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Things to Know Before You Start the Keto Diet

07/03/2019
By Sam Davis, BHS, CPT, FNS

Let’s talk science. But first, I’ll give it to you straight: I don’t believe in keto, and that’s my conclusion after doing loads of research. Simply put, you don’t need to be on the keto diet to get where you want to be. : If it works for you, keep doin’ your thing! If you’re weighing your options and considering keto, here are some little-known facts about keto you should know before committing to it in the long run. 

What you didn’t know about Keto:

1. You have to actually be in ketosis for the keto diet to work. 

That means you have to eat less than 20-50g of carbohydrates a day. Most people don’t know what this actually looks like, so let me paint you a picture: 1/2 cup white rice, 1 banana, and  1 apple each exceed 20g. Needless to say, your options will be limited.  

During the 1st week of putting your body into ketosis, you will experience the “Keto-Flu”. This is when your body goes through withdrawal-like symptoms from not having carbohydrates, and the effects of an electrolyte imbalance. This feels like fatigue, light-headedness, mental fog, headaches, gut issues, and insomnia. This feeling, however, only lasts for about a week. (If you don’t experience this, you probably aren’t in ketosis. They have sticks you can pee on to check this, btw.)

2. “Keto-Crotch” is actually a thing. 

Because your body is using fats instead of carbs for energy, the breakdown processes can actually change your pH—which will lead to a weird/strong odor down there. Some women say this goes away, while others say it sticks.  Either way, there haven’t been enough studies on this quite yet to know exactly what’s going on.

3. The first week’s weight loss is almost always all water weight. 

Carbs hold onto 2-3g of water—so when you cut those out, the water goes too! That means the “rapid weight loss” everyone talks about when it comes to the keto diet is usually just water weight.

4. You must increase your sodium intake on the keto diet. 

When you restrict carbs, your body excretes more electrolytes than usual. The minimum is 5000mg a day. Sodium is necessary for your muscles to contract, and very important for nerve function.

Still convinced the keto diet is for you? Then great! Just know your facts; if you’re going to try a certain diet or fad it’s really important to understand what will happen to your body and why. Trying something just because it works for someone else is not the play. Figure out what works for YOUR body specifically. Education is key.

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