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Nutritional Science Series 10: Keto Myths Debunked

There is something so gratifying about learning. About having knowledge and the ability to piece complex information bites together into chains of sense. Sense, that when applied to our own bodies and health, reveals an actualisation of this knowledge into first hand, beneficial results which can move our thriving needle.

Made to Thrive’s Nutritional Series has hopefully started to unlock this knowledge pool and reveal some deep wells of advantageous health perspectives. Being a forerunner in knowledge of a certain topic is so empowering and enlightening when we are able to share this knowledge with others for them to ignite a similar learning and application journey… it also means that you may be inundated with questions, comments and critiques that require astute and informed responses. Sometimes, these may be blatant criticisms– not all of which are unfounded. Knowing what these critiques are and what the empirical responses are, not only enables your learning, but equips you with an intelligent way to handle these encounters.

Keto Myth Question 1: Surely starving your body of carbs means you have no energy to exercise?

Quite the inverse! One of the greatest gifts of keto and low carb eating is that it leads to low insulin levels which means you’re able to access your body fat stores and liberate it to be burned for energy.

Even the leanest of us carry kilograms of body fat which means that we have thousands of calories of clean-burning energy available for release at any time. Once keto adaptation is in place, energy levels will be the steadiest ever– for longer- and so exercise and performance may be sustained for longer, more stable periods.

Keto Myth Statement 2: “Chasing fats” like you do will lead to heart disease

Interestingly, not! There is a wealth of research studies that show that people who were placed on a low carb, high fat diet enjoyed improved heart health. This is the case for studies done with cohorts of type 2 diabetes, obese adults and studies of lean, healthy adults. Of course not all bodies are the same and so some people may see a deleterious change in blood lipids but on the whole, studies show that a fat adapted, keto diet is better for your heart.

Keto Myth Question 3:Your brain needs glucose- how do you even think without this?

You are correct, your brain does need glucose but not as much as we’re lead to believe. Once you are in a fully keto adapted state, ketones can provide most of the brain’s energy needs. At maximum ketone adaptation, you still need about 30g of glucose for your brain and in this state, your liver can actually make 150g of carbohydrates a day from gluconeogenesis, so even if you don’t eat any carbs (which you definitely do on keto!), your body is still able to manufacture the requisite 30gs of glucose.

Keto Myth Statement 4: Everything in moderation! The way you eat isn’t sustainable

Well, it depends on what sustainable means to you. Keto for me, leads to sustained health, vitality and well being and so is very sustainable for me when measured against these benefits. Whilst many diets support an ‘everything in moderation’ perspective, I’d rather moderate my intake of carbohydrates to continue the trajectory of the benefits I experience. Perhaps my approach to eating may be comparatively ‘restrictive’ against the way others eat- I have made a personal choice not to eat donuts, burgers, slap chips and pasta ‘in moderation’ but am able to indulge in giant salads with a variety of different textures and colours, or buttered broccoli with a ribeye steak, egg and maybe even sneak in a glass of red wine! This is very sustainable for me!

Keto Myth Statement 5: You’re actually not losing weight- just water.

You’re correct in part- when you go keto and start shedding glycogen from your liver and muscles, you do lose a lot of water. For every gram of glycogen stored, it moleculises with 3 – 4 grams of water and so when you burn the glycogen, you lose the water along with it. However, when all the glycogen stores are used and up, that’s when you get into deep ketosis and start burning fat which is where your body mass index starts to change. Burning fat is the sweet spot!

Keto Myth Statement 6: I bet you suffer from constipation eating all that fat and protein and no fibre or carbohydrates

I do eat carbohydrates! Just not carbohydrates in the form that you may reference (potato’s, biscuits or bread) and in these healthy sources of carbohydrates, there is plenty of fibre… Prebiotic fibres that feed and nourish the gut bacteria. There is plenty fibre in some of my favourites:

  • Avocados
  • Blueberries
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Almonds and macadamias
  • Onions and garlic

I can assure you I don’t suffer with any regularity challenges!

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