Welcome back for part 2 of this series (if you missed part 1, you can read it here). The ketogenic diet is definitely THE diet of 2017 and I would be shocked if you haven’t heard it mentioned in your office or on the cover of a magazine at the grocery store.
I was getting WAY too many messages about what my thoughts were on the keto diet (and if you want to know them check out part 1). Because we’ve already hashed all of that out, we won’t go through it again today. Instead, I want to finish our discussion of the top keto mistakes I see people make when they decide to let the internet guide them to developing their own ketogenic diet (huge sigh).
Forgetting About Micronutrients
Yes, getting into ketosis and staying in ketosis is all about macronutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates). But what I see people do is to get SO caught up in keeping their macronutrients in check that they don’t consider their micronutrient consumption. Micronutrients are the nutrients that your body requires in smaller amounts than macronutrients – these are things like vitamins and minerals (the really important stuff that helps us fight off disease and keeps us healthy and vibrant).
Often times, people following a keto diet are so concerned with keeping their carbohydrate consumption somewhere around 20 grams per day that they eliminate most vegetables as well (an AMAZING source of micronutrients). Okay you guys, I told you in my last post that I do use this diet therapeutically with clients… now do you think that it is healthy to eliminate or restrict vegetables from your diet? Absolutely not.
What often happens is that people don’t realize that they should be looking at “net carbs” versus “total carbs”. Let me break it down for you (overly simplified but I think you’ll follow):
Carbohydrates are made up of sugar, fibre and starch. Sugar and starch are digested and the body uses these carbohydrates for energy. Fibre, however, moves through the digestive system largely undigested (hello healthy bowels). SO – as a result of the differences between these types of carbohydrates, I recommend that people focus on “net carbohydrates” versus “total carbohydrates”. In order to find the net carbohydrates, you must take the total number of grams of carbohydrates in a food and subtract the grams of fibre.
Let’s work through an example together:
This is a nutrition facts panel for 100 grams of broccoli. If we were to find the net carbs for this serving of broccoli, we would take the total carbohydrates (6.64 grams) and subtract the grams of fibre (2.6 grams) to get a net carb total of 4.04 grams of carbohydrates per 100 grams of broccoli.
SO – you will do this in your food journal every day. Luckily, many food tracking apps will give you the number of total carbs and the number of grams of fibre, making this calculation super easy!
In short, don’t restrict your vegetables on a ketogenic diet – you NEED these micronutrients to be HEALTHY. If you’re ever following an eating style that requires you to cut out vegetables… run far, far away.
Too Many Artificial Sweeteners
As of the time I am writing this post, there are 3 artificial sweeteners that I would not be overly concerned about moderate consumption of: stevia, erythritol and xylitol. All of the other artificial sweeteners out there, I typically recommend avoiding (see my post here to learn more about why).
We talked all about carbohydrates and the lengths that keto dieters go to restrict their daily consumption of carbs, so it may not come as a shock to you that many of them will consume a significant amount of artificial sweeteners in order to make “keto desserts”. One of the benefits of a keto diet is for neurological health (although research isn’t solid [what research is] I would recommend this diet to my family if they were starting to develop Alzheimer’s or if they were diagnosed with brain cancer). HOWEVER, there is also some discussion of artificial sweeteners being neurotoxins (I am not willing to wait on solid research on that, thank you very much) – so HOW does this make any sense as a healthy way to eat for your brain health?!
I just want to close by saying that MANY people who follow a keto diet and spout off the benefits of this diet are likely not doing it right and will likely never see those benefits due to these common keto errors!
As you all know, my number one goal with clients is to get them eating in a way that is sustainable for them for LIFE, not just to lose 10-20 lbs and return to old ways of eating. That being said, I am also a big supporter of trying things – if you feel like this is the best diet for you, give it a try for a month, see what you think. If you hate it, switch back. My two BIG recommendations if you do decide to try this diet are:
Do not under consume calories (this will make rebound weight gain a very real thing) and please enlist in the help of a professional. Even if it is just for a few weeks to get you started. This diet is nothing to fool with and people make SO many mistakes without even knowing that would be detrimental not only to their progress but also to their overall health.
I hope that this clears up a lot of questions! Please don’t hesitate to comment below with any additional questions you may have!
Yours in Health,