This nutritionist’s top reasons why not everyone should jump on the Keto Diet train.
You have likely heard of or maybe even tinkered or possibly fully embraced the Keto diet. I am not saying Keto isn’t something to consider, especially if you have certain metabolic (turning food into energy) challenges, or seizures. I also feel any diet that gets people to switch from highly refined and possibly mindless eating habits to diet theories like Keto and Paleo, when they consist of eating real whole foods, in their grass fed, wild, and pure forms, can be a really good change.
What I am saying is that there is not one single diet that is meant for everybody for every day. It comes down to paying attention to what YOUR body needs, and how you feel and function after eating certain foods, as well as your current level of health and ability to process certain foods.
What is food, really?
When looking to make big swings in foods we consume, I feel it is important to go back to the basics about what food is and what food isn’t.
Food is more than just “material”. Every single crumb of food is comprised of many different compounds, primarily including (but not limited to) nutrients, bacteria, enzymes, hormones, water, and varying ratios of our macro nutrients of proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Since real food also has genes and DNA, one could say it also provides our bodies with information and instructions. That is a lot of inputs that come in to our bodies with every bite we take. Every single one of us needs different variations in all of those food related items.
Why do we each need different variations in those food compounds?
Considering that within each of us, we have different states of health. The means our requirements will change from person to person, and even within ourselves from week to week.
Current States of Health - Each of our personal current states of health can be linked to our current levels of gut bacteria imbalance, stomach acid (affected by stress or too much processed food, etc), hormone imbalance, low enzyme activity, nutrient deficiency, lack of sleep, and the list goes on. We all have different levels of resources our body needs to support and maintain health and all of those resources impact what we need to thrive. If we address those resource challenges, our body can take care of business much better.
This is where just moving to a Keto diet because our friend is feeling great on it may not be the best solution based on our personal current health state. In cases where fat digestion is impaired due to a removed gallbladder or sluggish liver, we can get into some digestive concerns, as Keto is a very high fat diet. This is important to address first. Don’t get me wrong, health fats are imperative and highly recommended. It is just how much can your body handle currently, and why types work best for you? Also, where there is gut bacteria imbalance, plant foods, due to it’s fibre content, is important to focus on in order feed good gut bacteria, and if those plant food carbohydrates are limited, we may affect our gut bacteria.
Genetics - We also have genetic information that instructs our bodies how to handle certain foods. For example, certain genes if on or off, can affect our needs for fiber or zinc or protein, just to name a few. Fibre is an important way that we remove toxic wastes out of our bodies. It also helps to move cholesterol. Since we can only get fibre from plants, limiting plants due to a low carbohydrate diet can cause negative results, if those are issues you have. Same with the need for more zinc or protein. We may have a genetic need for more zinc or protein, so we need to provide the amount our bodies need, not what a preplanned diet says we need.
An easy way to explain this is that we can see we tend to eat differently based on how we feel and looking at symptoms. When we are fighting the flu, we naturally reduce certain types of foods usually, as our bodies need different resources during those times and we tend to feel like not eating or maybe only simple foods. We also eat differently in the heat of summer compared to the chill of winter, due to body temperature, cravings and other factors.
We should approach our daily diet in the same way. How do we feel and what do we need to correct symptoms? What foods make us feel bloated, gassy, foggy brain, tired, or fall into the diarrhea or constipation groups? Limit or remove those foods. Increase the foods the help us feel energized, smooth digestion and clear headed. Listen to those to help direct you personally to what real whole foods help to reduce symptoms so you can thrive!
Enjoy the week!
Lisa Aschenbrenner, RHN - Registered Holistic Nutritionist
For more information please visit RealFoodForThought.ca