Is the Keto Diet Healthy? I get asked a lot of questions about health, what to eat, what not to eat and when to eat. It saddens me that so many people go to great lengths to follow mainstream advice that actually harms them instead of improving their health and vitality. Advice which is often based in sensationalist scaremongering and ‘old’ science.
So often the will to change and be healthy is there but the guidance is wrong. There is so much misinformation about healthy verse unhealthy fats, cholesterol and heart health, as well as the current vegan movement.
Examples of ‘Unhealthy Swaps’ include:
Avoiding fats in favour of sugar, such as opting for skimmed milk instead of full fat or cream.
Limiting red meat consumption for fear of carcinogens and eating inflammatory legumes instead.
Shunning eggs and bacon for breakfast to limit cholesterol intake whilst consuming sugary granola and cereals instead.
Harmful Calories, Not just ‘Empty’ Calories
These Swaps are not just empty calories, they are harmful when overconsumed, particularly when combined with a predominantly sedentary lifestyle.
Although this is a ketogenic focussed blog, that does not mean that keto is the only healthy diet—of course not! For each individual person with their unique lifestyles and genetics will be more suited to different foods and ways of eating—and this will evolve throughout the course of their lifetime, age, season and geographical location. We need to figure out what works for us.
Keto isn’t for Everyone
Is the keto diet healthy for you? In general, a lower carb approach suits the majority of people from the Northern Hemisphere as it reflects foods which would be more readily available, such as meats, green vegetables and fats. People located nearer to the equator can be more suited to a carbohydrate-based diet—including animal meats and fats—as they are surrounded by fruits and vegetables year-round.
Either way, no human is designed for a diet of processed sugars, degraded fats and the fruits that have been so genetically modified they no longer resemble—or taste—like the natural fruit. Gluten, grain and wheat products are also a relatively recent introduction to our diet which is quite closely linked to leaky gut syndrome which increases an individual’s likelihood of developing other allergies.
A Simple Formula for Health:
I always advise people to eat real food—it looks like the plant or animal that it is, i.e. non -processed foods—and take into account their ancestry, geographical location and season.
Start with a protein—ideally animal based since these have an optimum amino acid profile for human muscle synthesis.
If your budget allows, grass-fed, wild caught or organic is preferable. If you can only do this for one food item, try to buy free range eggs.
Add in Green Vegetables or Salad Leaves—we source many of our mineral, electrolyte and vitamin requirements from green vegetables. They are more digestible when cooked.
Green Vegetables and Salad could be: Broccoli, Courgette, Spinach, Asparagus, Chard, Kale, Bok Choi, Cauliflower (not so green!), Aubergine, Rocket, Lettuce
Cook in a Saturated Fat—saturated fats are stable under heat and increase the absorption of the nutrients from the protein and vegetables. Fats are also satiating—filling you up for longer.
Sources of saturated fats: Butter, Ghee, Coconut Oil, Lard, Tallow, Sustainably Sourced Palm Oil.
Dress with a Cold Pressed Oil or Monounsaturated Fat, such as Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Monounsaturated and Polyunsaturated Fats are unstable under heat and therefore should not be warmed past their smoking point.
Add Mineral Salt
We need mineral salt, so add real salt to your food. Real Salt includes: Volcanic Salt, Celtic Sea Salt, Pink Himalayan Salt, Rock Salt—but NOT table salt which has had the minerals removed!
Is the keto diet healthy? It certainly is if you follow the simple formula above.
If you follow a more moderate carbohydrate diet then feel free to add in Root Vegetables.
Root vegetables include: Squash, Sweet Potato, Beetroot, Swede, Celeriac, Pumpkin,
Adding in plant-based carbohydrates in the evenings can be an effective way to replenish your glycogen stores and help you sleep.
And if you have any questions at all, post them in the blog comments below.