The ketogenic diet has ballooned into popularity over the past 2 years, so much so that there seems to be a new product, snack food item and keto company springing up almost nightly. When I ran my marketing firm we focused a lot on the adoption curve. It starts small, gradually increasing until it peaks and then slowly diminishes downward when a product or idea has saturated the market and the initial hype or craze has fallen. In the event of a novel idea, entrepreneurs and investors have to be keen to find the proper time to enter the market in order to take advantage of a growing consumer base and hence the adoption curve. The most ideal time to launch products is between the early adopters and early majority phase just as the adoption curve is gaining momentum. This allows them to capitalize on the market as it peaks and they can make their mega bucks.
This is exactly what’s happening with the ketogenic diet (actually I think we’re actually on the downhill of keto—which I love. I’ll explain below). Keto has slowly gained popularity and companies are taking advantage of consumers who are jumping on the train—so to speak—and selling them products that CLAIM to be ketogenic or keto friendly because their product adheres to only one aspect of the ketogenic diet philosophy, net carbs.
Many people who quickly jump on the keto train because they’ve likely heard that a friend of a friend of a friend lost a huge amount of weight on keto. Plus they’ve heard that you could eat burgers and cheese and bacon on this diet and still lose weight as long as you stay away from carbs and sugars and you count your net carbs religiously. Want a skinny vanilla latte? Maybe you can have half because it fits in your net carbs.
Unfortunately, friends that’s the wrong concept to focus on. Net carbs is one aspect of keto, but it’s not the foundational concept and because of this, those people on keto and counting net carbs alone and not looking at all the other aspects will likely stall in their weight loss and may still have inflammation in their bodies.
The core premise of keto is to remove all aggressive, unsupportive and pro-inflammatory causing foods from your diet so that your body is free to burn fat cleanly and effortlessly. And the premise of using a keto diet to achieve wellness, is to first do the above to swing your wellness pendulum back towards the center (to wellness) and then second, adjust your keto diet to your specific needs (every human is different in their optimal macro and micro nutrient needs) and then thirdly, hone your diet, sleep and exercise to optimize your metabolism for FAT ADAPTATION. Ketosis isn’t the end goal friends, fat adaption and metabolic flexibility is. This can only happen when your metabolism—your cells, hormones, hormonal signals—are all functioning at their best. And how do we do this? By getting rid of the unsupportive foods in your diet.
Now we circle back to our keto food companies (and not all keto food companies have it out for you. There are some wonderful brands that truly understand what keto veterans and keto purists are trying to achieve). Many companies that tout a keto-friendly product, especially the ones that used to NOT have keto products like Orowheat or Nabisco, be particularly skeptical of them. They’ve latched on the net carb idea, and have created a product that looks good when you do the math, but still contains inflammatory causing ingredients, circumventing the entire core premise of keto all together.
What are these ingredients?
Here are the ingredients I have my clients AVOID:
Bottomline, if you are looking for true, long lasting weight loss, weight management and health, then please don’t just count net carbs. Be a nutrition label detective and read the ingredients carefully. Many keto products contain some or all of these pro-inflammatory ingredients. If you’re eating these keto products, the argument is that they are better than the standard American alternative—yes I agree. But are they supporting your efforts or sabotaging you? If keto didn’t work for you, I invite you to look at your version of keto and see if any of these foods or products snuck into your diet. It could have been the reason your weight stalled.
There is a whole spectrum of keto foods from questionable to super clean. The cleaner you eat, the better and quicker you will see results.
Will you EVER be able to enjoy your treat foods again? My answer is generally, "YES you can." However, this timeframe would generally happen after your healing period. What surprises many people is that after they spend the time to heal and strengthen their metabolism and change their relationship with food, they find that they don't even want these manufactured keto products anymore.
If that sounds like an unattainable reality, then I encourage you to keep on trucking. Keep moving forward on your keto journey, trust the process and stay focused. When you give your body time, sleep and proper nutrients, the world opens up and that is really when you can truly experience food freedom. Lasting and effortless weight loss is possible friends. Just remember to keep it keto!
Arlene Santos is a Certified Health & Nutrition Coach and works with women and families to implement achievable nutrition plans centered around primal, nutrient dense foods that are easy to prepare, kid-friendly and delicious. She believes that every woman and mother deserves to feel energized, focused, healthy, lean, happy and confident. As purveyors of nutrition within our own households, mothers have a unique opportunity to change the definition of "healthy foods" in their families. Arlene empowers women to take back their own health, fill and strengthen their cups, so they can advocate for wellness in their families.