Over the past several years the Keto diet has been all the rage for anyone looking to lose weight and build muscle. Highly effective, this diet restricts carbs and forces the body to burn fat. Avid Keto dieters swear their method of eating increases brain function and energy levels while decreasing inflammation and cravings. I myself have tried the Keto diet and successfully lost weight doing so, but I couldn’t shake the nagging feeling that I wasn’t actually making the best choices for my health.
Is the keto craze ruining our health?
To successfully eat Keto, you must be hyper-focused on carb counting and macronutrient consumption. Macronutrients include protein, carbohydrates and fat. As we know, carbs are almost entirely off limits which means you primarily consume protein and fat. Most fresh vegetables are higher in carbohydrates so whole foods are restricted. As a result, the Keto diet is by nature a highly processed diet.
Whole foods, or foods in their natural state, are highly nutrient dense. Our diet tends to be more balanced the more whole foods we eat. These foods don’t have added sugar, sodium, or high amounts of unhealthy fats. The Keto diet largely restricts most of these options. Our body needs a variety of minerals and vitamins to function appropriately and if most of your diet is processed, you’re probably nutritionally deficient.
There are a variety of eating disorders – anorexia and bulimia being most commonly known. Obviously the casual Keto dieter shouldn’t fall into one of those categories. However, they could be battling orthoexia. Orthoexia describes symptoms of obsessive behavior such as stress and anxiety in pursuit of a healthy diet. Instead of a diet working to better your health, it’s becomes an obsession limiting your pleasure in meals. Here are a few signs your Keto diet might be taking an unhealthy turn.
- You obsess over your next meal
- Eating outside of your Keto restrictions causes anxiety or guilt
- Avoidance of whole foods in order to meet your macronutrient numbers.
- Your diet is robbing you of food enjoyment
Keto dieting is very effective for weight loss and is an excellent way to overcome a plateau. However, it isn’t a sustainable diet. The very nature of the Keto diet makes it difficult to obtain recommended levels of vitamins and minerals. Additionally, it can easily promote obsessive behaviors and disordered eating.