Keto has turned into just another dietary fad/ buzzword. It now officially has the status of used, abused, adulterated, and confused.
Here’s a brief history from my perspective.
A ketogenic diet was first developed in the 1920’s to help treat children with epilepsy. And it worked fabulously. Even previous to that, a gentleman named William Banting was looking to lose weight so he embarked on a carb-free diet. He lost 46 pounds and published his “Letter on Corpulence” documenting his findings. Also in the 20’s and many years since, the Inuit Eskimos have been the subjects of many a study on a high fat/low carb diet and health.
Fast forward to the 70’s where the Atkin’s diet came on the scene. It started out as a low carb diet that indeed could elicit ketosis but became a diet who’s staple was the pork rind (not healthy). It has now morphed into a corporate brand that has processed bars, shakes, and snacks. Pork Rinds and all kinds of toxic meat and damaged oils are still fair game. (See marketing section below)
Today, the “Keto” diet has again morphed into a catch all where no one can truly be sure what it even is anymore. Today’s mainstream keto diet includes exogenous ketones, processed foods, foods with misleading labels, promotion of toxic meat, and more atrocities.
My humble opinion is that keto (for the purpose of getting into ketosis) can be great when done correctly, on a short term basis to directly combat a diagnosis or to lose weight rapidly. However, for long term health, I recommend and have recommended for many years, a nutrition plan that will get you in to mild ketosis yet allow you to consume optimal nutrients across the board. In fact, I co-authored a book back in 2009 which laid out a nutrition plan that is sustainable for a lifetime, easy to do, and offers maximum nutrient density, and optimal health as a result.
The principles that were laid out in the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans book were not new! I can’t even take credit for them. They are time-proven nutritional principles that have sustained a species for thousands of years. The two plans – Core and Advanced – focus on food that God put on planet earth for our consumption. They emphasize the need for quality nutrients from whole food sources, as close to the source as possible, unprocessed and unadulterated. The Advanced Plan eliminates grains, tubers, sugars and anything that turns to sugar. This plan includes an abundance of vegetables and good fats which set it apart from a strict “keto” diet. It is a simple and very effective plan. MaxLiving doctors use the timeless principles of nutrition to teach their patients how to nourish their bodies. Hundreds of lives have been transformed through the MaxLiving principles of health.
What is the keto diet?
If you do an internet search for “keto diet” you will see a variety of resources. You will also see a variety of guidance. Unfortunately, many people “doing” keto are doing it in an unhealthy way.
An extreme example is one a friend of mine told me. She met a man who explained that he had just lot a lot of weight. She asked how he did it and he replied, “keto”. When she inquired a little more, he revealed his plan. He fasted for breakfast and then ate at McDonalds for lunch and dinner. He added “I just took the buns off of the burgers.” I suppose technically, this would meet the keto criteria but HOLY COW!
Here is something very important to interject here: LOSING WEIGHT =/= GETTING HEALTHY. As my husband says, “You may be lighter but not healthier. There are a lot of skinny sick people.” Eating McMeat is not a good idea if you want to be healthy! Although this is an extreme example, many people are eating meat that is unnaturally raised and processed.
Protein is the building blocks of what becomes your liver, your heart, your eyeballs, etc. Therefore, it is highly advisable to eat the highest quality protein possible.
While the mechanism of ketosis works for things like weight loss, there is more to the story.
A better plan
The nutrition plans that I wrote about in 2009 and continue to teach today are very specific and avoid generalities. Here are a few of the highlights.
-Source and consume only naturally raised and processed animal products. This includes grass-fed beef and dairy, free range chicken and eggs, and wild caught fish. I also dissuade people from consuming pork and shellfish. While there are many reasons for this, my top four are that it is 1) the flesh is toxic as a pig doesn’t have the same digestive filtering system as a cow has, 2) highly prone to toxins and parasites (they are scavengers after all), 3) highly acidic and inflammatory and 4) it is biblically prohibited (Leviticus). In addition, you can get plenty of nutrients from chicken, beef and fish so they are not necessary for health.
-Source naturally raised animal products. Any conventional meat is dangerous. It comes from animals who are cramped in feed lots, stand in their own excrement, are pumped with vaccines, steroids, and antibiotics, fed gmo grains, stale candy, and animal by-products. They are highly stressed and never in their natural habitat or eat natural food sources. Many people can do well on a vegetarian diet if they are eating the right kind of grains and vegetables but since it eliminates a whole food group, it is highly advisable to do nutritional testing to determine where there are potential deficiencies. Contact me for more information on this)
-Eat a variety of vegetables and buy organic as much as possible. At a bare minimum, source produce that is lowest on the pesticide scale. (See www.ewg.org/foodnews). Many keto plans eliminate or drastically reduce vegetable intake. In my opinion, for most people, vegetables should be eaten to get a variety of nutrients. (One caveat: many people do well on a carnivore (meat only) type diet but again, it is imperative that high quality meats be eaten and regular nutritional testing be done to detect any deficiencies. Contact me for more information on this).
-The Advanced Plan also eliminates high glycemic fruits, grains and tubers. To stay in mild ketosis, only consume low glycemic fruits like berries, Granny Smith apples, grapefruit, limes and lemons. (The core plan allows for all fruits, whole grains and tubers)
-It is very important that you be consuming high quality, undamaged fats. (Most keto plans do a better job on the fat recommendations). The Advanced Plan can be considered a low carb, moderate protein, moderate-high fat type of nutrition plan. Never eat vegetable oils, margarines, corn oil, cottonseed oil, canola oil, or soybean oil. It I best to stick to coconut oil, butter, avocado oil, olive oil (do not heat), and flax oil (do not heat).
Enter the marketers
Now on to one thing that really set me off with this topic. It was seeing products popping up with a KETO label. The crafty marketers are at it again! They are labeling items Keto that are not technically keto and play on people’s attraction to the keto buzzword.
Any reputable keto resource will eliminate sugar from the list of approved foods. However, many food manufacturers are jumping on the keto wagon but skirting around the concept. For example, this product clearly has sugar on the label (cane sugar, brown rice syrup) SIDE NOTE: Label reading rule #1- go straight to the ingredients to see what is in it. That is where the real truth is.
How do they call it keto then? They manipulate the serving size to have the grams of sugar or carbs under a certain threshold. It’s like this: there’s too much sugar to be called, keto….well simply reduce the serving size and slap a keto label on it. This is an old food marketing trick that is used frequently. SIDE NOTE: Label reading rule #2 – look at the serving size and do the proper math to see the actual carbohydrate/sugar content. In this example, the serving size is 1 ounce which would be less than an handful. Most people would eat a few or more handfuls which would surely kick them out of ketosis. It even says, “Includes 3 grams of added sugars”.
This product is not the only one. Many food manufacturers look to capitalize on things that are popular with consumers. Post your examples below.
For some healthy keto foods that uphold the standards above including mct oil, keto chews, keto bars, electrolytes, whey protein, and bone broth protein, you can visit www.westcobbchiropractic.com/store
Here’s my advice, don’t look for the latest and greatest “diet”, don’t look for a magic bullet, and don’t be fooled by creative marketing. Adopt a nutrition plan that follows the timeless principles of good nutrition, is based on naturally occurring foods, is unadulterated and as close to the source as possible. To keep it simple, it can be pared down to just two food groups: Food by God and Food by Man. Stick with the Food by God.
To find recipes, tips and meal ideas, visit my blog at www.eatsmartmeals.com