From personal trainers to celebrity athletes, the ketogenic diet has been on the tip of everyone's lips. LeBron James credits the high-fat, low-carb lifestyle for his dramatic weight loss, Halle Barry claims it's been key to managing her diabetes, and Gwyneth Paltrow praises it for keeping her svelte.
But any diet craze—particularly one with a massive following on social media—is bound to be riddled with falsehoods. The danger with this is that those not in the know may experience frustration, disappointment—even significant health consequences.
With that in mind, here are the biggest myths about the keto diet—and the facts you should know before starting it:
Myth: The keto diet is a butter and cheese free-for-all
One of the draws of the keto diet—which originated in the 1920s to treat epilepsy—is that it eschews the low-fat, tasteless diets of earlier decades. Instead, it demands a rigorous refusal of carbohydrates (as in, less than 30 grams per day, or the amount of a sweet potato) and a strategic dependence on fats. To some keto-ers, this has meant forgoing Fritos for bowls of bacon but the type of fat you eat is of utmost importance. Why? Besides the obvious—that saturated animal fats such as ham and sausage can lead to a host of health issues—filling your plate with conventional beef and dairy products may increase your exposure to xenoestrogens, compounds that can mimic estrogen and result in hormonal havoc (and the health complications that often arrive with it). Rather, reach for unsaturated fats like almonds and flaxseeds. What protein you do eat should come from organic eggs, wild-caught fish, hormone-free, grass-fed beef, lean cuts of poultry, and plant-based foods like Brazil nuts. Which brings us to our next point…
Myth: The keto diet is super high in protein
Blame The Zone and Atkins for the misconception that the ketogenic diet is low in carbs but high in protein. In fact, the breakdown of most keto diets looks like this: 75-90% fat, 5-15% protein, and 5-10% fibrous carbohydrates. In other words, you will need to eat adequate protein, but you won't be snacking on beef jerky and bun-less sliders. Indeed, eating too much protein can shift your body out of ketosis—the aimed-for metabolic state under the keto diet that burns stored and consumed fat for fuel instead of glucose. The excess protein will convert to glucose, and these are carbohydrates that you won't be able to count.
Myth: Without carbs, I'll have zero energy
True: The body's preferred source of energy is glucose, which is produced by carbs, and asking it to start relying on a new form of fuel can be physically and mentally demanding (hence the “keto flu," a cluster of symptoms that includes brain fog and
constipation, which often occurs as the body adjusts to this fresh way of functioning). But ketosis—that aforementioned metabolic state that delivers real results—actually promotes energy. For starters, it decreases cortisol release and supports your adrenals and thyroid glands—and both are central to maintaining a healthy weight, thinking sharply, and feeling vibrant. Research also demonstrates that ketosis fosters beneficial levels of “feel-good" brain chemicals. Having an improved mood almost always translates to bolstered energy. As for those star athletes dodging tortilla chips but downing chia seeds? The keto diet can also give rise to improved stamina and performance.
Myth: You can't lose fat if you're eating fat
To some, the keto diet seems farfetched, even, well, mythical. How can you possibly shed fat if you're eating mostly fat? The keto diet's potential—to aid not only in weight loss but also in clearer, more radiant skin, enhanced energy, and superior memory—comes from radically curbing carbs, the over-consumption of which tells our bodies to store fat. Instead, the keto diet lowers insulin, decreases blood sugar swings and reduces your vulnerability to the litany of health issues that occur with insulin resistance, such as obesity and type-2 diabetes. Further, healthy fats—the sort found in walnuts and avocadoes—can reduce hunger and encourage a sense of satiety, while also providing you with essential nutrients like Omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium. Or, as Dr. Ron Rosedale of The Rosedale Diet says, “Our bodies thrive on good fat" and “our metabolism needs good fat to burn bad fat." (The emphasis here being on good).
In sum, the keto diet's wild popularity may suggest it's just a fad but, its rich history and long list of potential pluses—including more balanced hormones, a stronger libido, enhanced cellular immunity, and enriched brain power—is grounded in science. It's best to know precisely what that science is, however, so that you can avoid potential pitfalls—and, instead, reap its copious benefits.
Personally, I am over the top excited that we are on the cusp of turning the page on not only a new year but also on a new 10-year window of opportunities and possibilities!
You may be thinking, whoa…I am just embracing the fall season…yikes… it is tough to think about a new decade!
Yet it is this groundwork, this forward thought that you put in place TODAY that will propel you and lead you into greatness in 2020 and beyond. Designing a new decade rests in your ability to vision, in your willingness to be curious, in your awareness of where you are now and what you most want to curate. Essentially, curating what's next is about tapping into today with confidence, conviction, and decision. Leading YOU starts now. This is your new next. It is your choice.
Sometimes to get to that 'next', you need to take a step back to reflect. Please pardon my asking you to spend time in yesterday. Those who know me personally, know that I created and continue to grow my business based on enabling the present moment as a springboard for living your legacy. So, indulge me here! True, I am asking you to peek into the past, yet it is only in order for you to bring the essence of that past forward into this moment called NOW.
One of the best ways to tap into what's next is to clarify what drives you. To design a new decade, ask yourself this question about the past ten years:
What worked? What were my successes?
Make a list of your achievements big and small. Don't type them, but rather use ink and paper and sit with and savor them. Move your thoughts and your successes from your head, to your heart, to your pen, to the paper. Remember that on the flip side of goals not attained and New Year's resolutions abandoned, there was more than likely some traction and action that moved you forward, even if the end result was not what you expected. Once you have a full list of a decade's worth of personal and professional accomplishments, think about how this makes you feel. Do you remember celebrating all of them? My guess is no. So, celebrate them now. Give them new life by validating them. Circle the successes that resonate with you most right now. Where can you lean into those accomplishments as you power into the decade ahead?
Now comes a tougher question, one that I used myself in my own mid-life reinvention and a question I adore because in a moment's time it provides you with a quick reconnect to your unique inner voice.
If it were 10 years ago and nothing were standing in your way, no fear or excuses to contend with…what would you do?
Don't overthink it. The brilliance of this question is that it refocuses purpose. Whatever first came to mind when you answered this for yourself is at its core a powerful insight into defining and redefining the FUTURE decade. Bring your answer into the light of today and what small piece of it is actionable NOW? Where is this resonating and aligning with a 2019 version of yourself?
Then, based on your success list and your answer to the above question, what is your 2020 vision for your business and for the business of YOU?
Designing a new decade begins as a collection of 3,650 opportunities. 3,650 blank slates of new days ahead in which to pivot and propel yourself forward. Every single one of those days is a window into your legacy. An invitation to be, create, explore, and chip away at this thing we call life. One 24-hour segment at a time.
While you have a decade ahead to work on design improvements, you have the ability to begin manifesting this project of YOU Version 2020 right NOW. Based on exploring the exercises in this post, begin executing your vision. Ask questions. Be present. Let go of 2019 and the past 10 years so that you can embrace the next 10. Position acceptance and self-trust at the forefront of how you lead you. One choice at a time.
Don't get bogged down in the concept of the next 10 years. Instead position clarity and intention into each new day, starting today. Then chase every one of those intentions with an in-the-moment commitment and solution toward living a legendary life!