We need to stop thinking bacon is the enemy
The keto diet is a hot topic getting a ton of press for its amazing health and weight loss benefits. As a result, myths abound, including false comments from many low-carb critics who claim it’s “unsafe.” So, let’s debunk some of the common misconceptions surrounding the ketogenic diet!
Myth #1: Eating fat makes you fat.
The body creates fat when our dietary intake of carbohydrates exceeds our storage capacity. A diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates can encourage weight loss in the following ways:
- Increases satiety leading to reduced hunger pains and overeating — a.k.a. you’re fuller longer.
- Balances hormones that cause false hunger cues and inability to burn fat — helps trigger the ketosis process.
- Utilizes our stored fat as a primary energy source resulting in weight loss — this is where the magic happens!
Eating fat alongside lowering carbs tells the body to burn more fat!
Myth #2: Ketosis is dangerous and life-threatening.
The threat of ketoacidosis is one of the biggest misunderstandings surrounding the ketogenic diet. Ketosis and ketoacidosis are entirely different conditions, not even in the same ballpark!
Nutritional ketosis is a natural process when your body is safely using fat as its primary fuel source and is not harmful or dangerous.
Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition experienced by Type 1 and late stage Type 2 diabetics who are unable to produce or use insulin. Ketoacidosis causes an extreme elevation in ketones in addition to a very high elevation of blood sugar.
Myth #3: Carbohydrates are essential.
Ok, let’s get something straight: there are certain nutrients that our bodies cannot make. We must consume these in our diet to maintain normal body function — thus we call these nutrients “essential.” However, carbohydrates are not one of them.
Yes, there are a small set of systems in our bodies that do require carbs to function, but our bodies can turn on this magical process to make what it needs called gluconeogenesis… gluco-neo-whato?? This literally translates to “the making of [genesis] new [neo] sugar [gluco]”. Ta-da!
Myth #4: The keto diet causes nutritional deficiencies.
Honestly, this is funny to me as I find more nutritional deficiencies in the typical American diet than in those who are fat-fueled. When done correctly, keto is one of the most nutritious diets out there. A well-formulated ketogenic diet contains ample healthy vitamin/mineral-packed fats, proteins, vegetables, and some fruits. Any nutrient we miss from limiting carbs can be obtained from other healthy food sources while still eating a keto diet.
Myth #5: Keto diet raises cholesterol and increases risk of heart disease.
A very big misconception out there is that cholesterol is “bad.” This couldn’t be further from the truth. Did you know the majority of the cholesterol in our blood is created by our own bodies? And in fact, if we eat less of it, our bodies just make more! Research has revealed that lowering your cholesterol levels through dietary intervention does not reduce your risk of death from coronary heart disease.
There’s a lot of misinformation out there regarding the health benefits of keto and this typically stems from lack of research and education, even by many of our trusted healthcare professionals. Fortunately, there is research to debunk the myths. Stay tuned for more keto myth busters!
Tara Finnerty RDN, CSP, CD—is a ketogenic specialist and fat-fueled enthusiast. Tara is a registered dietitian in Utah and owner of Sugar House Nutrition LLC. Her aim is to provide nutrition support for people wanting to reap the many health benefits of the ketogenic (keto) diet. Her expertise in the keto diet was initially working with children who have uncontrolled epilepsy. Tara supports nutrition diversity and works toward helping people find an individualized approach to make healthy eating sustainable.