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The Keto Diet, The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly

Uncategorized May 31, 2019

What’s the most successful diet?

Is it Paleo? Ketogenic? Portion Fix? Mediterranean? Atkins? Grapefruit? Hot Dog?

LOL…just checking to see if you’re paying attention.

One of my students told me there is a REAL diet out there based around the Hot Dog Diet. We all need to read this article to prevent more of that going on in the world.

In all seriousness, crap like grapefruit diets, miracle pills, and one size fits all solutions are assailing the consumer, your clients, all the time.

People are so desperate for something to help them, that they will almost believe anything anyone says that promises the quick fix to their problems… especially their trainer.

This is why, more than ever, you need to be a trusted resource people can turn to for help and guidance.

You better know your stuff.

Being up on, and having the know how to talk about sound nutrition practices and behavior change for your clients is a must today in the industry.

That said, what’s the most successful diet you should recommend?

I’ll give you a hint- the answer isn’t above, or is it?

I recently had Chris Mohr, a leading dietician in America, on The Fitnesspreneur’s Life Show Podcast and he shared that the data shows that the most successful diet is the one that people stick with, plain and simple.

Not brain science, right?

Are you teaching that to your clients?

Or… are you treating them like you and giving them the same plan that works for you?

Or… is the latest fad that helps them stay with you what you suggest?

Or… do you have them surviving on bars and shakes all day as though they love the “trainer way of eating?”

Or… maybe you have them taking pills, formulas, and gels because it makes you a few dollars as a rep?

Or… worse, are you doing nothing at all and not even having the nutrition conversation with your clients?

At this point in the industry, if you are not referring out or helping your clients with nutrition, you’re ignoring the real reason they are not getting body transformation results and…

…at some point you’re clients are going to get frustrated with their lack of results and leave you.

So let’s work on this in your business for yours and your client’s sake.

The nutrition debate and what is within our scope is a major topic in the industry, so I decided to invite two of the leading minds in our industry to sit down with me for a conversation about nutrition, and in particular the not so new, but recently renewed diet – The Ketogenic Diet.

This diet has been around for years but it is gaining new popularity recently as TV, media and great marketing has helped launch it onto the scene in a bigger way.

It’s even spawned a new MLM, Pruvit and their Keto-OS product line that is preying on people’s desperation, using bad science, and using predatory practices to grow their network with the promises of quick cash, cars, and fame for being reps for their MLM.

It doesn’t help that they got some big marketers and big names behind them that know how to spin the promises of this product line to hit the pain points of your clients hard!

So you need to be aware of them, what they do, and how to educate your clients about this product line.

I don’t want to go to deep into Keto-OS, I don’t want to be one to judge, to each their own right?

I believe when the science and FTC catches up with them in a few years, we won’t have to do much about them, they will eliminate themselves.

The question is…would you want to teach your clients to drink a chemical solvent to help induce body fat loss? If so, have at it. Your integrity and principles will be as clear as day.

I’ve watched people who for years have preached the principles of fitness, nutrition and personal development as the pillars of what it takes to get lifelong healthy results; abandon that for the money and quick fix their clients get, and the promise of a shiny new opportunity because they gotta “take care of their family.”

If you feel good about telling your clients that you can apply a gel and drink some chemicals to artificially induce ketosis- you simply don’t know science and you’re a shyster.

Ooops, did I judge? Yes, I did. You don’t follow me or read my content to get the fluff.

My bad, let’s get off the product line and back to the legit conversation at hand- the Ketogenic diet and ketosis.

When I saw this ‘trend’ popping up, I knew it was time to start educating myself a bit more.

Have you heard of these two things, Ketogenic diet and ketosis? Maybe it’s gotten to your circle. Maybe it hasn’t. Either way, you should know about it.

Since it’s a hot debate in the industry, I brought in the doctor himself, Chris Mohr, a leading dietician in America and who recently wrote on article in Men’s Health about this whole keto diet and I also brought in Brett Klika, the 2013 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, IDEA presenter, and creator of SpiderFit Kids, to come chat with me on what exactly ketosis is and whether they believe it’s credible or beneficial.

You can view the show here, or listen to the podcast here.

Let’s start with the facts:

WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC DIET?

The keto diet is a super high fat diet, with a rough macro breakdown that looks like this:

Fat: 60 to 80 percent of calories come from fat.

Carbohydrates: less than 5-10 percent come from carbohydrates.

Usually on the lower, which in food equivalents is maybe a piece or two of fruit a day, or half a bagel, max, per day, of carbohydrates.
Protein: Ten to fifteen percent.

WHAT IS IT SUPPOSED TO DO FOR YOU?

A keto diet is well known for being a low carb diet, where the body produces ketones in the liver to be used as energy.

