Keto diets have gotten hugely popular in recent years, especially for weight loss. And while initially this approach works, many people find out that they cannot stick with it long-term.
Let’s dive in and explore why keto works and why it isn’t a real solution to any of your health problems.
What is Ketosis
When we eat no carbohydrates, our bodies enter a backup mode called ketosis.
Ketosis is a hugely important biological adaptation that of all primates, only humans have. It has saved our species from starvation by allowing us to be able to fuel our bodies entirely from the fat reserves we have.
Keep in mind, that humans are notoriously bad hunters, no matter what many want to believe. In the last decade, a lot of science has emerged to corroborate that.
What allowed us to survive in harsh conditions was our ability to store calories as fat and then survive for days with no food.
Thank you, ketosis!
What about the health benefits?
Our bodies operate in two modes:
- digesting food and storing it
- using the stored energy and cleansing the system
We cannot effectively enter repair mode when the body is digesting food. That is why fasting (eating nothing at all or an extremely limited number of calories) has proven to be such an efficient modality for healing.
By eating way fewer calories than we need, the body can repair and heal. Short-term fasting is an excellent way to boost your health.
However, fasting depletes your nutrient stores, raises acidity in the body and it’s quite taxing on all systems, if done for a prolonged period.
After fasting, you need to eat a highly alkaline, nutrient-rich, mainly whole plant food diet to replenish your stores and bring balance to the body’s systems.
Staying in ketosis long-term doesn’t allow for that!
All the health & wellness clinics around the world that have been successfully treating patients for decades using fasting modalities follow these principles.
First, ketosis itself is a largely inefficient way to power the human brain as about 90% of the energy in fats is lost in the process.
Keto diets are proposed as a weight loss method and they work because of the extreme inefficiency of powering the body with ketones and, more importantly, because we fool our body that it is starving!
If we eat nothing but animal flesh, the calories that enter the bloodstream are the same as if we were digesting our own fat stores! To our brain, we are actually in starvation mode.
When the body is fasting, two things happen. First, we feel the so-called ‘keto flu’ since we aren’t eating food and our bodies enter energy conservation mode.
However, after two to three days the brain realizes that there is no food lying around and we start to feel more energetic. It’s because our brain tries to motivate us to go and find some more food. It does that by suppressing our appetite and raising energy levels.
With our appetite suppressed, we feel fine with little food. We lose weight and since the brain thinks we are starving; it expects us to lose weight.
Keto diets allow us to lose the extra weight but the cost of raising the acidity levels throughout the body, depleting our micronutrient reserves, and increasing our risk of developing cancer due to the high levels of animal protein we consume (the World Health Organization has classified meat as a carcinogen!)
Most importantly, ketosis is the body’s backup system for when we are starving. It’s meant as a short-term solution. We don’t want to be in backup mode in our daily lives. It’s dangerous in the long term.
Keto diets are a hack. You lose weight at the expense of long-term health. It works for a while but it’s not healthy!