The Keto Diet: A List of Myths and Facts About This Low Carb Diet

Some dismiss keto as nothing more than a fad diet, but its results beg to disagree. The keto diet has produced consistent results among those who practice it, including low body fat, lower blood sugar levels, reduced insulin resistance, and many more.

Keto isn’t only a weight-loss diet; it improves your overall health, as well.

However, some claims seem to contradict the reported positive effects of this diet. Which claims are true and which aren’t?

We’ll look at some of the most popular claims about keto. Read on to find out which claims are myths and which are facts.

Myth: Keto Will Make You Fat

Keto is a fat-based diet that urges people to consume high-fat foods. Some food items that are normally not allowed in other types of diets are acceptable in a keto diet – it even encourages eating some of them! (Mmmm bacon!) 

When on keto, 70 to 80% of your daily calories should come from fats. 10 to 20% of it should come from proteins and only 5 to 10% from carbohydrates.

By this alone, people tend to think that the keto diet won’t help make them thinner or leaner. After all, fat makes you fat, right?

Wrong!

Fact: It’s Not the Fat That Makes You Fat

It’s the carbohydrates and sugar that make you fat. Some people eat refined carbs instead to replace fat in their diet. This likely won’t work, as refined carbs are the culprit in the first place.

There’s good fat and bad fat. This means there’s also a good keto diet and a bad keto diet. Keto doesn’t give you a free pass to eating all kinds of fat. 

You still need to avoid trans fats and vegetable oils while on keto. That includes canola oil, corn oil, sunflower oil, margarine, and the likes.

Stick to the natural sources containing monounsaturated fats and healthy saturated fats.

Myth: Keto Doesn’t Provide Enough Nutrients

This myth has similar roots to the myth above. People tend to think that all you eat when on keto is steak, pork chops, and eggs. For some people, that’s not even an exaggeration.

And if that’s what they think, then they’d be correct. Those three foods will hardly provide all the nutrients you need. Sticking to this diet might even put you in danger. 

However, being on keto doesn’t mean you can only eat those or similar foods. 

Fact: You Can Eat Healthy While on Keto

A well-balanced ketogenic diet consists of more than meat and eggs. You can have low-carb fibrous vegetables, leafy greens, nuts, dairy, and so on. 

Keto isn’t an excuse to eat unhealthy foods as you still have nutritious ones as an option.

Some people have an unhealthy diet even when not on keto, so it’s not that at all different to every other type of diet.

Myth: Keto Will Raise Your Cholesterol

Again, people tend to think you’d be eating platefuls of greasy bacon every day. For this reason, they also think keto will raise your cholesterol levels.

Again, you have a variety of plant- and animal-based fats to choose from. It’s not the keto diet itself that is harmful.

Fact: Keto Can Help Lower Your Cholesterol

Keto can even help you lower your cholesterol levels. In a meta-analysis citing 17 clinical trials, the researchers found that low-carb diets helped improve the cholesterol of the participants. They even lower the major cardiovascular risks in the participants.

The ketogenic diet raises the good HDL-cholesterol and improves other cardiovascular markers. While it does raise LDL-cholesterol, LDL-C doesn’t have links to cardiovascular outcomes.

Thus, the overall effect of keto on cholesterol (and the heart) is good.

Myth: Keto is Bad for Athletes and Active People

When you’re doing any type of activity, you need the energy to make it through. This is why athletes and those who exercise tend to eat a lot of carbs to sustain their energy needs.

With a lower intake of carbohydrates, though, is keto the best decision for those who love to exercise?

Fact: Fat Becomes Your Fuel Source

What matters for the body is that it has enough fuel for energy. When you’re low on carbohydrates, it forces your body to use fat for fuel instead.

That’s why keto doesn’t affect whatever activity you want to do. You only have to consume as many fats as you need for your workouts.

Some people may experience feeling sluggish and less energized. It’s a natural effect of switching to fats as your fuel reserve.

As you continue on your keto journey, though, these feelings should dissipate. A well-formulated keto diet can even make you perform better.

Still, remember there’s no one solution for everybody. If you feel like you need more carbs, you can have a modified keto diet that incorporates more carbs. This is usually for intense workouts and activities, like weightlifting and such.

Myth: Keto Causes Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is a serious condition affecting people with diabetes. This happens when the body doesn’t have enough insulin, so it can’t use all the sugar in your blood. It will instead burn fat as it can’t burn glucose.

Fat metabolism produces acids called ketones. When the amount of ketones builds up in your body, it can throw off the delicate balance in your blood.

It has the potential to be life-threatening, which makes people think that keto is dangerous

Fact: Ketosis is Not Ketoacidosis

What happens during a keto diet is ketosis. It’s not synonymous with ketoacidosis, but people tend to conflate the two with each other. 

Ketosis a metabolic process that burns fat for energy rather than carbohydrates. Your body goes into ketosis when there are not enough carbs to burn for energy. It taps into your fat reserve to break down fat instead.

Of course, this also produces ketones as a byproduct. Yet, the process produces lower and safer levels of ketones. It’s not high enough to cause acidosis.

Myth: You Have to Give Up Alcoholic Drinks

If you love the occasional drink with friends or a glass of wine before bedtime, you might get worried about going into a keto diet. 

