10 Secrets and the Powerful Truth About Keto & High Fat Diets
Despite the media trends, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized the low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet for weight loss. Dr. Atkins diet began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase (absolutely no carbohydrates even from quality sources).
Then, people were able to shift to a very low carb diet, and were allowed a serving of berries a day. Over the years, other low-carb diets like South Beach came along. They were all a new spin on an old (failed) model. Dr. Atkins died at the age of 72. He had several health conditions. There’s debate about whether his diet contributed, depending on what you read. We do know he had irregular heart beats and a cardiac arrest prior to his death.
The truth about a ketogenic diet is that they are bad for your health. ANY diet will work if you restrict your intake. People lose weight because they are mindful of what they eat and how much. There are severe health consequences of eating so much fat. The problem is, the consequences won’t develop in a week or a month, so people don’t connect the dots.
What Is A Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is devoid of all carbohydrates. Keep reading.
What is a carbohydrate?
Carbohydrates contain glucose or fructose or both. This is the technical term, but you may think of carbohydrates as “sugar”.
What we need to do here is differentiate the types of carbohydrates people eat. Sugar from an apple is not the same as sugar from a donut, granola bar, or most any boxed cereal.
If we need to, let’s differentiate by calling them good/quality/clean carbohydrates and bad/poor/processed carbohydrates.
Good carbohydrates are:
- Fresh or frozen whole unprocessed fruits
- Starchy veggies like a steamed or baked potato
- Whole unrefined grains like brown rice, whole wheat, millet, quinoa
- Legumes like black or pinto beans, lentils
Bad forms of carbohydrates are: candy, soda, boxed cereals, as well as many refined “food-like” products. Notice that I don’t even call them food. They don’t resemble the original food that came out of the garden or out of the field.
In a grey area are things like lentil pasta. Lentils are a whole food but now processed into a pasta. There’s usually nothing insidious added. Although processed, they still have more nutrients than a snack bar or white pasta.
What fuel source does our body desire? Fat or Carbohydrate?
There is a HUGE lie being told out there in the popular press. People now believe our bodies run on fat. This is not true. Our bodies prefer carbohydrates as a fuel source. Our bodies were divinely designed to use carbohydrates as fuel. We can run on fat if its the only food/fuel available, but it’s not ideal and the body will always shift back to carbohydrates as fuel if they are available. It’s why people have to “start over” when they cheat on a low-carb diet. It takes a few days for the body to switch to fat as a fuel source. The truth is, a ketogenic diet forces your body to run on a less-than-ideal fuel. Keep reading.
What happens if you limit carbohydrates?
When people limit or omit carbohydrates, the body will use up glucose reserves first (phase 1). Just like we keep money in the bank, our body keeps a supply of glucose around for a rainy day.
But then, after using up carbohydrate stores, the body must turn to fat as a source of energy (phase 2). It has no other choice. A car won’t run without gas and similarly, your body won’t run without some type of fuel.
When the body is forced to turn to fat as an alternate fuel source, stored fat in the body is broken down. This is how people lose weight.
It might sound great, but the truth about a ketogenic diet is that there are the deleterious side effects. Keep reading because even if you aren’t eating a ketogenic/paleo/low-carb diet, chances are you are still eating too much fat on a daily basis, and the result is some form of chronic disease.
The Basics: Macro nutrients?
There are only 3 food groups and their technical term is macro nutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. You’ve heard of these although you might not have realized they are called macronutrients.
When we omit or limit carbohydrates, the only choices left are proteins and fats right? We turn to animal foods for protein, and avocado’s, nuts & seeds, and oils for fat right?
You think animal foods are protein, with some fat.
In fact, most animal foods are loaded with fat.
This is why people are eating more fat than they realize!!! They are getting fat in their animal foods, and fat in the fatty foods.
Fat Analysis of Popular Animal Foods
Below are 1 oz portions for reference/comparison purposes.
- Of course you know that bacon is loaded with fat right? It’s (at least) 70% fat with 90 of 130 calories from fat.
- Cheddar cheese is 78% fat. Whoa! Even more than bacon! Who knew when the dairy industry has been brainwashing us that it’s a great source of protein and calcium! 90 of its 114 calories are from fat.
- Eggs are 61% fat. 27 of 64 calories are from fat.
