Separating fact from fiction on the keto diet.

The ketogenic diet has become very popular these days. There’s good proof of worldwide use. Although many people use the keto diet to lose weight, others use it to reduce inflammation in body tissues, or to help other conditions, such as seizures.

Now if you’re reading my blog, you’re passionate about breastfeeding. And, I’m guessing, you want some hard facts about whether it’s safe to use a keto diet to lose your pregnancy weight, or if it will affect your milk. Oh, try to back up a little. There’s much controversy about whether it is or isn’t safe at all.  But if you decide to use the keto diet, be sure that you get the facts we do know, and ignore the myths.  

According to Maria Emmerich, author of several books including Keto: The Complete Guide to Success on The Ketogenic Diet, including Simplified Science and No-cook Meal Plans, here are some common myths about the keto diet.

A low carb diet is the same as a keto diet 

Oh, no, not at all! A low carbohydrate diet is different from a ketogenic diet.

The ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrate consumption, but relies on moderate to high protein foods and high fat foods. The aim of the ketogenic diet is to use ketones, rather than glucose, to fuel the brain and body. Certainly, a keto diet is low in carbs; Maria says she typically consumes fewer than 20 mg of carbohydrates a day.

However, a low-carb diet may or may not be a keto diet.  

Keto means 80% of your calories must come from fat

Certainly, many who follow a keto diet do strive for that. But Maria explains that there are fewer “musts” for the keto diet than you might think.

You have to take keto supplements

Although many people think they need beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) is as a dietary supplement, Maria insists that these supplements aren’t helpful or necessary. The supplements won’t necessarily put your body into a ketogenic state. She urges you to “save your money” because “there are no short cuts.”

The urine test tells you what you need to know

Um, no. Maria explains that the urine strips accurately measure hydration not ketosis. Rather, you need use the blood meter because it is more accurate. Others agree and show comparisons.

You must achieve a particular low number

Nope, in Maria’s words, “Don’t chase a particular number. Higher ketone levels do not necessarily mean more fat-burning.”

You can eat as much fat as you wish and still lose weight

No, not at all. Maria explains that if you are overweight, your aim should be to use your own body fat to make ketones. Some people on the keto diet add these extra calories in bulletproof coffee which they believe to be beneficial. But Maria says what you’ve probably already figured out:  If you consume excessive amount of calories, you don’t actually burn your body fat for fuel.”   

Just add some MCT oil to your carbs you’ll be in ketosis

That’s a misunderstanding of how medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) oils work. MCT oil is a type of fat derived from coconut oil, but it can also sometimes be made of palm oil.   

Maria explains liberally dousing your carbohydrates with MCT oil just gives you carbs with oil! If you are testing for ketones, you may indeed see a lower reading, but that doesn’t mean your body is in ketosis. As Maria goes on to say, “If you add enough fat to your food, sure, you’re going to “read” ketones.”

Eat for 8 hours, then fast for 8 hours

No, no, intermittent fasting isn’t necessary. Maria says she doesn’t do it, and her kids don’t do it, either.

Just count your net carbs

Oh no, no, Maria says. Basically you’re still taking in those carbohydrates, whether you “count” the carbohydrates or not.

The keto diet has been a trending topic of weight loss and healthy eating, but as with any diet plan, knowing the facts and separating fact from fiction is important when deciding if it’s for you.

Have you tried eating a ketogenic diet? Tell me in the comments below!

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