Glucose is the easiest molecule for your body to convert and use as energy so that it will be chosen over any other energy source.

Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream by taking it around the body.

Since the glucose is being used as a primary energy, your fats are not needed and are therefore stored. Typically on a normal, higher carbohydrate diet, the body will use glucose as the main form of energy. By lowering the intake of carbs, the body is induced into a state known as ketosis.

Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low. During this state, we produce ketones, which are produced from the breakdown of fats in the liver.

The end goal of a properly maintained keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state. The idea being that when you overload your body with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Since you’re burning more fat and ketones, it’s a longer-lasting energy supply.

Bottomline: It’s supposed to help burn body fat above and beyond a regular diet.Sounds appealing, right?  

Don’t stop here.  Read on.  Most clients would stop here.  Not you.  

You and your clients deserve to have a well-educated look at the facts, the benefits, the effects, and how to do it right.  


WHAT ARE KETONES?

Ketones, also known as “ketone bodies,” are byproducts of the body breaking down fat for energy that occurs when carbohydrate intake is low.

Here’s how it works:

  • When there isn’t a sufficient level of available glucose — which is what the body uses for its main source of fuel — and glycogen levels are depleted, blood sugar and insulin are lowered and the body looks for an alternative source of fuel: in this case, fat.
  • This process can happen when a person fasting, after prolonged exercise, during starvation, or when eating a low-carb, ketogenic diet.
  • And when the body begins breaking down fats for energy like this, a process known as beta-oxidation, ketones are formed for use as fuel for the body and brain. This is known as ketosis.

The important thing to remember here is that ketones are naturally produced by the body and the effects of ketosis can be induced through diet. There is no need to take in an external source, like Keto-OS products in order to put the body into ketosis.

This is where I would have you ponder for a moment, what it means to ingest chemical ketones in the body and what it says about this as a principle when we are trying everyday to fight to help people make healthy lasting changes versus looking for a way “to cheat” the process of our bodies.

Is it just to make money?

What I’ve found to be an interesting side note, is that in all this talk about the keto diet and ketones to induce greater fat loss, which let’s be honest is the primary reason people want to follow this diet, as there is very little talk about the brain and what it needs to function properly.

If you are eliminating carbohydrates, one of the best sources of brain producing glucose, your brain function will be affected.

Your brain needs glucose to function at it’s best, yet, in the hunt for faster better fat loss we are willing to coach people through a diet that starves their brain of the optimal macronutrient, carbohydrates.  Are we so desperate to give people any solution for fat loss that we are willing to compromise brain health?

Let’s keep exploring this process…

The initial shift in your body for ketosis usually takes five to seven days because your body doesn’t know exactly what’s going on, since it doesn’t have that fast-acting glucose available anymore, and it becomes a little bit harder for your body to convert energy sources.

Then what ends up happening is that for five to seven days you’re going to be a little fatigued. I’ve heard people say they feel like they have the flu, because they’re just run-down, exhausted, and mentally foggy. However, once you get into that shift, this will go away. Getting over that hump is a challenge.

According to Dr. Mohr, it’s a pretty fine line to go into ketosis or not, so if you have more carbohydrates, like people do when they drink, go away on holiday, cheat a little, they would fall out of ketosis and have to start all over again. This could literally be happening with every meal that your body is going in and out of ketosis. Is this practical as a regular nutritional practice? Is this maintainable are the first questions I asked myself? Then should it be something we recommend to our clients unless we are licensed dieticians and nutritionists?

EXTERNAL KETONES- IS THIS A PRACTICAL MESSAGE?

You may have seen some of these products on the market. These are actually what has been causing a huge debate. Some questions that I’ve been asked:

“Should we promote external ketones to our clients? If they are helping people lose drastic weight by eating lots of fat, is this practical? Healthy? Am I missing clients because I’m not promoting ketones and giving people quick solutions they are going to buy somewhere else? Am I losing money because I don’t sell external ketones? Are these even safe?”

The idea of these products is to accelerate the process of ketosis and flip that switch a lot more quickly.  It does do it acutely, and will increase your ketone production acutely, but if you’re not following an extremely low carbohydrate diet, these supplements aren’t going to do anything long-term. They will work in the short term, but then once you eat some carbohydrates, that goes away.

So basically- you take the product, go off, go on, go off.. the cycle is quite clever for continuously selling this product.

You need to have it continuously in order for it to be a ‘permanent change. But it’s not a true keto diet if you’re just taking a supplement.

Things that make you go hmmmm…. :thinking:

I believe it comes down to the principles you teach and are willing to stand by and be remembered for teaching to your clients as a health and fitness professional.

