Keto is everywhere these days. It even got its own day! National Keto Day now occurs every January 5th. It seems that everyone knows someone on the diet, or a person who lost weight getting their ketogenic on. But is the keto diet sustainable? What are the long-term effects? One recent article emphatically states that, no, keto is not meant to become a lifestyle. But with pretty good weight loss stats, and a whole army of success stories singing its praises, what’s a girl to do? The answer lies in diet phasing.
Why Most Diets Don’t Work
We go into this in great detail in an article that lays out all the reasons why dieting (of any kind) fails us. It really comes down to our bodies getting used to whatever we do, and eventually adjusting for calorie deprivation. One way around this is diet phasing. We don’t mean diet as in following a subscribed diet. We mean phasing the foods you eat (you know, YOUR diet).
This Article’s Beef with Keto
Among other things, this article emphatically states that keto diets aren’t sustainable. In it, Dr. David Katz, founding director of the Yale University Prevention Research Center, states that any diet that restricts entire food groups is unhealthy, and something most people cannot sustain. He eloquently points out that, ‘keto for life’ peeps are pretty much following a diet that restricts refined carbohydrates and sugar. And there are many diets that do just that. In fact, any good diet preaches the same thing.
Furthermore, long-term research of keto diets is called into question. Most studies (much like those conducted in documentaries) come from people with something to gain from positive results, like food manufacturers or supplement companies. Dr. Josh Axe states, “The ketogenic diet is designed to be a short-term diet, and there are a number of studies and trials demonstrating its effectiveness” (1). We love Dr. Axe and value his wealth of knowledge, but it should be noted that he is a spokesperson for the Vitamin Shoppe and owns a line of products catering to the keto diet.
The article goes on to list a number of keto pitfalls, like eating a “dirty keto diet” that’s processed, and that keto isn’t necessarily better for weight loss than any other diet that cuts out sugar and excess carbs. Basically, they say it’s a trend on par with any of the other wacky ones from decade’s past (grapefruit or cabbage soup diet, anyone?!). In addition, it notes the highly restrictive nature and compliance it takes to sustain ketosis.
Ranked 34 out of 35
According to the 10th edition of U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Diets,” Keto came in 34 out of 35. The Best Diets list provides facts on, and ranks, 35 diets based on several criteria (which we list below). A panel of experts, from nutrition, obesity, diabetes and psychology backgrounds all come together to determine the following:
“Its ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss, its nutritional completeness, its safety and its potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease.”
To do that, they account for a variety of things:
- Ease to follow
- Ability to produce short-term and long-term weight loss results
- Nutritional completeness
- Potential for preventing and managing diabetes and heart disease
Can a Keto Diet Work?
Absolutely. Keto diets often work well for people rather quickly. The argument, however, remains: is a keto diet sustainable, and is it healthy long-term. And the answer there seems to be, no, or at the very least, results aren’t definitive yet. The major premise of the 131 Method is that many things work when phased. Like, how often do you start something new and seem to drop weight effortlessly? But at some point, what once was effortless becomes more and more difficult to maintain. Sometimes all it takes is a little shake up, and in the case of diet phasing, that occurs every month or so. Phasing helps people keep their metabolism guessing without needing to hard core diet or jump on the latest keto trend. According to CNN, “interest in keto has far outpaced interest in other fad diets.” A trends chart from Google shows that “keto” searches completely stomped searches for all other diet trends in recent years (3).
Which Diet Reigns Supreme?
Well, personally, we think it’s REALLY hard to pick one diet that works for everyone. Our heredity, past diet history, gut health, schedules, age and so much more all play huge roles in how successful a diet will be. We talk about a few in this article. What it really comes down to is understanding YOUR unique body and which foods work best for you. Becoming a vegan and loading up on fruit, beans and lentils in the name of health might make you feel terrible if FODMAPs cause you trouble. And keto might not work for you if you have gallbladder issues. The best diet is the one you design based on gathering up all the information you can on your own body and how certain foods affect you. We help you discover all of that precious info (and so much more) in the 131 Method.
In the meantime, feel free to check out the best 35 diets ranked from U.S. News here. And remember, even the best diets should be phased!
What we Know for Sure
Eating whole, unprocessed foods never goes out of style. Eliminating sugar is good for everyone, especially for longevity. Discovering the foods that are inflammatory for you make you feel better, less bloated and gassy, with healthier joints and even weight loss. When you phase your diet, your body keeps guessing and doesn’t plateau. So, before you stab your flag in the sand and declare yourself, “vegan, paleo, keto,” consider being all things some of the time. Trends come and go. Science catches up to us. Instead of shunning entire food groups indefinitely, do some research, test things on yourself, and mix things up every month or so.