Over the last decade or so, rather than following high protein, moderate fat, low carb diets such as Atkins, people have instead embraced healthy fats and are following diet protocols such as “keto.”
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate diet that has been proven to assist with muscle growth and retention, along with fat loss. In fact, keto diets can turn your body into a fat burning machine, and make you lean and ripped in no time at all.
Ketogenic diets, while being very popular, are not without their critics. Unfortunately, many keto diet critics happen to be very misinformed and draw negative conclusions about the diet based on ‘facts’ that simply are not true.
There are many common myths and misconceptions associated with keto diets, and to list each one would take us all day.
Instead, let’s take a look at 5 of the most common misconceptions about keto diets, before clearing each one up once and for all.
1. Low carb keto diets waste muscle
One common misconception associated with keto diets is that they trigger muscle atrophy and cause followers of the diet to lose muscle. This, however, is 100% NOT TRUE. In fact, keto diets have a muscle sparing effect and can assist with the growth and maintenance of muscle mass if the diet is followed correctly.
The reason for this is that keto diets cause the body to work differently than it would on a regular low-calorie diet. Low-calorie diets do indeed result in muscle catabolism when the body burns the muscles for fuel.
With keto, however, as the brain prefers ketone bodies for fuel.
It uses these and instructs the body to burn stored body fat for energy instead, leaving your muscle reserves well alone. The body has been trained to burn fat for fuel.
2. Your brain requires a lot of glucose to function
Another very common misconception around keto diets is that they can damage the brain as the brain requires glucose to function correctly.
Now, if you are followed a well-structured keto diet, the primary source of energy for the brain will be ketones. It still requires a tiny amount of glucose, though this can be obtained from protein, and from the small amount of daily carbs you are consuming (20g or so).
This is known as gluconeogenesis. When on keto, not only are you giving your brain its preferred source of energy, you’ll also notice improvements in mental clarity, cognition, focus, and alertness.
Put simply, keto diets can be incredibly good for your brain.
3. Keto diets result in vitamin deficiencies
A lot of keto naysayers will be quick to talk about how ketogenic diets cause vitamin deficiencies and therefore can put your health at risk, but once again this is not the case.
While it’s true that most fruits are off limits as they contain fructose sugars, there are still countless other vegetables and food sources out there that are loaded with nutrients, which should be consumed on a daily basis.
People think that keto diets are all about wolfing down fried eggs, bacon, and cheese every day, with not a vegetable in sight. Reality, however, is quite the opposite
In fact, to follow keto correctly, your diet should be rich in plenty of fresh, healthy, and nutritious produce. If you do your research and follow the plan carefully, any keto diet can provide you with more than enough nutrients required by your body, so make sure you do your homework.
4. Keto can damage your bones
Another misconception associated with keto diets is that they cause your bones to excrete minerals such as calcium, causing osteoporosis.
This again is NOT TRUE. Very high protein diets can result in a loss of calcium from the bones. Keto is not a high protein diet; it’s a high-fat diet. Big difference.
5. Keto diets clog your arteries
When talking about myths and misconceptions surrounding keto, this is probably the most common one of all. Needless to say, it is not true, and here’s why.
Even with all of the proven research and data associated with the consumption of healthy fats, people still think that “fat is bad” and that all fats will clog your arteries and cause heart disease.
In fact, studies have found that healthy fats can lower LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol while increasing HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) cholesterol levels. LDL cholesterol is the bad cholesterol that causes fatty deposits to build up in your arteries, whereas HDL is good for you and lowers LDL cholesterol.
Unhealthy fats such as trans fats and artificial saturated fats should be avoided, but healthy fats such as polyunsaturated, monounsaturated, and even natural saturated fats, should be consumed.
Typical examples of healthy fat sources include whole organic eggs, oily fish, avocado, almonds, almond nut butter, grass-fed red beef, grass-fed dairy.
As long as to follow the rules of the keto diet, you’ll benefit from it. It will take a while to get used to it because you’ll need to change your eating habits.
However, within a few weeks, you’ll get into the swing of things and you’ll shed your excess pounds and feel much more active and energetic. Don’t knock it if you’ve not tried it. It really works.