Keto: Extreme, Low-Carb / High-Fat Weight Loss Plan
Keto is short for ketogenic and refers to the popular low carb, high fat diet that relies on your body being forced into a constant metabolic state of ketosis. Keto can be intense, allowing only 20-50 grams of carbs per day compared to the 225 to 325 grams consumed on average.
By restricting carb intake, your body creates molecules called ketones to use as fuel. The process burns fats instead of storing them, helping you lose weight and preventing weight gain.
Like most diets that result in drastic weight loss, keto has received its fair share of praise and controversy. Hardcore advocates of keto like to promote it as a lifestyle change for long term weight loss, renewed energy, and other health benefits—while critics say it’s unsustainable, unhealthy, and that much of the weight comes back after stopping.
What it mostly boils down to is that keto only seems unsafe, like any diet, when approaching it haphazardly. Because keto involves intricate calculations at times to make sure you’re staying within the necessary carbohydrate ranges, it can be daunting and perhaps dangerous for some people. Constant proactive planning of meals is necessary to make sure you always have the right foods on hand.
Possible Keto Side Effects
Some people who try keto for long periods of time report side effects like blood chemistry imbalances, dehydration, crankiness, constipation, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and bad breath. You’ll want to make sure you approach keto with proper meal planning that doesn’t additionally leave you feeling hungry and shortchanged on nutrients. Without proper planning, it’s easy to get off the keto track if you’re on-the-go and hunger strikes, or during social occasion.
Sample Day of Meals on Keto
A snapshot of a sample meal plan for one day is included below, so you know what to expect with keto:
Breakfast (Eggs and Bacon)
- Two eggs fried in butter
- Two pieces of bacon
- ¾ C spinach + ½ C mushrooms sautéed in bacon grease
Lunch (Taco Salad)
- 3 oz. ground beef
- 2 tsp. taco seasoning
- 2 C romaine lettuce
- 3 cherry tomatoes
- 1.5 oz. cheese
- ¼ of an avocado
- ¼ C sour cream
Dinner (Baked Salmon with Loaded Stuffed “Potatoes”)
- 4 oz. salmon with butter
- ¾ C cauliflower mashed
- ½ tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp sour cream
- 1 piece bacon
- 1 tbsp scallions
- 1.5 oz. cheese
Who Can’t Do Keto?
Vegetarians and vegans will find it especially difficult. With meat, poultry, seafood, and dairy being major component of this diet, it’s not entirely impossible but not really sustainable either. And for those not willing to give up sugar in every form, along with grains, pastas, beans, starchy veggies like carrots and corn, all processed foods, alcohol, and most fruits—you’ll go mad trying to plan consistent meals that you can actually tolerate.
Anyone who expects to do keto, lose weight, and keep it off once going back to their previous lifestyle will likely not want to bother. As with all diets, it’s simply not a long-term solution for most people. Better to seek behavior modification methods like Noom instead.
Hard Without A Plan
Keto is likely to be difficult for most. Some love it because they don’t have to cut out such favorites as ground beef tacos and cheese, but we’ve also heard keto veterans say meat ‘all the time’ gets old, fast.
Another general sentiment is frustration with not having time for the constant meal planning and recipe searching to keep things fresh.
Variety is one of the things that keeps keto bearable, but the planning aspect can sometimes feel like a fulltime job. If you do decide to do keto, having a resource like Noom helps with the planning and support that can make this diet more sustainable.
Doomed Without Support
With professional guidance keto can be successful, especially for those dealing with health concerns or certain medical conditions. In order to do keto in a balanced and informed way, it’s recommended that you begin by seeing your doctor but also check out professional support that helps you stay on track with your weight loss goals. Deciding to do keto without a solid plan in place from the start will ultimately result in disappointment.
The Bottom Line
Keto can help people lose weight, but take the meals and your social, personal, and career schedules into consideration before diving in. Think about how well you’d adapt and how you’d maintain your weight loss beyond keto.
Do as much advance preparation going into it as possible. Then seek out a supportive program to keep you on track!