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Do you want to lose weight quickly? Have a trip coming up and need a bikini body? Want to lose a few pounds to fit into your favorite skinny jeans?
The extreme answer is to work out a ton and stop eating. But that’s CRAZY!
No one would do that, and no one should even consider it because it would just do too much damage to your body.
So why do people consider other extreme diets that promise fast results?
It’s because people are too distracted by the results to consider the price to get there.
One of those diets to watch out for is the Ketogenic diet…
It seems that the next best thing since kale has arrived and its name is the Ketogenic diet. While it’s great to leave the kale propaganda behind, you should be very skeptical about this new kid on the block.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet claims to give you a rockin’ body while eating bacon, cheese, and butter.
But it turns out filling your cart with mozzarella and sausage is just another too-good-to-be-true fad. At the same time, veganism is gaining speed.
How can these two VERY different diets both be growing? How can they both work?
Keep reading for a vegan / keto comparison and why you should say goodbye to meat on meat sandwiches and hello to the veggie train.
How Does Keto Work?
First let’s jump into the science that lies behind the keto mystery. (This is a bit thick – I’m sorry!)
When you’re on a keto diet, you consume almost no calories from carbohydrates (typically less than 50 grams daily, which is around 4 pieces of bread) and the majority of your calories from fat sources.
Carbohydrates are normally our bodies’ go-to source of energy. So by changing your eating patterns you force your body to use different energy pathways for digestion.
Simply put, your body will burn fat instead of carbohydrates for energy. This state is called Ketosis.
Now this’s great but let’s get to the real question: Can a person eat compound butter and steak while maintaining 6 pack abs?
Does Keto Work?
Shockingly enough short term studies have shown the keto diet is effective for weight loss. Studies have also shown its ability to level out blood sugars and aid in controlling epilepsy in the short term.
Don’t stop reading there.
Keto also has some concerning downsides and a lack of long term research…
Reasons to go Vegan, not Keto
Switching to a relatively low carb diet is a shock for your body. It’s used to burning carbohydrates for energy so when you deprive it of those carbohydrates it goes through a withdrawal period.
A lot of people say the withdrawal is similar to what it feels like to stop other addictive substances. Some symptoms include nausea, vomiting, headache, diarrhea, weakness, muscle cramps, and insomnia.
I went keto for a week and the keto flu was relentless and horrible. It made me super moody… almost to the point of becoming depressed.
The flu can last for a week before your body starts to recover. Why would you want to put yourself through that?
Going vegan doesn’t cause ANY side effects.
When you cut out carbs it causes your gut to become a bit confused. It’s used to digesting very heavy loads of carbs and now all it’s getting is fat and protein.
This will cause your gut to take a while to adapt to breaking down these new nutrients during which time you’ll experience constipation.
Also, on a keto diet you’re not consuming as much fiber as you used to which can lead to constipation.
Veganism aids in healthy bowel function and helps to prevent colon cancer.
Your brain needs carbohydrates for energy.
When it’s deprived of carbohydrates you experience confusion, dizziness, and mood swings.
Especially during the first few weeks of going keto your body is craving sugar so bad it’s all you ever think about. Nothing else will matter in your mind and you’re increasingly irritable and depressed along with having brain fog.
When you’re on the keto diet your body breaks down fat instead of carbohydrates. That fat turns to fatty acids which turn into ketones. Ketones are made of a few different things, one of them being acetone.
When your body wants to excrete acetone one of the ways is via your breath. So one of the ways to know you’re in ketosis is that your breath will smell like nail polish remover.
And no one wants that.
Since the keto diet cuts out carbs, it limits your ability to consume nutrient rich healthy carbohydrate sources such as fruits and starchy vegetables.
With almost all of your calories coming from fats (probably unhealthy fats and saturated fats) this causes the majority of people on keto diets to have higher cholesterol which leads to an increased risk of developing heart disease.
On the other hand, the vegan diet dramatically lowers your risk of heart disease.
Compared to meat eaters, vegans have a staggering 75% lower risk of developing high blood pressure. What’s even crazier is that vegans also have a 45% lower risk of dying from heart disease.
