Common Keto Myths, Debunked!
1. A Ketogenic Diet Promotes the Consumption of Unhealthy Fats
The type of fat you eat most definitely matters! Vegetable oils for example; canola, soybean, safflower, sunflower, grapeseed, cottonseed, rice bran and peanut oils are some of the most industrialized and heavily processed foods in the world. Vegetable oils (none of which are actually made from vegetables) are high in omega-6 linoleic acid. For humans, there is an optimal omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of 4:1. Modern day diets, however, do not yield that ratio. Instead, we are seeing ratios closer to 20:1 or even 50:1. Diets heavy in linoleic acid are known
to cause inflammation, cellular damage, insulin resistance, obesity and heart disease. Mayonnaise, butter substitutes, salad dressings, dips, and other condiments rely on these oils because they are cheap and flavorless, and cooking with these oils is even worse, as the high heat generates oxidization, increasing its pro-inflammatory properties. Choose monosaturated and saturated fatty acids instead, whether you’re following a ketogenic diet, or not! Whole food fats like avocado, egg yolks, coconut and olives as well as olive oil, beef tallow, butter and ghee are the healthiest options.
2. Saturated Fat Leads to Heart Disease
In 2011, a Cochrane review showed that decreasing saturated fat had no effect on the risk of death from heart disease. In 2014, the Annals of Internal Medicine confirmed that there is no direct link between the consumption of saturated fat and the risk for heart disease. A diet high in saturated fat from processed meats, deep-fried foods and baked goods will most certainly yield undesirable health effects. However, these foods also contain trans fats, additives and preservatives which should always be avoided. Because most ketogenic diets include butter, ghee, full-fat dairy, egg yolks, coconut oil and animal fats, they are by nature rich in saturated fat. These whole-food sources offer a number of health benefits; reduced risk of stroke and increased beneficial HDL cholesterol. Additionally, saturated fat is essential in the formation of cell membranes. What’s the bottom line? Not all saturated fats are created equal. Structure your diet accordingly.
3. Ketogenic Diets Lack Vitamins & Minerals
Low vitamin and mineral status or nutrient deficiency of any kind is a problem not to be taken lightly. However, a ketogenic diet is not the only place that one could find themselves deficient. The standard diet of most North American’s is nutrient poor, and our modern lifestyles are nutrient sink holes. Ensuring that nutrient dense foods are selected, regardless of how one’s diet is structured, is critical for obtaining good health. High quality animal foods like pasture raised eggs, grass-fed beef, wild caught fish and oysters are some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. They contain complete proteins, are rich in bioavailable iron, vitamin B12, B6 and other important B vitamins, vitamin D3, K2, A, DHA, EPA, choline, selenium and zinc. Prioritizing these foods will ensure that many of the essential nutrients we need to thrive are obtained. Other important vitamins and minerals, like magnesium, manganese, potassium, vitamins C and E are generally abundant in like leafy greens and other non-starchy vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds. What’s the bottom line? A well formulated, whole-foods ketogenic diet is a nutrient powerhouse!
4. Some Foods Aren’t “Keto”
“But wait, that’s not keto!”. Ah, but can it be? It’s important to remember that ketosis is a metabolic state, not a yes or no food list. High sugar fruits, grains and starchy vegetables like yams, carrots and potatoes are high in carbohydrate, which means a very small amount of one of those foods could use up the daily limit of net carbs (see our Keto for Beginners post for more info on macros). However, using a single banana to sweeten an entire batch of keto-friendly, grain-free muffins could in fact work for your macros. Including some shredded carrot, or some roasted parsnip could fit into your macros. What’s important to consider, is that there is plenty of room left for the carbohydrate that comes from non-starchy vegetables, as this is a primary source of fibre, vitamins and minerals. In other words, 1 baked potato has 30 grams of carbs, that’s basically your entire day! So, although these foods can technically fit, they aren’t the best choice as they displace your other more nutrient dense sources of carbohydrate; vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds.
5. Fat Loss from a Ketogenic Diet is Temporary
All fat loss is temporary, if you go back to whatever diet or lifestyle it was that lead to the excess fat storage in the first place. This is true for ALL diets and lifestyle changes. That doesn’t mean that you have to adopt a ketogenic diet forever, it simply means that you have to consider what forms of carbohydrate and how much you choose to introduce back in, when you decide to make that change. Re-incorporating whole-food forms of carbohydrate, without gaining excess body fat is absolutely possible!