It also comes down to the long term viability of the process. Let’s go back to one KEY thing.  The data shows that the best diet for someone to be on is one that they can stick to for the long term.

If you’re clients can maintain this dietary practice long term, then maybe it’s right for them.

For me, it’s not a solution. I’m Italian- I need my carbs. Pasta is in my blood… and don’t even get me started on the wine. I NEED that too. I am about to freak out if I think about this any longer.  LOL.

It’s not a solution for me, and honestly, it’s not a solution I feel comfortable promoting to my clients, but let’s dig in a little more…

…I do know of some responsible people who are coaching the keto-diet in healthy ways, as a nutritional practice WITHOUT the use of external ketones.

Like my student, Paula Moyer, creator of HEROMom (HM) Fat Burn Formula and a certified High Performance Coach, she uses the HM Fat Burn Formula as a tool for optimal Health, where they believe in a Low Carbohydrate, Moderate Protein, Healthy Fats, Dense Nutritional Supplementation, Exercise, Intermittent Fasting and a Self Mastery lifestyle, as best practices for lifestyle change.

When you go the approach of sharing what has worked on a holistic and natural level that INCLUDES the mindset behind this form of eating, you have created a WIN/WIN for your clients and stand a better chance of setting them up for success versus promising quick fat loss without a change in lifestyle and mindset.

Giving them these tools and information with a responsible approach and will continue to give the keto-diet healthy approach a good name.  

My advice.  Do your research and make sure there are case studies of longevity to this, or you will see yourself swinging from side to side in your diet and mindset…

THE SWINGING PENDULUM

An interesting point of reference was brought up by Brett Klika on our podcast, that for years we are constantly on a swinging pendulum of nutritional advice.

QUALITY FOOD = QUALITY NUTRITION

Maybe some people said to have more protein or have more fat, but it wasn’t extreme.

… and then things changed.

Do you all remember the 90s and early 2000s? No, I’m not talking the South Park or Bubble Tape- I’m talking fat.

FAT was the devil in the 90s. You could eat carbs galore.

NO FAT = GOOD!

Non-FAT this. Low-FAT that. All in our refrigerators and cabinets.

Those were the times of olestra (yup- a chemical that gave you the shits) and fat free everything.

Well, apparently, we, as a society (and a profession have short term memory) didn’t learn from that extreme.

Now, we are going on this new crazy binge.

Fat is no longer bad. Eat as much fat as you want.

Then it was no carbs, and the Atkins way. Then science debunked that myth.

If you’re a fitness professional, people are gonna listen to you, and you’re telling people that they should completely eliminate a macronutrient and replace it with another. Not only that, you’re telling them to replace it with a macronutrient that they were told was basically equivalent to the devil.

We might as well put our clients on a pendulum and have them keep swinging back and forth. Not a solution. A recipe for disaster for our clients.  

Meanwhile, while we’re on this swing, we’re getting fatter and fatter and fatter and fatter, and aside from just getting fatter, things like diabetes and strokes and all these different diseases, like heart disease, are on the rise, and we’re scurrying around peddling anything that people will latch onto for some hope..

It’s irresponsible of us, and it’s leaving our clients lost and confused and desperate.

Who are we to tell them to flat out eliminate a macronutrient from their diet?

A MORE SOUND APPROACH

Educate them. Don’t sway them either way.

Stop swinging their pendulum.

Start educating.


There is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING that works for everyone. If it did, don’t you think we would have found it?

Not shockingly, when I asked Chris if this was a conversation in the dietician space, he said the following:

“I think it seems to be more in the fitness space, as in, accelerating fat loss and so on. I think, from what I’ve seen, at least certainly my colleagues in the nutrition world are just kinda shaking their heads waiting for this trend to pass, like Brett said, it’s a pendulum, we have no fat, and then whoa, wait a second, now it’s carbohydrates, now we’re on the carbohydrate pendulum, and then it goes back and forth all the time, and we’re just waiting for this trend, this pendulum to swing back and forth. Maybe it’ll stop in the middle, but it doesn’t seem to be that way.”

Again.. things that make you go hmm.

Here we are as fitness professionals fighting for years to get credibility, but now we are going to come out and teach people about yet another swing on the pendulum, another extreme, another quick fix.

That’s just playing with people’s emotions. People are desperate to fight obesity. They see someone promoting that their body can begin burning fat by eating bacon and cheese- who is going to turn that down?

That’s the infomercial, hype scam BS we’ve been fighting for years.

Remember, QUALITY FOOD = QUALITY NUTRITION

When we, as fitness professionals keep jumping trains, it takes away our credibility.

Klika reminds you, “People are willing to pay us money they don’t have, take time they don’t have, to do something they don’t like to do. I mean, thank God for that, that’s why we have jobs.”