Since a ketogenic diet is low in carbs you’ll have to turn to fat and protein to make up for your caloric losses. Increasing your protein intake is tough on your kidneys.
Proteins make your urine more acidic and increase calcium and uric acid levels. This combination makes a person more susceptible to kidney stones as well as gout (which is a very painful type of arthritis).
Research has shown that 1 in 20 people who are on the ketogenic diet will develop kidney stones.
When you’re on the keto diet you have extremely low intake of certain fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes that are extremely healthy for your body.
Without these foods, you miss out on the fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that these foods contain. The effects of long-term loss of these include bone loss and overall increased risk of chronic diseases.
By now you get it, your body typically uses carbohydrates as fuel and on a keto diet it uses fat.
This actually affects not only your kidneys but your pancreas as well. The pancreas is used to breaking down large amounts of carbs and it has many helpers which aid in this process.
For example, your saliva is made of enzymes that predigest food, making it easy for the pancreas to secrete hormones that finish the job.
However, when you’re eating a ton of fat your pancreas has to work overtime by secreting a hormone called lipase. After doing this for a prolonged period of time it can cause inflammation of the pancreas (called pancreatitis).
Its symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and extreme abdominal pain. Sometimes pancreatitis is so severe you have to be hospitalized for several days.
Increased Risk of DEATH!
If all the previous reasons aren’t enough to scare you away from the ketogenic diet this should.
A 2018 research study linked long-term adoption of the Keto diet to an increased risk of death. This was a huge study with over 24,000 people participating.
It showed an increased risk of death by 32% for people on a low carb diet.
Also, the risks of death from coronary heart disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer were increased by 51%, 50%, and 35%, respectively.
The physician who spearheaded the research said: “Low carbohydrate diets might be useful in the short term to lose weight, lower blood pressure, and improve blood glucose control, but our study suggests that in the long-term they are linked with an increased risk of death from any cause, and deaths due to cardiovascular disease, cerebrovascular disease, and cancer.”
Let’s be honest, the keto diet can help lose short term weight, which usually lowers cardiovascular risk factors like obesity and type 2 diabetes, but these effects are short lived at best.
The reality is that most people gain back all the weight lost and then some after they stop the keto diet (or if you don’t do it juuuuust right).
Studies have also shown that weight fluctuations caused by yo-yo dieting can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke by 40%.
Don’t forget the increased risk of high cholesterol with the keto diet… That can lead to heart disease too.
I know we wrote about the decreased risk of heart disease with veganism but did you know that Veganism reduces the risk for type 2 diabetes by 78%?
Studies even report that vegan diets lower blood sugar levels in diabetics more than the diets from the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, and National Cholesterol Education Program.
What’s even more exciting is that several studies show a vegan diet can provide complete relief from distal polyneuropathy which is the condition that causes sharp pain in diabetics.
Keto is a Fad, Veganism is Not
Veganism isn’t a fad that’s here today and gone tomorrow. It’s an actual shift that’s happening in our culture.
There’s been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S in the last three years. Tons of mainstream health organizations are now recommending a plant based diet for better health too.
Some of those are: Kaiser Permanente (the largest healthcare organization in the U.S).; the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee; and the American Institute for Cancer Research.
Meanwhile, the keto diet has come and gone throughout the years since 1860. Of course it’s had different aliases (Remember Atkins anyone?) but nonetheless, people have been starting and stopping low carb for years.
Veganism however, is here to stay.
The ketogenic diet is more of a recipe for disaster. Its “quick fix” salespeople push the idea that it’s the best way to lose weight.
While it can help you lose weight by changing your body’s chemistry, the long-term effects and risks are too great to really make it part of a healthy lifestyle.
On the other hand, veganism can be part of a healthy lifestyle (including weight loss). It can not only lower your risk for chronic diseases but it can also help control those diseases if you’re already dealing with one.
Not sure where to start? Check out our 7 easy tips for going vegan. We’re here for you every step of the way.
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