- 90% Lean ground beef is 50% fat!!! 27 out of 60 calories are from fat.
- Ground elk (without added fat) is 50% fat. 22 of 55 calories are from fat.
- Mary’s brand free range ground turkey is ~ 30 % fat. 9 out of 30 calories are from fat.
- Skinless boneless chicken breast is 25% fat. 9 of 36 calories are from fat.
- Wild coho salmon baked or grilled is 25% fat. 10 out of 40 calories are from fat.
- Cod ranks better with minimal calories from fat (if steamed or baked of course!)
Have I convinced you that keto and low-carb diets, rich in animal foods, results in the over consumption of fat intake? I hope so!
Too much fat is unhealthy and I’ve got 10 reasons if you keep reading.
Yes, we need fat. But. You need way less fat than the popular press would have you believe. My patients find themselves thriving on a 10% fat diet. Even if you aren’t overweight, too much dietary fat results in chronic health conditions.
The powerful truth about a keto diet…Why is Too Much Fat Bad for us? 10 Secrets (no one is talking about!)
- Fat stimulates the release of adrenaline. Our adrenal glands are the organ secreting this adrenaline, so eating too much fat causes them to do extra work above and beyond our stressful days.
- Excess fat accumulates first in the organs, and the blood stream. It will show up here before it shows up as weight gain. Now I want you to imagine a test tube. Fill it with beef broth and the fat drippings. Can you see that it’s a finite amount of space and so the fat displaces the beef broth? Now imagine the test tube with your blood and the fat you eat. Your red blood cells carry oxygen to your tissues including your brain and heart. If you have too much fat, it displaces the number of red blood cells in the test tube (and bloodstream).
- Fat coats the “doors” or receptors of our cells. Just like if you had fat all over the doorknob and inside the key hole, it makes it difficult for you to get the door open. Fat in our body does the same thing. This is exactly what insulin resistance is. And if left untreated, it results in pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. It’s not really the carbohydrates that are the root cause. It’s the fat making the doorknob/receptor slippery and it won’t open. The glucose is stuck in the blood stream so yes, blood sugar values go up but it’s secondary to the fat. We’ve known this for 20 years now and medical models are changing but it’s a slow process.
- Fat oxidizes any metals you have in your body, including metals in your brain. If you’ve seen a cast iron pan get rusty, you know this is bad. We ALL have metals inside of us for various reasons and we do not want them to oxidize!
- Fat builds up in the digestive tract and coats it, just like bacon grease would coat your drain pipes if you didn’t run hot water down the sink afterwards. This hinders nutrient absorption.
- Fat overwhelms the liver since it is responsible for filtering and cleaning the blood so it can go out to the heart and brain with maximum oxygen and nutrition.
- We also need to talk about how toxins and waste products accumulate when the liver has its hands full with too much fat. The liver is responsible for hundreds – maybe up to 2000 – jobs. Breaking down fat is a priority, so other jobs like processing toxins for elimination, get side lined.
- Too much fat day after day, over time, exhausts the liver who is producing the bile to break it down. And too much fat exhausts the pancreas who also helps break down the fat. The result is often SIBO or some form of GI condition because the production of HCl, stomach acids, and other digestive juices is hindered and GI conditions set in.
- Fats in the bloodstream, mixed in your blood, allow a safe haven for pathogens to hide! God gave us immune system warriors but you are making their job harder if your blood also contains high amounts of fat too.
- I hope you already knew this last one. Too much fat in the blood stream is the foundation of heart disease, clots, and strokes right? Diets heavy in animal foods and perhaps a high salt intake are linked to increased mortality (death).
Is a Keto diet ever indicated?
The truth is…No.
Although there are studies showing ketogenic diets can and have been used to prevent seizures (a neurological disorder), there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat other neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, anxiety, depression, restless leg syndrome, sciatica, vertigo, tinnitus….
Weight loss is the primary reason people use a ketogenic diet. It may help people lose weight, but at what cost?! Increased death from some other condition??? C’mon.
And, the difference in weight loss disappears over time, as a ketogenic diet is hard to stick with. It’s fun for awhile to gorge on meat and cheese, but it gets old pretty fast.
