The Keto Diet
As the fitness world continues down it’s anti-carb, carbs are evil, carbs will kill you mentality, the Keto diet continues to gain popularity.
The instant gratification, often experienced through sheer water loss is all too endearing for most people. What follows for the vast majority beyond this stage, is pain, frustration, and a lack of long term results.
The Keto diet is a system that brings short term results. Nothing more.
To make things crystal clear, as I’ve had a debate or two with some low-comprehension readers online before, when I say carbs I mean carbs. Not sugar. I mean carbohydrates as a macronutrient, which includes sugar, but I’m mainly talking about rice, potatoes, fruit, vegetables, porridge etc. Or clean carbs if you like.
Cutting out sugar (and basically crap food) doesn’t require virtually eliminating an entire macronutrient. You can eliminate sugar without eliminating the good stuff.
But as always, people love to take stuff to the extremes, and the problem with Keto is that it’s waaay too restrictive.
I concede that for a select few, it may work in the long run. But there are an AWFUL LOT of criteria to be met in order for this to be the case.
- You need to have a fairly non-existent social life (especially in the society that we live in, where there is an abundance of food and temptations wherever you look).
- You need to have a “food history/background” that is low in carbs (and particularly sugar).
- You need to be in complete control of what is in your cupboards, fridge and cook for yourself almost 100% of the time.
Most people fail at number one.
How many social events that involve food and/or alcohol don’t have an abundance of carbs? How many don’t have an abundance of nice smelling foods that cannot be incorporated into your super-restrictive keto set-up?
I think you know the answer.
In terms of your eating background, if you have conditioned yourself to eat plenty of carbs throughout your entire life, and you suddenly decide to only eat (at an absolute maximum) 50g, you will suffer. Your brain will struggle to accept such a radical shift. The older you are, the more true this is.
Another issue with restrictive diets is that they enforce a scarcity mindset. This is awful when you’re already in a dieting (stressful) state. What this means in the real world for most people, is that when they inevitably end up consuming more than their allocated 50g of carbs (which they will eventually), they fuck up big time. They get a taste of what they’ve been deprived of and completely lose control.
What follows is a nasty guilt/deprivation trap which is difficult to escape from.
“I’ll make up for it tomorrow and eat half my normal calories” or something similar.
But it doesn’t work like that. More binges will follow, this is just the start.
In terms of criteria #3, if you live on your own, are a sufficiently good cook, and don’t have any kids, this will be a lot easier.
It goes without saying that a calorie deficit is a calorie deficit, and that there is nothing magical about keto. Deficits cause tissue reduction, just like gravity pulls us to the earth’s centre. Doesn’t matter how it’s achieved, the result is guaranteed.
The magic is in creating a system that allows you to continually achieve this in the long run. You feel invincible when you do manage to do this.
This means success now AND success later. Happiness now AND happiness later. No losses of self control occur.
If you compare this restrictive, scarcity based system compared to mine, which is based on freedom, fun and sustainability, the results are night and day. There is no binging. There are no feelings of deprivation. I can still go out and have fun with friends, family, women etc.
I manage to stay lean year round and have fun whilst doing it. Freedom = fun = sustainability. Restrictions = binges.
The difference between me and other flexible guys is that I prefer to do more cardio, which raises the maximum ceiling of caloric consumption, granting even more freedom. This is also great from a long term health standpoint. I realise that you really don’t need that much weight training volume in order to progress, and if you perform cardio on separate days to your weight training, you will recover from both.
Another difference is the fact that you don’t need that much protein to maintain muscle. You only need the standardised 1g (or more) per pound of bodyweight if you’re very, very lean. Most people reading this are not lean enough.
Therefore by default, I place more emphasis on carbs. “Clean” carbs for those of you who automatically assume I’m talking about sugar.
To wrap up, those of you who are on the Keto diet, my advice is to not expect it to keep working forever, as it won’t. The vast, vast majority of you won’t keep it up. Only those who are the exception and have minimal distractions/temptations will be able to keep it going.
Even then, do you REALLY think you’ll be able to keep this going for the rest of your life? Only two macronutrients being consumed for the rest of your life?
Think how extreme that is…good luck! 🙂