticking to this one?

Keep these in mind as I now get into the pro’s and con’s of trying to use a Keto diet to lose weight. 

PRO’S

Gut Issues - Alot of people who have gone keto, have noticed it has helped them with their gut issues. By lowering your carb intake you are presumably lowering the intake of food that feeds the bad bacteria in your gut.

Mental Clarity - 25% of the fuel used by the brain comes from fats. They are classifying Alzheimer’s as Type 3 diabetes. The sheath that coats your nerves are made from fat. So clearly, fats play a big role in cognition. Clients have noticed a huge jump in mental clarity and energy when they switched to high fat. By not having the insulin swings from carbs in each meal, their energy is kept more sustained.

Satiety - Eating more protein and higher fats is very satiating. Think of the last time you ate a big steak (which is all protein and fat). It is extremely filling, and not only that, hours later you’ll find that you are still feeling the satiety effects of that meal. Protein takes awhile to breakdown, and fat provides a lot of energy so it makes sense that this would sustain you longer than a regular meal. And if you are feeling fuller longer, there’s a good chance you’ll naturally eat less (thus putting you into a deficit and why so many people find it’s easy to lose weight on keto).

Learning true hunger - When I went higher fat, lower carb, I did it because I wanted to curb my snacking. I ate chips all day and night and nothing could stop me. I thought nothing would ever end this snacking. Switching to this lifestyle of eating, I noticed I was no longer craving snacks. The fullness I got carried me throughout the day, and I found the immense value of eating whole foods versus processed garbage and the effect they had. It showed me what actual hunger feels like and not just eating for the sake of it.

CON’S

Super Restrictive - Any time you go on an elimination diet you are limited as to what you can eat. Going keto means you’re basically only eating butter, bacon, avocado, nuts, oils, meat and fish. That can get old after awhile and have you feeling bored with your meals

Weight Gained Back - When you decide to finish your keto diet and add other foods back in, you might have a huge bounce back in weight. This is because you restricted carbs for so long, that your body might not be able to handle the big influx of carbs when you introduce them back in.

Keto Flu - If you do go keto, make SURE you cycle carbs in once and awhile. This isn’t a diet that is made to be adhered to long term. As such, you want to keep your body metabolically flexible to handle carbs or fats at any given time. If it can’t do that, then you aren’t optimal. After all, what’s going to happen when you’ve finally become fat adapted, and show up at a wedding only to binge hard on carbs? Your body won’t be able to handle it. Trust me, once you have a taste of carbs, you are GOING to want to binge.

Social Acceptance - This isn’t a huge deal but for some it might be. Keep in mind when you go out to restaurants, because your meal plan is limited, you might have to special order from the waiter, or even bring your own foods. Not exactly the life of the party.

Calories - Fat while satiating is also almost TWICE the calories per gram as a protein or carb. One calorie of fat is 9 grams while one calorie of protein or carbs is only 4 grams, so just keep that in mind as it’ll be very easy to over eat high fat foods versus a carb source (think oils, and nut butters versus eating oatmeal or a sweet potato).

Performance - Anything explosive or weights based in the gym recover better off of carbs. Fat’s are better utilized for longer endurance events. In other words, if you are a lifter, your body will grow and make more progress having had some carbs in your diet. If you lower this too much you may see your performance in the gym drops. Just be aware. Carb cycling can help with this.

It’s Ultimately Up to You

When it comes to any diet let alone keto diets, don’t just do it because it's trending, and your friends or favorite Instagrammer are saying it's great for weight loss. If you DO try it, realize no diet should be followed indefinitely. It should be cycled out. Your body is built for survival. If you restrict for too long, when you finally do eat your body is going to build new fat cells because it does not want to be kept in that starving state again. Going on an accidental carb binge, your body will do whatever is necessary to prevent that. And because your body is built for survival and stuck in a deficit for so long it’s going to want to be prepared for the next “famine”. So it’ll increase its potential for fat stores during the binge to prevent you from dropping all the body weight you didn’t want in the first place. At the end of the day, it’s good to safely experiment with your body to learn how it works and over time what works best for it. So try it out, and see what you think.

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Joe Talarico

Joe is a certified Precision Nutrition and strength & conditioning coach. He assisted the UCLA Women’s Tennis team in winning their 2014 NCAA Championship Title, as well as study under the great strength coaches at Pepperdine University. He was a collegiate rower at the University of Rhode Island (where he got his Kinesiology degree) as well as an amateur physique competitor. He is currently the master trainer at Upgrade Labs in Santa Monica where he is combining his years of training clients in the gym with newer technology to optimize their performance and recovery. He also cohosts The RelationSH*T Show Podcast with his fiancée where they discuss all relationship topics unfiltered from who pays on dates, to open relationships.

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