7 Keto Myths that Need Debunking in 2020

7 Keto Myths that Need Debunking in 2020

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Myth 1: Keto is Hard to Stick To

The only aspect of this myth that’s correct is that our food environments prompt us to eat carbs. Carbs and sugar are everywhere. What’s more, we are constantly exposed to the social pressure to eat sugar and carbs, birthday cake at a party or champagne at a celebration being two good examples. So, because of social context, keto can be difficult. Evidence that keto is not hard to stick to long term comes from the Virta Health Two-Year study, in which 74% of obese diabetic patients, most of whom probably suffered from a form of food addiction, were able to adhere to keto for at least two years (Virta is still tracking this cohort). The dropout rate in the standard of care group was statically the same.

Myth 2: Keto Means Red Meat, Dairy, and Saturated Fat

This is from the New York Times 2019: “And many say they find it worrisome because it encourages foods high in saturated fat.” This is simply garbage. Keto is defined by its macronutrient breakdown, i.e. high fat. Nobody ever said keto means high saturated fat. If you want 75% of your calories from fat, those 75% could be broken down into whatever composition of saturated, monounsaturated, and polyunsaturated you want.

Myth 3: Keto Means Less Veg

Keto simply does not mean eating fewer vegetables, it just means choosing specific vegetables. You’ll certainly be eating less potatoes, but spinach has 3 grams of protein for every gram of net carb. Avocado, asparagus, artichoke, arugula, and those are just the As. broccoli, beats, brussels sprouts, bok choy, etc.

Myth 4: Keto Means No Fruit

Try dipping some strawberries in whipped coconut cream, maybe with a dash of vanilla or cacao. Delicious.

Myth 5: Keto Is Nutrient Deficient

In short, keto is nutrient deficient like a vegetarian Oreo diet.

Myth 6: High-fat Increases Heart Disease Risk

The main reason people still think high-fat, low-carb is bad for the heart is that it can increase LDL cholesterol. But, in the context of low-carb, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Here’s why.

“Low-density-lipoprotein” (LDL) is like a boat that transports two types of cargo through the bloodstream. LDL transports cholesterol (an essential cellular building block for cell membranes and hormones) and triglycerides (fat fuel) from the liver to organs around the body that need building blocks and fuel.

LDL levels can increase for two reasons.

(i) If you’re eating a low-carb diet and burning fat as fuel, your liver sends out more LDL boats to supply fat fuel to your muscles. The empty LDL boats return to the liver to dock, restock, and go back to work.

(ii) Alternatively, when you overeat carbs, it is as if you’re filling your bloodstream with sugar glaciers. The LDL boats bump into these sugar glaciers and get damaged in a process classed “glycation.” (Glycation, in turn, makes those LDL boats further vulnerable to another damaging chemical process called oxidation.) Once damaged by the sugar glaciers, the LDL boats can’t return to the liver and end accumulating in your bloodstream. Eventually, they sink down to your artery walls and develop atherosclerotic plaques, a titanic health catastrophe.

Therefore, the perception that LDL is “bad,” and by extension that keto causes heart disease, is probably not true.

It’s also important to remember that there are lots of other risk factors for heart disease, like obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, etc., all of which decrease on keto.

Nicholas Norwitz – Oxford PhD Researcher and Harvard Med Student:

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