We won’t tell you that your worries are invalid. The truth is that beer and wine are heavy in carbohydrates, in general. However, there’s no reason to drop alcohol altogether when you’re on a keto diet. 

Fact: Some Alcoholic Drinks are Good for Keto

Some light beers and dry wine are acceptable on keto. You don’t have to give up socialization or your relaxing routine. Most liquors are low in carbohydrates, too.

Whiskey, vodka, and dry martini contain zero carbs, so they’re in the clear.

The only thing that will change is that you’ll have limited choices when you go out to have a drink. Still, that’s true even for food.

You only have to keep in mind that you’ll likely have a lower tolerance for alcohol when on keto. 

Myth: Keto is Only Good for Losing Weight

Keto is fantastic for losing excess weight. It reduces the intake of carbs and sugar – two of the biggest culprits of weight gain. It induces ketosis, as well, so that the body burns the fat reserves, leading to an even greater weight loss.

Still, it’s far from being the only thing keto is good for.

Fact: Keto Can Do More for Your Health

Weight loss is not even the goal of keto when Dr. Russell Wilder developed it as a treatment for epilepsy. Weight loss was only a side effect, which made this diet popular among the masses.

However, keto has proved it can do more for your health. It can help in regulating hormones, normalizing blood sugar levels, improving digestive health, and much more.

It can supplement your weight and health goals, whatever it may be. 

Myth: You Must Fast While on Ketogenic Diet

Many people have a low-carb diet paired with intermittent fasting. This may cause others to think that fasting is a rule when you go on keto. Well, is it?

Fact: You Don’t Have to Fast

Fasting isn’t a rule in keto; intermittent fasting is a whole other type of diet. A keto diet alone can help you maintain ketosis.

The reason why people pair it with their diet, though, is that it can help accelerate the results. It can help with the detoxification and help control your hunger and cravings.

For some, fasting comes naturally as ketones tend to curb hunger. This makes it easier to fast.

Myth: You Can Eat as Many Calories as You Want

There’s no calorie-counting in keto. If you count the calories you need for the day, you might find you’re eating more calories than before. That’s because you need higher amounts of fat to have enough energy for the day.

That doesn’t mean, though, that you can stuff your body with as many calories as you want.

Fact: The Calories Still Matter

There’s still a ceiling you should mind when on a keto diet – or any type of diet for that matter. When you consume more calories than you burn, you still won’t lose weight.

On keto, the ceiling is much higher, so calorie-counting isn’t as important. Furthermore, calories and fat end up being the same in practice.

Excess calories usually come from excess fats. In a well-balanced keto diet, you shouldn’t have excess fats, anyway.

Myth: Sustaining a Keto Diet is Hard

Keto seems to have many restrictions on food. Some of these are staples, like bread, rice, beer, potatoes, soda, and chocolate bars.

Furthermore, cheat days on keto aren’t encouraged as it can interfere with ketosis. Especially if you’re new to keto, it will take longer for your body to go on ketosis if you cheat even for one day.

This can be true for some people, but keto itself can help with your diet.

Fact: Keto Helps You Stay on Keto

One of the biggest challenges of dieting is the hunger between meals. As keto doesn’t usually limit your calories, it doesn’t make you go hungry like other types of diet do.

If there’s a craving, you can eat any keto-friendly food you want to make it go away. Lots of food are becoming keto, as well, so you don’t have to endure the loss of a favorite snack.

This makes keto more sustainable than other types of diet. It can be challenging, sure, but it’s easier once you’re on the track.

Related Questions

The ketogenic diet is a wide subject, so it’s natural to have more questions as you read. Check out the answers to some related questions below.

What types of food can you eat on keto?

The best foods to eat are those that contain less than 3 grams of net carbs per 100 grams. Foods with 3 to 6 grams of net carbs per 100 grams are still good.

That said, the best types of produce products to incorporate in your keto diet are greens, lettuce, avocados, herbs, mushrooms, and so on. As for the meat, almost anything is great, including your usual choice of pork, beef, chicken, lamb, fatty fish, white fish, crab, lobster, and other types of seafood. Butter, heavy cream, soft cheeses, eggs, and such are the best dairy products for keto.

Broccoli, artichokes, cream cheese, Greek yogurt, nuts, seeds, and such are all good. Drinks like coffee, low-carb alcohol, and tea are also okay.

In general, avoid grains, beans, low-fat dairy, most fruits, starchy vegetables, and so on.

How can I eat healthy while on a keto diet?

Like in other types of diet, you have to keep watch on the food you’re eating. Incorporate as many nutrient-rich foods into your diet as much as you can.

You can do vegetable side-dishes and choose high-quality meat for your meals, for instance. For snacks, you can have some Greek yogurt with nuts and some keto-friendly berries.

It might be difficult with all the limitations, but it’s not impossible. You’ll have to put a little more effort and be more mindful, but a healthy keto diet is achievable.

Learn More About the Ketogenic Diet

People’s misconceptions about the keto diet might be preventing you from taking the plunge. To distinguish between myths and facts, educate yourself first.

But why stop here when we have more tips and tricks to help you stick with your diet and stay fit? Don’t hesitate to go over more of our health and fitness guides to learn more!

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