The keto diet has gained immense popularity in recent years due to it’s ability to help individuals lose weight quickly and effectively. However, the long-term effects of this diet are still being debated, and many experts caution against its potential risks. On the other hand a low-calorie plant based diet is catching traction in recent years. The plant-based diet incorporates fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and plant-based proteins. The plant-based diet also has been associated with lower risk for chronic conditions. In this article, we will explore the pros and cons of the keto diet and compare it to a low-calorie plant-based diet.
What is the keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carbohydrate diet that aims to put the body into a state of ketosis. This is a metabolic state in which the body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. The goal is to reduce carbohydrate intake to a minimum, typically around 20-50 grams per day, and increase fat intake to 70-80% of the diet. It is important to note that this is considered an acidic state, but it does not change the body’s natural pH because the body knows how to maintain the pH between 7.35-7.54. But the keto diet does change the pH in the urine where the body works to remove the ketones from the body to maintain the body’s natural pH.
Benefits of the keto diet
The keto diet has been shown to have several benefits in the short term. These include rapid weight loss, reduced hunger, and improved insulin sensitivity. The diet may also help lower blood sugar and possibly cholesterol levels (depending on the protein sources and oil use), and some studies suggest it may have a positive effect on neurological disorders such as epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease1.
Risks of the keto diet
While the keto diet may provide some benefits in the short term, it is not without risks. For example, high-fat diets have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, and the keto diet may lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies2. Additionally, the diet can be difficult to sustain over the long term, and there is a risk of rebound weight gain if a person returns to their previous eating habits. It is important to know that keto diets can be healthy or unhealthy, yet the dieter may still lose weight. The unhealthy diet, which tends to focus on meats and cheeses, may lead to a lack of nutrients and increased cholesterol. Whereas a healthy keto diet, which incorporates vegetables, low calorie fruits, nuts, seeds, may lead to decreased cholesterol.
Comparing the keto diet to a low-calorie plant-based diet
While the keto diet focuses on reducing carbohydrates and increasing fat intake, a low-calorie plant-based diet emphasizes eating whole, unprocessed plant foods that are low in calories and high in fiber. The goal of the plant-based diet is to balance all macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, and fats) rather than excluding them. This type of diet can also help with weight loss and has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer3.
Benefits of a low-calorie plant-based diet
A low-calorie plant-based diet provides a wide range of nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is also low in saturated fat and can help lower cholesterol levels. Plant-based diets have also been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer3.
Risks of a low-calorie plant-based diet
While a low-calorie plant-based diet provides many benefits, it may not be appropriate for everyone. For example, individuals who follow a plant-based diet may need to pay close attention to their protein intake to ensure they are getting enough. Additionally, a plant-based diet may not provide enough vitamin B12, which is found primarily in animal products3.
Is the keto diet worth it long-term?
While the keto diet may provide short-term benefits, the long-term risks associated with the diet are a cause for concern. Additionally, the diet can be difficult to sustain over the long term, and there is a risk of rebound weight gain if a person returns to their previous eating habits. It may be worth trying to help improve symptoms of current chronic conditions. A low-calorie plant-based diet, on the other hand, provides a wide range of nutrients and has been linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases. It is also a sustainable way of eating that can be maintained over the long term since most nutrients are maintained. Remember, unlike a vegan/vegetarian diet, a plant based diet does not fully exclude meat therefore most people are able to maintain this diet more often than not. Ultimately, the best diet for an individual will depend on their unique needs and preferences, and consulting with a healthcare professional is recommended before starting any diet. Contact us if you have any questions about how to get started.