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Does keto really work?

Keto diets are all over the place these days.


What is a keto diet exactly and does it really work?


First of all, a ketogenic diet requires the body to achieve ketosis. Ketosis happens when ketones are released into the bloodstream. The body breaks down these ketones, a type of fuel from the liver, instead of glucose from carbohydrates.


A true keto diet required full compliance. You're either burning ketones or you're not. I hear so often that someone is 'mostly keto'. Mostly keto is basically just low carb. If you're not achieving ketosis, you're not on a true keto diet.


To achieve ketosis, 75% of calories must come from fat, 15-20% from protein and only about 5% from carbs. It usually takes about 3-4 days for ketosis to kick in. (You usually know when you're breath odor changes.)


Studies do show that people may lose weight in the short term from a keto diet, but there are so many drawbacks to it, that I would never recommend it.


First of all, the diet is so restrictive, very few people can maintain it (nor should they) and the weight is almost always gained back. (Yo yo dieting which is so harmful.)


The keto diet can also cause complications such as heart rhythm problems, low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiencies and an increased risk of heart disease. If you have diabetes - type 1 or 2 - it can cause death.


And, to get that many calories from fat, fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low fat dairy products have to be severely restricted or even eliminated. We know these foods have loads of nutritional value and our body needs them to function properly and provide overall good health.


In my opinion, a keto diet is just that – a diet. And going on a ‘diet’ is not the way to achieve long term lifestyle changes. Instead, for a healthy, sustainable change, eat a balanced diet of rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.


Have you tried a keto diet? How did it work for you?

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Karen Marcouiller

Personal Trainer and Health Coach

National Sports and Conditioning Association (NSCA)

American Council on Exercise (ACE)

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