‘I could never eat a high fat diet! I’m trying to lose weight!’
‘Eating a diet high in fat will clog your arteries!’
‘I could never give up carbs!’
If you’ve heard of ketosis, then you’ve likely heard some of the above statements in opposition to following a high fat diet. Ketosis is actually a wonderful diet for managing blood sugar, lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation, aiding in weight loss, and is the only diet proven to prevent and even reverse Alzhemier’s and dementia! There are SO many reasons to try it, and very few legitimate ones not to.
Below are a few of the most common keto misconceptions that I’ve dealt with. I’ll be adding to this list every few weeks, so be sure to follow along!
Fat makes you FAT!
This is so far from the truth (the truth being that excessive CARBOHYDRATES are actually what make you fat). Our body can run off of 2 fuels (in conjunction with oxygen): fat or glucose. It can’t run off both at the same time. When we burn out our insulin receptors (which most of us do early on due to following SAD – the Standard American Diet – which is higher in carbs than necessary ), and continue to put carbohydrates in the body, it’s only recourse is to store the carbohydrates for fat. When the body can’t get glucose into the cell because it’s either overloaded or burnt out, the glucose will get sent back to the liver where it gets converted into fat and stored. Our lean muscle will start to shift over and become more marbled with this fat. You can turn this around. When we teach our body to run off of fat as it’s primary fuel, we are also teaching it to run off our OWN fat as fuel. It will literally retrain you to tap into your own fat sources, once you’ve burned through that fat that you’ve consumed, to burn for energy.
High fat = high cholesterol
Again, so far from the truth. I’ve seen time and time again that a diet high in healthy fats will actually bring elevated cholesterol down into normal ranges. How does it do this? By normalizing hormones and decreasing inflammation. I’ll do an expanded blog post on cholesterol later, but there are so many huge misconceptions about cholesterol, from normal ranges to why it gets elevated in the first place. Cholesterol is the building block for all 10 trillion cells in our body. When it’s elevated it’s because there is some fire in the body that it’s trying to put out.
In the meantime, if you’re interested in reading more about common misconceptions surrounding cholesterol, our diets, and our food supply, I’d encouraged you to pick up the book The Big Fat Surprise by Nina Teicholz. And prepare to be mind blown. (You’re welcome).
Ketosis is dangerous
While it’s true that ketosis works better for some people that it does for others, to say that it’s dangerous is simply untrue WHEN it’s applied correctly. The only time ketosis can be dangerous is if you’re leading with protein and enter into a state of ketoacidosis (excess ketones in the blood stream). Ketoacidosis can NOT be reached when you’re leading the diet with healthy fat, and WILL be reached when you’re leading your diet with protein. Study after study proves this. When applying ketosis correctly, approximately 60% of your plate should be healthy fats… Followed by greens, AND THEN protein. Protein portions are always secondary. You see, the body can only use so many amino acids (the building blocks of protein) for muscle protein synthesis, which is the process by which muscle cells repair and grow. Every time you eat protein, the liver converts its nitrogen, which the kidneys then process and allow you to excrete from your body through urine. If the liver doesn’t properly process the nitrogen, or has excessive protein to process, it will allow it to build up in the blood as ammonia. Heightened levels of ammonia in the blood will lead one into a state of ketoacidosis. Wondering if you’re eating too much protein? Symptoms range from feeling foggy brained, nauseous, fatigued having headaches, etc. In extreme cases, living in a state of ketoacidosis for prolonged periods of time can lead to death. So load up on those fats and fear not! Your brain and body will thank you.
I can never have carbs again!
Wrong, wrong, wrong! Carbs are an important part of ketosis for anyone following the diet who has a daily workout regimen. What you need to understand about carbs + keto is that timing is everything. If carbs are going to go in, whether they be in the form of fruit, starchy vegetable, or grain, you need to make sure that you put in just enough to burn off, and then go do so! Carbs before exercise = perfect. Exercise + being in ketosis = no bueno. Your body is actually going to need the carbohydrates to tap into for rapid energy release. If you’re in a state of ketosis and don’t add in carbs before exercise, you’re going to crash either during your workout or later in the day. They’re super important for this reason.
Questioning a misconception that I missed? Email it over and I’d be happy to include it on my next post!