The keto diet is something that has been made popular in recent years by it’s shocking before and after transformations. It begs the question, should I start a keto diet?
In this article, we are going to discuss the basics of the keto diet and see if it is right for you.
You might be shocked to find out that it is not for everyone, and there is no such thing as a one size fits all diet.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet, also known as the ketogenic diet is a high fat, high protein, low carb diet. Originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy in children, it turns out that it might also be beneficial for adults as a fat loss plan.
The main claim is that when you are eating a keto diet, your body starts to use fat as fuel instead of carbs. This in turn will make your metabolism speed up and theoretically make you lose weight quicker.
The main goal is to avoid sugar and foods that are high in carbohydrates. You will then focus on eating foods that are high in fats and protein like fish, oils, beef, etc..
Die hard practitioners of the keto diet will make bold claims that this diet is the best diet in all situations. But there is a problem. What if all of these claims are essentially just bro science?
Anytime a new diet comes on the fitness scene, I am always extremely skeptical. There are hundreds of years of data to show us what works and what doesn’t yet it seems like people are always looking for something that changes the game.
From my perspective, it seems like the reason that keto works well for some people is that when carbs are eliminated, you are inherently going to eat less calories.
Imagine a standard American dinner. Grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. If you eliminate the mashed potatoes, you are most likely eliminating half of the calories. Now do that for every meal, and of course you are going to lose weight.
This is the main principle of the keto diet.
Should I start a keto diet?
So you know the basics of the keto diet, but you are still asking yourself, should I start a keto diet? Well, how ready are you for carbs to be eliminated from your diet?
When I first started working out, I went on the keto diet for 3 months to try it out. I lost weight and muscle mass. But there was a problem, I wasn’t trying to lose weight and muscle mass. I was trying to gain muscle.
The die hard keto followers want you to believe that the sheer amount of protein consumed in a keto diet is going to magically grow muscle for you.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the way it works. It turns out, I wasn’t eating enough calories to build muscle in general. I was eating at a caloric deficit. And since carbs were eliminated from my diet, it was impossible to keep up with the actual amount of calories necessary to build muscle.
For those that don’t know, you cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit.
So now we go back to our question, should I start a keto diet? If you want to lose fat quickly, it could be a good option. If you are looking to put on muscle, I recommend against it.
Do not be fooled by the shocking before and after pictures that you see online. It is mostly just people losing fat and revealing the muscle they already had all along.
With that being said, if you don’t really crave carbs and you love different meats, the keto diet could be a good option for you.
Losing fat is all about caloric deficits
If your goal is to lose fat or lose weight in general, you don’t need to go on the keto diet. You just need to control your portions. Portion control is one of the main reasons that people become overweight.
The best thing to do if you want to control your portions is get a digital scale from Amazon, and download an app like MyFitnessPal. Learn to weigh your food and portion things out. You will be amazed at how much a little bit of portion control can do.
Based on my experience, the keto diet essentially has built in portion control. Mostly because your taste buds can only palette so much proteins and fats before you get fed up with your meal.
This doesn’t have to be something that you absolutely need to do. Keto is not the end all be all of diets. If you think that you can control your portions, by all means, you can eat carbs.
The only requirement for losing weight is eating at a caloric deficit. You cannot lose belly fat in a caloric surplus. But how do you know if you are in a caloric surplus or deficit? The key is knowing what your maintenance calories are.
Maintenance calories are the amount of calories that your body burns per day without losing or gaining weight. Make the effort to learn how to calculate them, and then you can eat at a caloric surplus or deficit, depending on your goals.
I recommend eating at 500 calories per day under your maintenance calories if you want to lose weight. You will notice that the fat is going to shed off your body. And this goes for a keto diet or any diet you choose. Caloric deficits are a requirement for losing weight.
Main Point: Should I start a keto diet?
By now, you understand the basics of the keto diet and how it works to help you lose fat. But you might still be asking the question, should I start a keto diet? That is entirely dependent on your lifestyle and dietary requirements.
Let’s not forget that the keto diet is essentially just a trick to help you eat less calories. When you eliminate carbs from your diet, you are naturally going to eat less calories.
And when the fat starts to fly off, you will be tempted to attribute this fat loss to the keto diet. In all reality, it is the caloric deficit that helped you shed the fat.
Remember that caloric deficits are the most important part of fat loss. You literally cannot lose fat if you are not in a caloric deficit, no matter how hard you workout.
My best recommendation to you is to eat at a caloric deficit AND workout regularly. If you combine these 2 things together, you are going to be unstoppable.