The Keto diet – the truth as told by dietician, Steph Cronin.
The Keto diet is a low carbohydrate, high fat diet (LCHF), which causes the body to enter “ketosis”. Ketosis is when the body produces ketones in the liver (from the breakdown of fats) to be used as energy instead of glucose from carbohydrate sources.
Personally, I do not recommend this diet for my clients or athletes. Whilst there is a lot of interest in this diet in recent times, the evidence does not support the enthusiastic claims.
From a performance perspective, your ability to train or exercise at high intensities is compromised if you do not have enough carbohydrates stores in the muscle. The body can adapt to using fat stores for aerobic exercise but carbohydrates are still the most efficient source of fuel for any high intensity or explosive movement (e.g. a sprint finish, a powerful lift in the gym, hill climb etc.)
From a health perspective, by increasing your fat intake and reducing quality carbohydrate intake, you are not only increasing your risk of heart disease and other chronic disease, you are also restricting intake of many types of vitamins, minerals and fibre found in quality carbohydrates.
Not only are quality carbohydrates great for muscle and brain fuel, they can also promote the growth of good bacteria in the gut. It is also a difficult diet to maintain long term, particularly if you have a partner, kids or if you like to socialise and enjoy eating out.
However, there is no one size fits all when it comes to nutrition. Therefore, no two meal plans or nutrition advice I prescribe will be the same. Nutrition needs to be individualised as we all have different eating habits, preferences and requirements.
If anybody is considering trying the keto diet I would suggest they seek professional advice and ongoing support to determine if it is the right choice for them and to ensure they are still eating a nutritious diet.
To talk to Steph about personalised dietary advice. contact our team here.