Since my last post about what I would like to call the “Keto Fundamentals,” I have been having more and more people indicate their interest in this “newer” lifestyle (its actually been around since the 1920s). The interest may have come from their friends and family having success, the public’s all around hyper awareness of the benefits, doctors prescribing it more, etc. However, a lot of people are still not fully educated on how to properly eat on this diet and have a few misconceptions. For this reason, I wanted to put this short turned lengthy post together. As you all know though, I am no expert (yet) but I am going to try to clear the air on some common misconceptions because the data and statistics on living on this diet for long term health are astounding. Lets dig in…
Misconception #1: You have to eat a lot of red meat.
This is so wrong and I have no idea where this came from? I think that people on Keto tend to choose red meat because it is higher in fat but protein in general is not the name of the game for this diet. You can have red meat, you can have white meat, or you can have no meat (trickier but totally possible). The focus is 100% on the macro nutrient breakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs (with some sway in each category based on the individual). Having a piece of meat that is higher in fat helps you maintain that balance better BUT you can also add avocado to your roasted veggies or turkey/chicken. Also cooking a leaner meat in a healthy oil will add the fat that you don’t automatically get as you do from red meat.
Having been on the diet a 5 full weeks now, I have had red meat a total of 2 times. Thats a lot of red meat for me. I think I only included it because its grilling season and not because I’m on the Keto way of eating. In general, I am not a big red meat eater and I get my fat from other sources: full fat dairy, avocados (can you tell I love them?), eggs, MCT oil, macadamia nuts, walnuts and almonds. You do not need to eat red, or any meat you don’t want to.
Misconception #2: I should add butter to everything!
This one makes me laugh! I guess I don’t totally disagree BUT calories do still matter. You dont want to have had over one thousand calories just drinking buttered coffee…or maybe you do? It may slow the weight loss down however, I will say that the higher fat you eat, the fuller you will be. This means adding fat (e.g. butter) to things like coffee, will help you prevent hunger or wanting to snack on those forbidden carbs. It may even help you fast (if that becomes part of your program).
That takes me to misconception #3: I have to intermittent fast.
First, let me explain what intermittent fasting is: it is setting, typically 16 hour fasting windows along with 8 hour eating windows in your day. There are variations of eating and fasting times, such that it has been proven that as little as a 12-13 hour fast (ie not eating past 7 pm and having breakfast after 7 am) will already provide you with some pretty significant health benefits. This shortened fast works well for many as it can be done without really causing the mental craziness of whether or not you should be fasting or eating.
So is Intermittent fasting necessary? NO! However, as mentioned, there are some great health benefits (to come in a future blog post) and it does usually go hand in hand with this diet as we tend to be less hungry as we eat more fat.
As I previously said, I am on week 5 currently but really only on week 1 of fasting. I am seeing the most results this week but I was mentally and physically prepared. It wasn’t something I was ready to do in the blink of an eye. Fasting is a bit of a mental game and should be eased into, even if you are not hungry, because there are going to be temptations and habits to be broken – you need to have the willpower to push through. If you are curious before I can get the next blog post out, @mindbodygreen has a great post up that you should check out regarding IF (as all the cool kids in the know call it), which can be found here :
Finally, Misconception #4: I cannot have fruit.
This one makes me sad a bit as it is pretty much true with the exception of BERRIES! Who doesn’t love natures poppable, portable berries? So while we need to stay away from fruit due to the consumption raising our glucose and insulin (we need to keep those from raising AT ALL), berries keep everything steady as she goes. The main ones we can consume are blackberries, raspberries, and blueberries. Strawberries can come too. We need to keep it in moderation, maybe only a quarter cup and pair it with some no sugar added whipped cream or whole fat greek yogurt but, alas!, you can have some sweetness in your day…all hope is not lost.
I hope this helped answer some burning questions but do you have more? Feel free to post a comment and I would be happy to fill in any gaps and put your mind, hopefully, to ease.