Are there people in your life who pick fights with you about going keto / low carb? Are you about to go keto and worry what people will say about your low carb diet?
What, are we joining a new religion here, or just shopping in new grocery aisles??
When P first told me about keto three years ago, I had the same response as most people. 24/7 MEAT AND CHEESE DIET, GROSS! But I did my research. Lots, and lots of research. Lots of science. Lots of academic papers, lots of studies, lots of books and Harvard and Mayo Clinic and blah blah blah. I’m now a believer, and after now using keto in practice, I’m definitely on board. I love it. I feel good. Also, it’s not a meat and cheese diet, I eat SO many more veggies now than before.
And like most things, when you’re doing something that makes you feel good, there will be people who want to throw wheat bread all over your parade. Since I’ve been talking to others lately who have been feeling harassed by their friends and family, I thought I’d put this little guide out there to share. And please feel free to add your most common annoying arguments in the comments.
Annoying statement #1: Low carb diets are so bad for you.
Ketogenic is a scientific term, it’s a way of eating that eliminates traditional carbohydrates. There are many ketogenic diets, often called “low carb” diets, and those are all just marketing terms and different formulas for the same thing. For example, Atkins and Paleo are both ketogenic diets, but people associate one as unhealthy and one as healthy because they market themselves in different ways and use different formulas. News flash, not all low carb diets are the same.
Annoying statement #2: But your body needs carbohydrates for fuel!
OK , so we do have carbohydrates (veggies, etc) but actually, our body wasn’t built to run on carbohydrates and you are not depriving your body of energy by eliminating traditional grain-based carbohydrates. Your body can create its own fuel, called ketones, and it prefers to run on them. This is why people who reduce/eliminate carbohydrates find that they can think and concentrate more clearly. For the parts of your brain that requires glucose, your body turns protein into glucose by a process called gluconeogenesis. Our body doesn’t need hundreds of carbohydrates to run, even if super active. Talk to the cross-fit community for more about that, but yes, there are adjustments if you’re a runner or a gym junkie.
Annoying statement #3: There are better ways to lose weight!
Really? Because all I see are fake sugars and knee replacements. Get active? Telling that to a 300lb or 400lb person is like saying you could run down your street holding a 300lb or 400lb barbell. Get real and tuck away your ego for a minute to let people work up to it.
More importantly, people who go on ketogenic diets aren’t doing it just to lose weight. It’s a nice perk for me, and a way to measure progress, but I’m doing it for the health benefits. It’s prescribed by doctors to cancer patients (cancer dies without glucose), those with Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and other diseases and has proven to be ridiculously effective, of which I know personally. Feel free to look it all up.
Annoying statement #4: What do you do, eat bacon all day?
I almost never eat bacon. This is the worst over-generalization of all. People on whole food ketogenic diets eat lots of veggies, probably more than most! We even eat berries. What we don’t eat are starchy veggies and sugary fruits regularly. We don’t ditch them because we can’t eat them, but eventually we because we don’t want to – they make us feel like crap. Once you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet and reintroduce them, they make you feel groggy and bloated and gross. And when we do eat bacon, it’s some crazy organic grass-fed stuff that’s good for us.
Annoying statement #5: It’s not healthy to eat 5000 calories a day, how do you lose weight?
A ketogenic diet is naturally low in calories. This is another over-generalization that “low carb” diets get; People think that we consume 5,000 calories a day when in reality it’s incredibly hard to eat a ton of calories on a ketogenic diet because most of the calories people eat come from carbohydrates. I have a difficult time consuming 1500 calories a day, I have to push myself to do so.
Annoying statement #6: Aren’t sugar alcohols as bad as fake sugar?
I have no idea, but remember most of us don’t consume sugar alcohols. There are popular diets in every niche that include fake ingredients and fake sweeteners (Atkins on the low carb side and Weight Watchers on the low-fat side). Both types of diets have their offenders. For the rest of us following a keto diet without a brand name, a well-balanced ketogenic shopper only buys in the produce, meat and dairy sections of the store. Because milk is high in sugar, almond milk is a common substitute, while cheese and eggs are encouraged. We rarely shop in the aisles at all, and that means no Atkins shakes!
Annoying statement #7: All of that fat will kill you.
Our ingredients are better for you. It’s no secret these days that “good fats” are good for you and that “fat doesn’t make you fat.” Another thing most people don’t realize is that those on the ketogenic diet are very smart about their fats. We’re fanatics about good fats. We chose real, organic butter instead of fake margarine. We cook in organic coconut oil and ghee. We buy grass-fed meat because it has the best fats and omega-3s. We eat nitrate-free, uncured bacon and deli meats because nitrates and all that junk give you cancer. Go ahead, try to talk to anyone on keto about fats. I dare you.
Annoying statement #8: OMG don’t you know that Atkins guy died of a heart attack?
I don’t go for the Atkins diet, but actually, he didn’t. He had “an extraordinarily healthy cardiovascular system” according to his doctor. In reality, he actually had an incurable heart condition called cardiomyopathy which has nothing to do with your diet, but that’s not how he died, he died from a head injury after slipping on ice.
Our hearts are perfectly fine, thank you. A diet high in good fats will reduce your bad cholesterols and increase good cholesterols. All the research tells us this, but we all come into this diet worried because of what we’ve been taught, so don’t worry, we’re keeping track. In the keto forums, I see photos daily of people’s checkups and their extraordinarily healthy cholesterol levels.
Annoying statement #9: You must be starving all the time.
Ha! A ketogenic diet will never leave you hungry. Carbohydrates cause cravings and cause us to eat more, so without them, my portions are a fraction of what they used to be and I don’t snack. A ketogenic diet is the easiest one you will ever go on. Cravings disappear, you eat real, whole foods, and weight sheds away effortlessly.
Annoying statement #10: But I read this thing online about this lady who said this thing….
There will be bad eggs. I read a forum post recently from a woman saying that a low carb diet ruined her metabolism and that it took her five years to get it back up to speed. She then revealed that she was eating 15 carbs per day and around 1000 calories per day. Well, no kidding, starve yourself much? For every thousand success stories, there will be one person with a negative experience. Unfortunately, the people with the negative experiences speak at decibels a thousand percent louder than those of us who are doing great.
If you’re a non-keto reading this: A basic, non-branded keto diet includes a diet of meats, veggies, nuts, and some fruit and dairy. No processed stuff. No sugars. No grains. We consume 20-60g of net carbs per day (carbs minus fiber), and this varies from person to person, depending on how many we can consume before getting kicked out of ketosis (this is the process of burning ketones instead of carbohydrates). It’s easy to eat 20-60g of net carbs per day when you eliminate grains, it’s hardly a diet at all.
People always say “don’t diet” just “eat good foods”. That’s pretty much how I’d sum up going keto. We’re just eating good foods, real foods. I hate calling it a diet. I also loathe the words “low carb” although it’s the most understandable way to explain things. Our definition of good foods might be different than yours. And that’s OK. Just don’t be a jerk about it.
So, the next time you think my diet is going to kill me, remember that I’m much more worried about your diet than mine, and I bet I’ve done a whole lot more research into mine than you have into yours.