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some proven reasons for the keto-diet, people suffering from epilepsy is an example. There are studies that show it can be beneficial with helping those with seizures.

But, that’s not your specialty. You have no business treating that person and their seizures if you aren’t certified to do so. Pay it forward and pass them onto someone who can best help them.

If we all opened up our eyes like that, we’d be respected so much more.

Chris gave an amazing litmus test for how we can all judge better if a diet is right for someone or not:

“If someone comes to me, and they have lost weight and kept it off with a dietary protocol for more than two years, I am all ears and I think that has more legitimacy than someone who says in six weeks they lost weight, because they used the grapefruit diet, or the cabbage diet, or the ice cream diet, or took some product.”

There’s the magic.. and it’s not a pill.

POSITIVE THINGS TO PUT INTO PRACTICE FROM THE KETO-DIET

  • You can eat vegetables. There’s not a single person in the world that wouldn’t benefit from more vegetables.
  • When people follow a diet, they actually think about what they put in their mouth more, so it raises conscious awareness. Mindful eating is a healthy habit.
  • There are certainly some carbs that we could do without. The cakes, the cookies, the pastries, the sweets, and soda- The Keto Diet eliminates that.

NEGATIVE THINGS TO THINK ABOUT FROM THE KETO-DIET AND KETONE PRODUCTS

  • Are we fostering more of the desperation our clients go through looking for a quick fix by teaching this?  Are we really thinking about the long haul and what is sustainable for them?
  • If a diet works for someone long-term and they can personally do it and stick with it, does it mean it should be a okay to give to others?
  • Trends and fads come and go. Be careful of who is promising what, where the research came from and things that sound to good to be true- probably are.
  • There hasn’t been studies on the keto- diet in terms of will it compare to other types of diets for fat loss. The closest diet study that’s come out is a low-carbohydrate, not extremely low, but low, at the end of the study, people were eating around 30% of their calories from carbs. You might still call that a low-carbohydrate but it’s significantly different than a true traditional ketogenic diet that has 5-10% of the macros coming from carbs. Remember- brain health not just fat loss.

WHAT WORKS FOR YOU?

We need to teach our clients to ask one question: What works for you?

Let’s not try to sell your clients on this diet or that diet. Everyone is unique. There are certainly some principles that we want to apply and recommend, but what is going to work long term?

ANSWER: The best diet that works is the one you stick with.

As far as what’s in the scope of our practice, let’s stick to recommending healthy habits, behavior change, and long term lifestyle change.

EDUCATE!!

What is fat? Why do we need fat? What does it do in the body? Why do we need carbohydrates? What do they do in the body? Protein- what does it do in the body? Fiber? You get it.

If you look and say, well, what do these different things do, then people are educated. We provide them this education based on raw science, not opinion.

With education we can go further, than with promises and quick fixes.

My personal opinion- steer people away from the extremes unless they have a reason they need the extreme.

Help provide simple, educated solutions without being like “I’m prescribing what you need to be doing.”

Please be talking about nutrition to your clients. If you’re not, you’re doing them a disservice.

People are already spending money they don’t have on at least one expert, so please be talking about nutrition.

Educate them with great content like: Ten Healthy Carbs That Don’t Blow Up Your Weight, Good Breakfast Ideas For Busy Parents, 3 Easy Things to Have as a Snack That Don’t Later Cause Regret…

Not too bad that those kinds of content pieces make for great blogs, videos, social media, and more that will help grow your business versus drink this pink shit, and it doesn’t matter what you eat, your body burns fat.

I understand why we’re under so much pressure, but don’t sacrifice your client’s health for a buck or because you read one thing that you heard was great. Do your due diligence, talk to smart people, and move with your client’s best interest at heart.

If you act like a professional, listen to your clients, and people trust you, you won’t have to worry about the next fad or the next swing on the pendulum. Your people will know that there are extreme measures, but what you help them do works without it.

Here are 5 quick takeaways from this article

  1. Become a trusted long-term solution person instead of a short-term fixer.
  2. Run a business that’s based upon trust and education.
  3. Educate yourself on nutrition so you can have intelligent, meaningful conversations with your clients.
  4. Establish a business and health practices based on good science.
  5. Stay within your scope and know how to refer out, and build everything on good habits and behaviors that we can teach society.

I hope this debate keeps on going.

Hopefully we can keep going out there and creating clarity for how we can be responsible, trustworthy professionals in our industry and out in society.

My thanks to Brett Klika and Chris Mohr for helping to contribute to this episode.

Let’s make sure this debate isn’t being swept under the rug, and that we’re doing the important things to keep teaching people the right things.

Peace!

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