The ketogenic diet is currently trending as the best diet for weight loss to date. It’s a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet that produces ketones — the result of the breakdown of fats in the liver — to be used as energy.
With the keto diet showing up all over the news, in forums, magazines, and in conversations at the gym, there’s a lot of things being said that are true, but a lot of things that aren’t so true as well.
We’ve compiled a list of a few myths that’ve been debunked about going keto.
MYTH: You can eat as much fat as you want.
While about 75% of your daily calories should come from fat sources, this doesn’t mean you can eat all of the saturated fats that you want to get your fats in. Unsaturated fats are still the preferred option on the keto diet, and lots of them. Olive oil, nuts, seeds, fish, grass-fed red meat, eggs, turkey, and avocado are just a few examples that make the keto cut.
MYTH: It’s dangerous.
Just like with anything there are downsides, but the ketogenic diet isn’t inherently dangerous.
Everyday Health lists the potential downsides, including: kidney stones, vitamin and mineral deficiencies, decreased bone mineral density, gastrointestinal distress, and an increased risk of higher cholesterol and heart disease.
Staying hydrated, easing into fasting if you choose to do so, and ensuring you know and hit your daily macros are essential to avoiding these potential downsides.
MYTH: Going keto means zero alcohol consumption.
Beer and wine are generally carbohydrate-heavy, but there are still options should you choose to continue drinking alcohol while going keto. Most liquors, some light beers, and dry wines are low to no carb, which is keto friendly.
Alcohol isn’t totally out of the question, but you do have to be a bit more conscious of what you choose, and careful when drinking and going keto. Keep in mind that your alcohol tolerance will likely be lower while eating ketogenic.
MYTH: Ketoacidosis and ketosis are synonymous.
Ketoacidosis and ketosis are not the same things.
“Ketosis is the metabolic process of using fat as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. This means your body is directly breaking down its fat stores as energy instead of slowly converting fat and muscle cells into glucose for energy,” according to Perfect Keto. Basically, when there aren’t enough carbohydrates to use for energy, the body goes into ketosis and begins to break down fats.
On the other hand, ketoacidosis, typically seen in diabetics and sometimes others who follow the keto diet, can be life-threatening. Ketoacidosis is a “condition resulting from dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar,” according to Healthline, which causes the blood to become too acidic and affects organ function.
MYTH: Fasting is a requirement of the ketogenic diet.
It’s not a requirement; you do not have to fast to go keto. Too, it’s typically not recommended that you incorporate fasting into the keto diet until you’ve eased into the process, such as lowering your carb intake slowly or going alkaline first.
However, intermittent fasting while going keto does have many benefits. It can accelerate weight loss, detoxification, and help control hunger and cravings.
MYTH: It’s a high-protein diet.
Not true — According to Perfect Keto, you should be getting about 75% of daily calories from fat, 5% from carbohydrates, and 20% from protein.
The Dietary Reference Intake suggests adults get 10-35% of their daily calories from protein, therefore a high-protein diet would mean 30-35% of your calories are coming from protein sources.
MYTH: You have to say goodbye to working out.
You don’t have to stop exercising if you choose to go keto, but it is true that you may have to modify your workouts. Because going keto is such a big change to the body, it’s likely that you won’t feel great for at least the first few days or weeks.
Shape Magazine suggests maintaining moderate intensity exercise and not trying anything new, such as a new class or aiming for a PR until your body has adjusted to the keto diet. It’s also important to make sure that you’re consuming enough fats to sustain your workouts.
Benefits of exercise during ketosis include 2-3 times more fat burn, blood glucose maintenance, lesser fatigue with sustained activity.