Why I Think You Should Do Keto. But Not Forever.
If you've never done keto, I 100% think you should do it. Give it 2 months of solid commitment.
1. To teach your body how to easily tap into its own fat stores and USE that fat as fuel (um, yay!).
2. To see what your brain feels like on ketones.
3. To learn just how much anxiety all that sugar is creating.
4. To create a LASTING enhancement of your metabolism, even when you aren't keto anymore.
We are the first generation coming out of a decades-long brainwashed society that believed fat was bad for us. Every single one of us grew up being made to believe "Reduced Fat" or "Fat Free" on a box of cookies meant they were "healthier cookies." Ugh.
Now that we know better (and if you don't know better, read this and this and this), taking our bodies through a ketogenic phase will teach it how to use FAT as its primary fuel source- whether that's dietary fat or your own body fat.
And what happens when you do that? You lose body fat like a boss. Especially if you've never done a low-carb diet before or it has been a long time.
For me, keto is all about the brain boost. I'm a biohacking, nootropic taking, optimization junkie and being in a ketogenic state gives my brain a boost like no other. Ketones (made from fatty acids in your liver) pass through your blood-brain barrier and give your brain an energy source that it never loses the ability to utilize like it does with glucose. Keto is the ultimate biohack for brain performance.
As for anxiety, my clients can never believe how much anxiety and brain fog they experience for a day or two after a sugary cheat meal. They haven't felt like that in so long it shocks them they used to feel that way regularly. It definitely increases compliance on the diet and creates a healthy association with food- eating for wellbeing, not for weight loss. Here's an article on that.
And here's the kicker: once you teach your body to use fat for fuel for an extended amount of time, it doesn't just forget. You are still fat-adapted. You can still use fat for fuel like a boss, even when you reintroduce carbohydrates.
I am no longer strict keto, for reasons I'm about to tell you, but I still enjoy the benefits of being fat-adapted. I was strict ketogenic for 1.5 years. My body is definitely fat-adapted and can now effortlessly go back into fat burning mode when carbohydrates or food in general are restricted.
For example: I eat a low-carb, high-fat diet most of the time now. I eat anywhere from 50-150g of carbs a day when I'm not in a ketogenic phase. So I can eat 100g of carbs one day (not in ketosis), and then the next day if I'm incredibly busy with work and unable to eat until the afternoon, that's when I know I'm definitely still fat adapted. My brain actually gets sharper, my energy is better, and I'm less hungry as the day goes on. It's the most incredibly feeling in the world. My body easily slips back into fat-burning mode and if I keep going, I can transition into a state of nutritional ketosis much easier than I did the first go-round.
I feel I have the best of both worlds. I'm fat adapted, and I can have my carbs, too.
Now. Why I'm personally not strict keto all the time:
First of all. Fruit. I believe fruit was unjustly demonized just like fat somewhere along the line. Fruit doesn't make you fat. Like anything, if you overeat too much of a good thing, of course it can make you fat. But it's highly unlikely you will over consume fruit. Fruit carries an INSANE amount of nutrition into our bodies. It super hydrates our cells, is loaded with vitamins and polyphenols, including some of the most potent antioxidants in the world, and I'm not living the rest of my life without it.
Same goes with potatoes, sweet potatoes, quality rices (black rice is amazing!), beans, etc. All of these natural foods we're not supposed to eat... sorry, not buying it. I eat them all. My nutritional philosophy goes something like this: If nature created it, I'm eating it.
So. Keto is an amazing biohack, and I think everyone would benefit from a ketogenic phase. That being said, it is a very restrictive diet, and I think long term we are missing out on the full capacity of our bodies' metabolisms if we stay keto forever. I believe we should include as many foods from nature as possible in our diets. That is why I like to see my clients come out of ketosis eventually and bring healthy carbs back in.
Now, if you just feel better on keto or you're getting a medical benefit from keto? Of course, stay keto. But for the every day person, the optimal metabolism should aim to utilize all three macronutrients: fat, protein and carbs.
Now, about training. This is another reason I personally choose to eat carbs. From a training perspective, you can do a lot more with carbohydrates. Plain and simple. Can you build muscle on keto? Yes. You'll want a higher protein intake than the traditional ketogenic recommendations. But to train at high intensities? It's really ideal with the support of carbohydrates. I train at an intense level in both lifting weights and running, so a low-carb high-fat diet works well for me.
So. I did keto. It was the best thing I ever did for my metabolism. I go through ketogenic phases to keep my metabolism optimal. If I want to be on point mentally for an event or need to get a lot of projects done at work, I go keto. But other than that, I enjoy a low carb, high fat (LCHF) lifestyle that allows me to eat all the foods nature intended for me and train with intensity.
If you want to experience this for yourself, I created a program called Keto In & Out to show you how to do it. It takes you through 4 weeks of keto and 4 weeks of LCHF, has all of my go-to recipes and killer workouts. You can find it HERE.