Keto diet misconceptions

Photo courtesy of Allie Ghisson, Student Publications

Earlier this week, the U.S News & World Report ranked the ketogenic diet as one of the lowest on the “best overall” scale.

This prompted health gurus to head to Twitter and TikTok to denounce the diet and describe it as one of the worst for your body. As someone who found success with the high fat, low carb way of eating, I always feel guilty when these threads pop up on social media that make fun of those who are part of the keto lifestyle.

Over the past few months, I’ve lost over sixty-five pounds while following a ketogenic diet plan set forth to me by a doctor that specializes in obesity medicine.

My first week on the diet I was looking for inspiration and recipes on social media and soon found the overwhelming cult that sets out to mock anyone and everyone who takes pride in their keto snacks. “People who are on the keto diet eat cream cheese for every meal and say it’s healthy,” among other similar comments are typically found in the comment sections of the people brave enough to share what they’re eating to stay in ketosis.

These comments didn’t bother me much at first, until I started telling people what I was doing to lose weight. I was met with questions about how healthy the diet really was and how a doctor would ever suggest it to a patient. Not only one, but three doctors have suggested to me that I pursue a low carb, high fat diet. And you know why that is? Because it works.

What I believe set up keto’s bad reputation with the public is the videos that go viral of people who pursue the “dirty” version of the keto diet.

Dirty keto exists for those that want an easy buy in into the diet. These are the people that mostly consume highly processed and “unhealthy” low carb foods and thrive on eating chips made exclusively out of melted cheese. While they give the diet a bad rap, the people that indulge in dirty and lazy keto are just as valid as those that eat clean keto, and the effects of the diet are pretty much the same.

The traditional benefits of a ketogenic diet include weight loss and boosts in energy. Some of the lesser known benefits include blood sugar regulation, acid reflux alleviation and a significant reduction in polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) symptoms in women.

As someone who has suffered from all of those things, I have felt the benefits of a keto diet first hand and I encourage others to try it out for themselves, especially if they experience the same health issues.

After nearly five months of success on the keto diet, I’ve learned to tune out the commentary and listen to my own body.

The odds were stacked against me as a plus sized woman diagnosed with PCOS, a condition that can increase your insulin production. Every other diet I ever tried left me with little results, zero satisfaction and an empty stomach.

Outside of the physical health benefits, the keto diet has almost entirely repaired a lifetime of unhealthy eating habits.

The high fat aspect of the diet keeps me fuller longer, and I have entirely nixed the concept of “bored eating” from my brain.

By allowing me that crutch, the keto diet has helped me identify my negative eating patterns and take control of them and for that I am willing to die on this hill.

So while Twitter users will make fun of me for eating deli meats wrapped in cheese slices for lunch, I hope those around me will recognize that I am a far better and healthier version of myself before I embarked on this lifestyle change.