The Keto Diet
Updated: Jun 30, 2018
If you're looking for this season's hottest diet, you've found it. We took the Adkins plan that was so popular fifteen years ago, gave it a cool new name and a "I want to speak to your manager" haircut and shoved this bad boy back on the market for your enjoyment. This thing is more popular than the Royal Wedding, y'all!
Okay, let's talk seriously about the ketogenic diet. Everyone is doing it. Almost all of my friends are on it. I just watched "The Magic Pill" (misleading title, as there are no pills in it) which is trending on Netflix right now. Keto is so hot right now.
If you aren't already aware, the Keto diet is a hight fat, low carb diet. "Keto" is aptly named because when you eat this way, your body is shocked into ketosis. During ketosis, compounds called ketones are released in your blood and stand-in for the carbohydrates that are usually there. Now, instead of burning carbs for energy, you're burning fat. This will cause you to lose weight quickly. If you want another yo-yo diet that will make you lose weight quickly, but gain it all back as soon as you start eating carbs again, then you go right ahead and do it. It's your life! However, if you're looking for a long-term answer, this is not the diet for you.
If you're anything like me, when you heard that people were eating a bunch of meat and fat instead of plants, legumes, and whole grains, you probably thought, "there's no way that can be good for your heart!". No living population shows that the ketogenic diet is good for the longevity of life. Actually, the data is in stark contrast. Countries that consume very small amounts of meat and fat, like Japan and China, live much longer than places where meat and fat are a big part of the diet. Another group of people who we see living long lives are "Adventists", a Christian sect that practices a vegetarian or vegan diet. Research shows that eating meat just one time per week increases the chance of developing diabetes by 74%. The same study followed 41,387 Adventist’s over 2 years, showed that vegans had a 62% lower risk of developing diabetes compared to omnivores. People who eat a diet low in fat and meat are more likely to live to be over 100 years old, are less likely to be on medication, and have a higher quality of life.
Consuming a diet with animal protein and fats makes you more likely to have a slew of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, coronary artery disease, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Processed meats are actually a type 1 carcinogen. That means that they are proven to cause cancer, but unlike cigarettes, no one is running commercials on television telling you that hot dogs and pepperoni are poisonous. There is no warning label in the grocery store on bacon or bologna, but they are just as poisonous and dangerous as sucking down a pack of cigarettes! Dr. T. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus at Cornell University and author of The China Study, explains that humans only recently (historically speaking) began eating meat. The inclusion of meat in our diet came well after we became who we are today. “The birth of agriculture only started about 10,000 years ago, at a time when it became considerably more convenient to herd animals. This is not nearly as long as the time [that] fashioned our basic biochemical functionality (at least tens of millions of years) and which functionality depends on the nutrient composition of plant-based foods.” he states. It is not natural for humans to consume large amounts of animal products. Just looking at our human body, you can see that we are not qualified to hunt. We can't tear hide by hand, we can't use our canines to rip like real carnivores, our claws are fragile and susceptible to cracking, yet our hands are designed perfectly for picking fruit from a tree, and our intestines are long for digesting plants like herbivores.
I recently read an article in Scientific American that made my jaw drop. It was about a new surgery that doctors are performing to rid humans of type 2 diabetes. Through surgery, they change the digestive system's anatomy by shortening the intestines and making it resemble that of a carnivore. Evidently, human digestive tracts are more similar to herbivores, which is why our body has so many issues absorbing a lot of animal products (meat, cheese, dairy, etc.). Don't get me wrong, the human digestive system is most similar an omnivore. However, we do not need animal products and if you choose to take a B12 supplement, you can forego them completely. By making the digestive system mimic a carnivore, it can digest meat properly and within weeks, the person's diabetes is gone!
I'm sure that most people read that and thought, "Finally! A cure!", but I couldn't get past the fact that human digestive tracts are long, almost identical to herbivores, practically made for eating plants. I feel like someone should have pointed this out when I was younger. Somewhere between "this is how you wash your feet" and "someday you'll grow hair in weird places", there should have been a "your body is made for eating plants and we know this because your teeth aren't sharp enough to kill, you're nails aren't strong enough to mame, your hands are perfectly designed for picking fruit, and your fucking body can't eat meat without trying to kill itself!" For some reason, that was never included in my health textbooks.
People on the ketogenic diet initially report clear skin, more energy, a more active mind, etc., but these are all results of losing weight and cutting out processed food (which you are supposed to do on the diet, but many fast food companies have started marketing keto meals because it's trendy)! Americans in particular are over-weight! Losing weight, regardless of the method, is going to to make you feel better! Harvard health notes that, while some specific diseases (particularly related to seizures) do show positive effects from a ketogenic diet, it is almost impossible to know the long term effects because it's extremely difficult to eat this way for any long period of time. Yo-yo dieting that leads to rapid weight loss, followed by weight gain when you go off the diet, is associated with increased mortality.
I suppose that the moral of the story is that you can do whatever you want because it's your life, baby! But, I do want you to be informed that yo-yo dieting is really harmful for your health, and eating animal products and meats are extremely dangerous for your vital organs. If you do this diet, you will absolutely lose weight. It would be hard not to, but you won't be able to maintain this lifestyle for long and once your body is out of ketosis, your metabolism will run slower and you will gain all of the weight back, and still have the damage done from eating a meat-heavy diet. Listen, we all want to believe that there is a magic pill, an easy way to get fit without having to try, but there isn't. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can come to terms with the fact that we are already perfect just the way we are. Who are you trying to impress by losing weight? The cold, hard truth is that if we can not learn to love ourselves, we can't expect anyone else to either. It is not worth the risks involved with constantly changing your diet to try to conform to a an "ideal" body type that you do not possess and is not realistically attaibanle. You only get this one body. Put good things in it! Nurture and take care of yourself. Do not drink soda. Do not eat fast food. Your body deserves better than that. Take care of your body and it will take care of you. say it with me now, "No more yo-yo diets!"