By the way, “yo-yo diets” that lead to rapid weight loss – and then a regaining of weight – are associated with increased mortality as well.
If you cut back on animal foods because they are high fat, do you need a protein powder?
Short answer: No. You need way less protein than you’ve been led to believe.
You do not need protein powders, special drinks, and such.
Why? Because ALL foods have protein. Almost as much as animal foods do!
- Broccoli is 40% protein
- Raw spinach is almost 50% protein
- Onions are about 10% protein
As long as you get enough calories in a day, you’ll get enough protein because every single thing you eat has protein.
Eating a hamburger doesn’t mean that meat automatically turns into a bicep. All food gets broken down during digestion, goes to the liver for chemical processing, and then out to the body. Animal foods are harder for the body to use. They require stronger digestion to break them down, a lot of bile to disperse the fat, and more chemical processing in the liver.
I wasn’t really taught all of this in graduate school, even at Bastyr University which specializes in natural holistic health, but over the past 20 years, I’ve certainly come to see that we’ve been fed some lies.
There have (too many long-standing) partnerships between the USDA and powerful animal industries (Beef council, Egg council, Dairy council, etc) and the truth has been altered so they can sell their products.
At a cost to your health.
What is a health promoting diet then?
If you have now learned that you are likely eating too much protein, and too much fat especially if you are eating low/no carb, then what should you eat?!
A produce-rich diet high in unprocessed fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens should be the basis of calories for the day. You don’t have to go vegan, but “plant-strong” would be a great goal.
Unprocessed accessory foods like whole grains and legumes can come along side those fruits/veggies/leafy greens, but what your body wants more than anything for long term health is loads of fresh nutrient dense produce.
These ARE the big guns for restoring and preserving health. You can read more in my article “What is the Healthiest Diet Plan?”
What are the ratio’s of a healthy diet?
80% of your diet should be fruits (fresh or frozen) but without any additives.
10% of your diet should be protein, and you can easily get that on a plant-based (vegan) diet.
10% of your diet should be fat, and you can easily get that without even eating an avocado or using any oils. Most people feel more satiated with fat ratio’s being in the range of 10-20% but they absolutely should not be higher than that.
Note that reading a label and calculating your fat intake for the day are two entirely different things. In order to truly track this, you’ll need to set up a free account online and enter your diet intake. I use cronometer.com
If you use cronometer.com to track your intake, you can change the master settings in settings/targets as it will be set up with higher protein and higher fat ratio’s if you use their stock settings.
What do I eat as a nutritionist?
I am 5’2, and I eat 1300 to 1500 calories on an average day. I sit and stand for a living. I do exercise but it’s 30-45 minutes several days a week and not extreme. I easily meet my fat and protein requirements, without using a protein supplement and without eating added fats. As long as I eat enough calories for my size and activity, I easily meet my macronutrient needs.
Every one is different and part of my job is to help each person find his/her ideal diet! If you need help, I’ll meet you where you are. We’ll review your goals and find you the most efficient way to get there.
Bottom Line – The Powerful Truth About Ketogenic Diets
Keto and low-carb diets force the body away from its ideal fuel which is carbohydrates.
If you eat ketogenic/low-carb, you will be eating too much fat. It may work for weight loss, but it’s hard to maintain long term and it’s associated with an increased rate of death. There are consequences of eating too much fat. Be sure to really review and understand the consequences before eating a keto diet.
If you are eating ketogenic/low-carb, you will also be eating too much protein. There are consequences of eating too much protein as well.
If you want to learn more, check out The Blue Zones research. Dan Buettner traveled across the globe and found the communities whose elders live with vim and vigor to record-setting ages! He’s written a few books, lectures quite a bit, and will be easy to find. I”m not saying we all need to live in to our 100’s but don’t you want to be healthy as you age? You can be, but you’ll need to change your dietary habits.
The plant-strong science is rising to the top although still censored and lobbied against. But it’s there.
And, you can also find a strong online community of plant-strong researchers including MD’s. Some of my favorites are Dr. Neal Barnard, Dr. T Colin Campbell, and Dr Caldwell Esselstyn.
I hope you found value in this information. It’s the powerful truth about keto that no one is talking about!
CEO and Founder of Healthy Lifestyles Inc (since 1999!)
America’s Virtual & Integrative Nutritionist
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