You’ve probably been hearing a bit of scuttlebutt about the latest fad diet known as the Keto or ketogenic diet. We wanted to clear up some of the hype and make sure you have our unbiased perspective on the approach.
First you should know that during his formative body building years Tom used a Ketosis (keto) diet approach for the last 4-5 weeks before a contest.
After eating super “clean” for 8-10 weeks, dropping 10-15 lbs and chiseling down to a single digit body fat percentage it always seamed to require a slightly more extreme and aggressive approach to really dial it in. That’s where the Keto approach came in…and it generally worked.
I share that with you so you understand that we’re coming from a place of personal experience not just hear say.
We did a quick comparison of the Keto diet to the “Clean Nutrient Rich” approach to eating we advocate in the Max Mind Lean Body Nutrition Guide.
Here are our Pro’s and Con’s.
“Keto” stands for Ketosis which is a normal metabolic process – something your body does to keep itself working when its not provided “enough” carbohydrates to fuel the cells. Under those glucose deprived circumstances it burns more fat instead. A byproduct of this fat burning process are ketones. High levels of ketones in the body may also be a sign that you’re not producing or using enough insulin. Insulin helps shuttle glucose from the blood stream into the cells where it can be used for fuel. This is one of the reasons diabetics tend to have higher levels of ketones in their bloodstream.
“Low-carb” eating plans like the Ketogenic diet are very similar to the Atkins Diet approach and the Paleo diet, which stress proteins over carbs for fueling your body.
- Ketosis can become dangerous when ketones build up in the body. High levels can lead to dehydration and change the chemical (acid) balance of your blood.
- Although we’re told otherwise – because of it extremely low carbohydrate intake the Ketogenic diet approach can be very difficult for most people.
- To get realy proficient at balancing the diet it requires testing your urine for ketone levels daily.
- There has been little talk about the lack of dietary fiber in a Ketogenic approach. Too little fiber in our diets can have far reaching ramifications that can back the entire system up to a stand still.
- Because of it’s extremely low carbohydrate intake levels it can cause serious, if not temporary dips in physical energy levels.
- Consumption of alcohol can completely negate the ketogenic benefit.
- In addition to helping you burn fat, ketosis can make you feel less hungry.
- Its also been said to help maintain lean muscle while dieting. Note: Tom’s personal experience was just the opposite. He felt hungry all the time and lost 2-3lbs of muscle every time he employed the Ketosis approach (in those days he could afford to lose a little muscle).
- Some research suggests that ketogenic diets might also help lower risk of heart disease.
- Other studies show specific very-low-carb diets help people with metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
CLEAN – Nutrient Rich Eating:
Nutrient-Rich foods are foods that contain an abundance of (micronutrients) vitamins, minerals and complete amino acids but very few calories, additives or preservatives. A variety of healthy foods, such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts and seeds, lean meats and seafood can all be considered “nutrient rich”.
“Clean Eating” simply means eating for health, fitness and longevity more then just taste, instant gratification, or comfort. The primary guidelines around Clean Nutrient Rich eating from Max Mind Lean Body perspective requires eliminating all grains (oatmeal, pasta, bread, rice ets), all dairy (dairy foods are for babies not adults), fried foods, fast foods, and all the crap loaded with sugar.
- Works best when small meals are consumed every three hours. This calls for creating some new habits.
- Requires eliminating the addictive an unhealthy sugary foods including the regular consumption of deserts. Note: If you dive into desert on a regular basis you can stop wondering why the weight just won’t come off. It’s got to go.
- Also requires eliminating all the starchy carbs (oatmeal, pasta, bread, rice est). Eliminating starches isn’t difficult but it does take commitment and planning.
- No “legitimate” excuse for over consuming unhealthy, greasy fried foods.
- Tons of fantastic food and recipe varieties. You’ll never get bored.
- You get to eat frequently. Eating every three hours stimulates your metabolism and keeps your apatite satiated.
- Clean nutrient rich eating has been shown to lower cholesterol, triglycerides, and even the symptoms of arthritis and balance blood glucose levels.
- It also lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
- Eating an abundance of healthy fruits and veggies helps your body spare protein for tissue repair and muscle building.
- Fruits and Vegetables have been shown to boost Brain Power.
- Allows for the moderate consumption of alcohol.
Both the Keto and Clean approaches have their benefits and drawbacks.
The Keto approach is called a diet (Ketogenic Diet) and is very likely a passing fad (although not entirely). Clean Nutrient Rich Eating on the other hand is more of a healthy eating lifestyle and not a diet. Clean eating will never go out of style and will always produce results if fully embraced.
However, like Tom who employed the keto approach during the last few weeks before a contest – if you’re truly struggling to get those stubborn last few pounds off the Keto diet might be just the thing. Otherwise eat clean, eat healthy and watch your body thrive.
We invite your comments and thoughts. Please share and contribute.
Dawn Terwilliger is a Kinesiologist, ACSM certified personal trainer and a successful fitness competitor, coach and model. She’s been featured in several fitness books, magazines and videos and is the co-creator of the Max Mind Lean Body Over 40 Solution and founder of High Achievers University.