You may have recently read a lot about the Keto Diet as it’s increasing in popularity and having ‘it’s day’ across media. After reading about it, you may be wondering if it is for you. As with all diets, I would recommend making long term lifestyle changes rather than doing a short term fad diet which can cause your weight to fluctuate and eventually you’ll probably end up back where you started.
If you have read the benefits and side effects of the Keto Diet, and you understand the impact the diet may have on your body, you may be wondering whether the Keto Diet is a long term diet. This question as to whether or not it is a long term diet is one that has had much debate and technically there is no full research to say whether it is safe long term or not. The science behind the Keto Diet is relatively immature so essentially, you will have to make that conclusion yourself. To help you come to that conclusion I have put forward the below arguments – there have been many claims that the Keto Diet is not for the long term, but many of these claims have been disproven which would lead us to believe that it can be suitable for the long term.
Some claim that by cutting down on carbs and limiting protein, your body won’t be getting all of the nutrients it needs. This however is not always true, especially if you are eating nutrient dense foods and wholefoods. If for example you eat fatty meat and lather your food in butter and oil (in order to hit your high fat goals), then you may find yourself missing out on key nutrients. If you eat quality lean meats with green vegetables, nuts and dairy, then you are more likely to have a nutrient dense diet and you won’t be missing out on nutrients. It’s essentially down to you to ensure that you eat a variety of wholefoods with the essential nutrients, and I believe this can be achieved on the Keto Diet.
Another claim as to why the Keto Diet is not suitable for long term use is that the Keto Diet doesn’t have enough fibre in it and can leave you feeling constantly constipated. If you are eating nutrient dense foods and lots of vegetables, your body will be producing less waste and therefore it is less likely that you will be going to the toilet as much anyway. If you have stomach discomfort and feel constipated, this can easily be rectified by eating vegetables with higher fibre content and drinking more water. I would therefore say that this claim is untrue – you just need to eat the right foods.
The final and third most common claim as to why the Keto Diet is not sustainable long term claims that you are dehydrating your body which is not sustainable long term. When you move to a low carb diet, your body is going to be flushing out water as there is less retention in your stomach for your body to hold on to. This will of course mean you will be going to the toilet more frequently and therefore losing more water/electrolytes. The solution to this is just to simply keep drinking more water.
In conclusion, because we don’t have research from people sticking to the Keto Diet for the majority of their lives, it’s hard to tell whether it is totally safe and what long term side effects people may feel. My recommendation would be to try the Keto Diet if you are tempted, and adapt it accordingly to make it sustainable for you. If you don’t like an element or it is not working for you – adapt it! Ensure also that you are eating a variety of whole foods and not processed rubbish lacking in nutrients and fibre.