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Is the Keto Diet Right for You?

By on November 1, 2019

Short Term Maybe, Long Term Definitely Not

By: Siphiwe Baleka, Founder, Fitness Trucking

When it comes to diet and nutrition planning, the question I’m most frequently asked is, “What about keto?” And the answer I most often give is, “I’m not a big fan.” Let me explain.

Nothing in the universe is inherently good or bad—it’s all about how it is applied to a purpose. For example, the sun is considered “good” when it provides the light and heat that we need to live and grow. It is considered bad when it overwhelms the land and contributes to famine during periods of drought or when someone is adversely affected by sunburn or skin cancer. Similarly, heroin is considered “bad” when it’s taken as a form of drug abuse but would be considered a “good” anesthesia if a battlefield wound required immediate surgery. It’s all about how you apply it to a purpose.

“Keto” is short for the scientific term “ketosis,” which is a metabolic process that occurs when the body begins to burn fat for energy because it does not have enough carbohydrates to burn. During this process, the liver produces chemicals called ketones. The ketogenic or keto diet aims to induce ketosis to burn more fat. It does this by restricting dieters to 40 grams of carbohydrates or less daily. 

A keto diet is very effective for jumpstarting the metabolism so that it begins to burn fat throughout the day. This is why there are so many effective, weight-loss testimonials in such short amounts of time. However, there are some problems that you don’t normally hear about. Keto is like a hydra—you chop off one head and two more grow in its place. With a keto diet, you solve one problem, but you create others.

Experience is Best Teacher

I’ve worked with thousands of drivers, and my clients keep a food log. They record everything they eat and drink for 13 weeks. Each week, I analyze their nutrition levels. The average driver starts my program consuming somewhere between 200 and 300 grams of carbohydrates. For these drivers to suddenly cut their carbohydrate consumption by 80% to 87% is a drastic shock to the body that oftentimes provokes an adverse reaction called “carb withdrawal.” It manifests itself in food cravings. Such an effect can create psychological pressure, making it difficult and stressful to “stick” to the keto diet. In addition, approximately 35% of the carbohydrates that one consumes are used to provide energy for the brain. A side effect of a drastic reduction in carbohydrates can be brain fog, which, you don’t want to experience while driving.

Another problem with the keto diet is that extreme restrictions in the variety of food intake can lead to nutritional deficiencies. I discussed this in the March/April 2019 Issue of RoadKing.1 

Again, according to four-time “New York Times” bestselling author Dr. Mark Hyman, “a whopping 92% of us are deficient in one or more nutrients based on the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) levels.” Male deficiencies averaged 40% of RDA vitamins and 54.2% of RDA minerals. Female deficiencies were 29% for RDA vitamins and 44.2% for RDA minerals. These deficiencies create their own set of problems.

Unsustainable Long Term

I consider the keto diet unsustainable over the long term because of the nutritional deficiencies that it compounds. You cannot eat a keto diet and stay healthy in the long term. At some point, you will need to find a complete nutritional strategy. Once you begin to eat foods that you did not eat while on the keto diet, the likelihood is that you will start to gain weight. So, you are right back where you started. 

The keto diet is a good short-term nutritional strategy for jumpstarting the fat burning process. However, the truth of the matter is—THERE IS ONLY ONE DIET THAT IS OPTIMAL—that being any diet providing all 60 essential nutrients your body needs every day while doing no harm. There are as many healthy ways of achieving that objective, as there are people. For the last seven years, I’ve been teaching drivers a process to determine how to achieve an optimal diet based on individual eating patterns and preferences. The process requires logging your food in the Cronometer app, which tracks all 60 essential nutrients.

In the book, “4 Minute Fit: The Metabolism Accelerator for the Time Crunched, Deskbound and Stressed-Out”, I explain how to use the app and how to make the necessary changes. To order your copy, search “4 Minute Fit Book” online. It’s a great holiday gift for any driver who is concerned about improving health and losing weight. 

1 roadking.com/health/give-new-meaning-to-nutritional-intake/

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