Ask the Dietitian: Is a keto diet a good way to lose weight?
A: I'm going to give a huge NOOOOOOO to the keto diet.
I know, I know.
Keto diets are SO popular, and you might know several people who swear by it!
A keto diet, or more specifically a ketogenic diet, is extremely low in carbohydrates and instead high in proteins and fats. Your body normally mainly relies on glucose, fuel from carbohydrates, to power itself. On a keto diet your body doesn't have glucose to burn so it instead burns off stored molecules of fat (called ketone bodies). In theory this sounds great- let's burn off that pesky fat!
A keto diet recommends limiting carbohydrates- so even whole grains, legumes, and fruits are extremely restricted. Instead red meats, sausages, eggs, butter, cheese, fish, nuts, and other high protein/high fat foods are relied on.
There is lots of solid evidence proving a keto diet as effective in managing epilepsy, however there is NO evidence showing that a long-term keto diet is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
More importantly, I could never recommend a diet that shuns blueberries but touts salami! Common sense tells us that humans crave a well-rounded diet. Generally when we overly restrict ourselves, our "willpower" breaks down and we feel like failure!
Take heart knowing that current evidence shows following a balance diet, meaning no restricting one specific nutrient group, is the most effective way to lose weight and keep it off!