Hi Hayley,

Please get down and dirty with the whole trend of high fat, low carb dieting. It seems like everyone is on keto and raving about how they are losing weight while eating butter and I just can't wrap my head around it. I understand what ketosis is, but is it a legitimately safe long-term eating plan? I have a friend who does keto and hardcore intermittent fasting where she doesn't eat for 24 hours, twice a week, She swears by it and has lost a ton of weight, claims she has super energy, and actually smothers everything in butter. So many more friends are on it for the same result. What is the real deal with good fat, and can we actually base a diet on it and still be healthy? Is working out while eating this way a wise idea? 

Thanks so much!


Quick disclaimer from me first: I am not a dietician or a medical doctor so the only advice I can give you comes from my own views, experience, and research I have read on Keto over the years and observation from my clients.

The Keto diet can be a healthy way to eat and live but a lot of people who follow Keto think that as long as they only consume bacon, butter and cheese all of their dietary issues will be solved, and they will be forever beach body ready. That is so not the case. Keto is not just eating foods loaded with fat.

A lot of foods that you are allowed to eat while following a ketosis diet promote disease prevention and good health. On the flip side, many of the foods that you should not be eating are linked to diseases such as diabetes and heart disease. Starchy vegetables like potatoes (also known as french fries) are frowned upon but you are highly encouraged to consume vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts. These foods are said to lower insulin levels, contain antioxidants, and fight against heart disease.  

Proteins and high fat foods such as salmon, avocado, eggs, nuts and seeds, and olive oils are also prescribed as good foods to eat while on a Keto diet. To be honest, these are foods that we all should be eating whether you are on a keto diet or not. If you look at Canada’s most recent food guide, it promotes a very similar way of eating. It recommends we consume foods that are not processed, do not contain saturated fats, foods with zero added salt or sugar and foods that come from plants. 

The one thing I feel that people take advantage of while following a Keto diet is the overconsumption of foods that contain saturated fats. Foods like cheese, butter, and red meat are higher in saturated fats than other options. As I said earlier I am not a dietician, but it is just common sense to know that foods like these should be consumed in moderation. Perhaps your friend who smears butter on everything may want to find another option like a nut butter, avocado or some cottage cheese.

So, to answer your question, does it work? Absolutely it works. I’ve seen it first-hand. But is it sustainable? That depends on the kind of person you are, or where you are in your life. For me it would not be sustainable, at least not during this time in my life. I don’t have the discipline to restrict when I eat as well as what I eat. I don’t eat poorly but grains and fruit play a big part in my diet. I also do not need to lose weight, so I am ok there. But it works for my brother, who has been following it for years. He just has the kind of personality and I admire him for that. And exercise is also just fine on while on Keto. It may be tougher in the first couple of weeks, but once your body adjusts you should be ok. Endurance training may not be the best choice, but your regular workout routine is fine.

Keto is a good place to go if you need to lose a lot of weight, but I always coach my clients to make sure they have an exit plan. While on Keto they learn to prepare their own meals and make healthy choices so when they have reached their target they can keep their healthy eating going, but with a little less restriction.  

My advice to you, if you’re curious about Keto, is start small. Start to cut out processed and sugary foods and replace them with healthier options. Get rid of the baked goods and replace them with fresh fruit. Most fruits are not allowed on a keto diet (except small portions of berries) but an apple is a good place to start. Have eggs, avocado, cottage cheese, or Greek yoghurt for breakfast rather than toast or cereal or a muffin on the go, and lunch and dinner should be healthy lean protein like chicken or salmon and lots of vegetables. Start there and then if you want, start refining.  Planning is key so make sure you are organized as it is when we are not prepared that we are more likely to fail.

Attached - Jennifer Lopez leaving the gym today in New York.