Low Carb, Keto and my Preferred Approach
** TRIGGER WARNING - If you have a history of yo-yo dieting and an unhealthy relationship with food, the following may be triggering as it goes into specifics of the keto and low carb diets.
So, you may have seen that I’ve just launched my 6 week Empowered Eating Course. The crux of this program is to give you back your power around food. I want to help you to feel in charge of your eating again and not let food control you.
In week 5 we get into the basics of nutrition and finding out what works for you. How to properly experiment without a restrictive mindset and learn which foods genuinely suit you best.
I believe this is needed now, more than ever as we are constantly bombarded with online messages of the newest and best diet for YOU. In case you haven’t noticed the buzz word at the moment is KETO. I’m seeing it everywhere!
Equally, there seems to be a lot of confusion about it in general and it’s often getting intermixed with ‘low carb’. The other thing that is getting mixed up a lot is the idea that going Keto is best for everyone.
So, what’s Keto and What’s Low Carb and how are they different? Here’s a short summary:
Low Carb: Involves moderate carbohydrate restriction – generally under 100g per day. This approach tends to be a bit gentler with room for some fruit and and root vegetables in moderation. The book What The Fat outlines this method and even encourages consuming your favourite high carb foods moderately when certain opportunities arise. They focus on the ‘most of the time’ rather than all or nothing.
Keto: This method involves restricting carbohydrates even further, often lower than 50g. Keeping your carbohydrates this low enables our body to go into a state of nutritional ketosis (hence the term keto). By doing so, our body becomes “fat adapted” where our body no longer relies on glycogen as its main source of energy, but instead uses fat. This is used sometimes to treat certain medical conditions (under proper medical supervision). A strict keto diet might restrict fruit, grains, legumes, and even root vegetables.
Now, both these ways of eating can help improve our health overall but Keto obviously is more restrictive. Which for has us non-dieters asking – is it sustainable?
Sure, potentially, if you can practice some balance, but for the most part those who engage in strict keto diets don’t and for someone who has a history of yo-yo dieting – this could be just another round of the cycle.
Keto can be beneficial short term if our mindset is right and we treat it as such but for many of us, it’s just not necessary to go that hard out.
For example, if you love bread and you have an all or nothing mentality – as with most diets I ask you: can you do this (give up breads) for the rest of your life without ever feeling guilty about eating the foods you love? If not, we know what will happen. We’ve been there before.
The Carb Appropriate approach is a step-wise approach which involves experimentation and listening to our bodies and what works for us as an individual.
When we take on an all or nothing approach such as many low carb and keto followers do we essentially ‘throw the baby out with the bathwater’. Honestly, If you feel amazing and are achieving results by simply decreasing the amount of sugar you eat – why give up everything under the sun?
The bottom line is that it’s not about whether high carb or low carb is better it’s about finding a healthy way of eating that fits you and your lifestyle that you can adhere to.
Adherence is key
It’s not high or low carb for many of us, it is somewhere in the middle. It depends on the person, the lifestyle, their budget, location and their overall financial situation We should simply strive to do the best you can to feel good with the resources you’re given.
For me, I choose a balanced approach to lower carb diet. I still have bread when I want it, I eat fruit (because come on), legumes, and lots of other carbs when I feel the need or an opportunity arises. For me, Keto is not sustainable, it just doesn't work for me long term.
For many of us, if we strive to eat as may whole foods as we can considering our current situation and play around with carbs, we'll notice huge benefits. No need to ban every carb under the sun. Food is meant to be enjoyed not moderated, restricted or feared.
To learn more about how to make choices about what to eat click here
To work with me to get more in tune to what works best for your body without all the online noise – grab a spot for my course! Last one until 2019!