Three Thoughts on the Keto Diet

First, a big picture meta thought about diets in general. Try to step back and make sure that whatever eating plan you are embarking on doesn't feel overly restrictive and like a temporary fix. If any way of eating requires white knuckle willpower and you can't see yourself doing it long-term, consider if there's any way to adjust it so that it feels more sustainable for you. This suggestion probably seems stale and boring, but I can't tell you how many times I've seen short-term restrictive diets lead to all sorts of long-term eating and health problems for people.  

Second, there are aspects of keto eating that are definitely an improvement over the 'standard American diet'. Most notably, keto diets usually contain less highly processed food (e.g., pop tarts, donuts, etc) and more nutrient dense 'real' foods (e.g., nuts, seeds, eggs, certain veggies, avocado, etc). With that said, there are also aspects of keto eating that I'm not too excited about. Most notably, really high amounts of fat, a lot of animal products, no beans, no whole grains, limited vegetable/fruit variety, and sometimes low amounts of fiber (depending on what the person is eating). 

Third, while humans can survive and thrive on a wide variety of diets, when I try to imagine an optimal way of eating for humans in 2019, a strict keto diet doesn't fit the criteria.*

*I don’t discount the idea that in rare circumstances a ketogenic diet might offer benefits to someone (or for a specific medical condition). But from a public health perspective, it doesn’t check enough boxes.