Van Meter has been less strict with the diet in the past nine months, practicing what keto followers dub a “lazy” or “dirty” version of the diet that uses the basic concepts with some wiggle room.
“The biggest difference now is that I eat more processed, prepackaged low-carb foods out of convenience that I avoided when I first started the diet,” Van Meter said.
Megan Ware, a registered dietician who practices in Orlando, said she has had more clients asking about and wanting to try a ketogenic diet in the past three years.
“I was completely dismissive of the ketogenic diet at first. How is putting butter in coffee going to help my clients lose weight?” Ware said.
She did some more research and decided that it was a safe option, at least short-term, for clients who wanted to give it a shot. Ware even gave keto eating a try for seven days, on two separate occasions. The first time, she says she experienced the low-energy “keto-flu” by day four and was frustrated with the restrictions on a birthday date with her boyfriend.
Two months later she decided to try it again and had a better experience — but was still not sold on it as a long-term diet for her.
“The ketogenic diet is not something you can realistically stick with if you enjoy food. If you like traveling and trying new things, going to restaurants, celebrating a friend’s birthday with cake — those things go out the window,” Ware said. “If food isn’t a priority for you or you have a propensity towards higher fat foods, you could make the ketogenic diet work.”
With higher levels of fats and cholesterol than low-fat diets, the ketogenic one takes some heat from nutritionists and dietitians.
Tara Collingwood is a certified personal trainer and the team dietitian for the Orlando Magic. She warns clients against adopting a ketogenic lifestyle long-term.
“My main issue is that it eliminates all fruit and pretty much most vegetables because the carbohydrate allotment is so incredibly low,” Collingwood said. “Diets that include fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good for the heart and also helpful for cancer prevention. Diets high in animal protein and saturated fat can be dangerous for heart health and pose a cancer risk as well.”
Collingwood also cites micronutrient deficiencies in B vitamins, iron, magnesium, selenium and potassium as a potential pitfall of keto eating, along with a chance of ketoacidosis.