The Ketogenic Diet is a science; it is not another fad diet and it’s not a quick fix. So, let’s have a look at what it means to have a perfect keto diet plan… The quick fix mentality is what fuels the diet industry, and it’s partially why most people are doing keto wrong.
The Ketogenic Diet was initially formulated and used to treat children with Epilepsy or difficult to control seizures.
It seems to me, as the Ketogenic Diet becomes more popular, that people are missing the opportunity to really make this lifestyle work for them. On social media, you will see people eat McDonalds Burgers without the buns and call it keto. They live on bacon, butter and cream and think its keto. This loose approach to the diet is confusing. A poorly formulated ketogenic diet is not beneficial to your overall health and wellbeing. So, what does the perfect keto diet looks like?
There is no judgement from me in saying you may be doing keto wrong. I just believe that we owe it to ourselves to give it the best shot we’ve got. It’s understandable that there will be times when we deviate from the diet. And no one said we have to be in ketosis all the time. Travelling can be a difficult time for someone to stay in ketosis. You’re out of the comfort of your own home and don’t have control over the foods you eat. The issue with people following poor keto diets is if when the habitual eating of processed foods or “keto” take out and the quality and nutrient density of your diet is lacking.
What Is A Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet?
The term “well-formulated Ketogenic Diet” was coined by Drs Stephen Phinney and Jeff Volek, two scientists who have spent decades researching low-carbohydrate nutrition. They are also the authors of two books on Nutritional Ketosis; The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living and The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Performance. Dr Phinney and Volek’s work on high-fat, low-carb diets and how it affects athletic performance is a must-read for any athlete or sports enthusiast interested in the benefits of ketones for performance.
What Does A Well-Formulated Ketogenic Diet Look Like?
- Promotes sustained ketosis
- Focus on fluid and mineral management
- Macronutrients comprising of whole foods
#1 Promotes Sustained Ketosis
A Ketogenic Diet is clearly defined as a low-carb, high-fat diet. It is also described as VLCHF – Very Low-Carb, High-Fat with a total daily carbohydrate allowance of 20-30g. Generally, low carb diets are not as clearly defined. Some low carb diets allow for up to 150g of carbs per day. To maintain sustained ketosis, carbohydrates should be between 20-30g per day. Other factors such as moderate protein intake are equally as important for sustained ketosis. Eating too much protein may kick you out of ketosis.
#2 Fluid and Mineral Management
Although keto primarily focuses on macronutrients, focusing on minerals such as sodium, potassium and magnesium is key to this lifestyle. More so for athletes using low-carb to fuel their performance. Read more about electrolytes needed when you follow keto.
Many people attempt to do keto by only restricting their carbohydrate intake. Although they may get some results initially, the many intricacies of the diet make it too complicated to navigate, and they eventually become discouraged and give up. Working with a nutrition coach (like me) and a structured program tailored to your specific goals may help initial and sustained success.
#4 Macronutrients Comprising of Whole Foods
Most of the Ketogenic Diet variations focus on keeping carbs below 20g per day, but they do not focus on the quality of nutrients. A well-formulated ketogenic diet focuses on quality macronutrients mostly comprising of whole foods of which a large variety is from vegetables.
Although you may not want to follow keto as a therapeutic strategy for Epilepsy, following a well-formulated Ketogenic Diet is far more beneficial for your health in the long term than most other diets. Do your best to follow a clean, well-formulated Ketogenic Diet and don’t fall for the trap or convenience that is promoted in variations such as dirty keto.