In the health and fitness industry, low-carb fad diets come and go as fast as you can say burpee. Right now the keto diet is the buzzword on everyone’s lips, so I get plenty of questions about it from my clients and my 28ers. Today I’m here to clear the air and tell you everything you should know if you’re thinking of ‘going keto’.

What is the keto diet?

The keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet that (believe it or not) was initially designed to help children who suffer from seizures. However it proved too strict for kids to stick to, and instead became popular as a quick and effective weight loss solution.

How does the keto diet work?

Going ‘keto’ is all about minimizing your carb intake and maximising your fat intake to force your body to use fat as a form of energy. After a few days of eating keto, the body enters into a state known as ‘ketosis’. This is where the body can no longer make glucose from it’s usual carb sources (because there’s no more carbs to consume) so your body resorts to using stored fat for energy instead. When your body is in ketosis, your body starts to eat into your fat reserves and that’s why you can lose weight quickly.

A keto diet generally consists of 70 per cent fat, 25 per cent protein and around 5 per cent carbs. If you’re going keto, you can expect to see meat, cheese, butter, cream, low-carb veggies, nuts and seeds on the menu. What you can’t eat are grains, most fruit, sugar and root vegetables like potatoes and carrots.

The good.

There’s no denying that there are some advantages that come with going keto. Here a few of the benefits that might come with dipping your toe in the keto pool.

  • You might lose weight fast. Being in a state of ketosis means the body is in fat burning mode, so you might see results quickly. The keto diet forces you to cut out a lot of foods that are high in sugar and carbs, so this can naturally cause you to lose weight too.
  • You’ll feel full and satisfied. Unlike many other low carb diets, a high fat diet will also leave you feeling fuller and satisfied for longer because protein and fats promote increased satiety.
  • You’ll benefit from healthy fats. Healthy fats and fatty acids do more than just help you feel satiated, they’re also awesome for your skin, healthy hair and tissue recovery.
  • You’re eating less sugar. The keto diet cuts out simple carbohydrates (that are found in cereals, juices and lost of packaged food) and therefore the refined sugars that are hidden in many of the foods we eat. Simple carbs are dangerous because they convert quickly to fat on the body – so cutting them of your diet is great when you’re looking to lose weight.

Want to give a recipe a go? Try this Keto Friendly Burger, packed with 31 grams of protein.

Grass Fed Burger Salad

This burger has 31 grams of protein with only 8 grams of carbs, which makes it incredibly suitable for low-carb dieters and those on the trendy keto diet.
Get the full recipe

The bad

you might think the keto diet sounds pretty good at this stage. Meat, butter and plenty of cheese? Sign me up! But hold your horses – there are some significant downsides when it comes to going keto.

  • You miss out on the good stuff. While the keto diet can be high in heart healthy fats, it tends to be low in fibre and plant based healthy nutrients. This can cause some people to experience irregularity and means you miss out on essential gut healthy, satiating fibre.
  • It’s not easy. Let’s be real, strict diets that cut out whole food groups like the keto diet can be difficult to follow. They can also feel incredibly restrictive and mean you fall off the wagon because the diet is too hard to sustain. For most people, applying the strict 70/25/5 rule to every meal is the hardest part and can prove next to impossible when dining out.
  • You might end up eating unhealthy fats. The keto diet includes plenty of meat and saturated fats (foods we are typically told to avoid) and encourages a high intake of animal products. Animal products are high in saturated fat and animal protein and this can negatively impact our heart health.
  • It’s no long-term solution. When you’re in ketosis, your body is technically in a survival state. If you remain in this state for too long, your metabolism begins to slow down. Remember, diets like these are a quick fix solution and not sustainable in the long run, and more often than not you end of putting the weight right back on once you return back to your normal regime.

My verdict.

At the end of the day, any diet can work if short term weight loss is what you’re after. But if you want long term results then you cannot look past a balanced routine. My program works because it’s not a diet it’s a lifestyle and it’s sustainable. It includes a balanced meal plan that is loaded with real food like complex carbs, fats, protein and fibre everything your body needs to lose weight and function at its best. Following a balanced meal plan like this is the best way you can stick to your guns, lose weight and most importantly keep it off for good.

Posted by Sam Wood

Father and husband, on a mission to help people move more, eat better and make a positive change. Sam Wood has over 18 years experience in the health and fitness industry, and is recognised as one of Australia’s leading experts and media commentators. He is also the founder and trainer at Australia’s number one online fitness and nutrition program, and owner of Australia’s largest personal training studio, The Woodshed.