Myth #1. Carbs Are An Essential Nutrient
The idea that everyone needs to eat carbs to be healthy is simply not true.
The common idea is that carbs are essential to provide your body with glucose, which fuels your brain and keeps your blood sugar stable.
Not only is there no evidence to suggest this, current studies on low carb ketogenic diets prove this theory to be untrue.
When you eat a low carb diet, your body tends to spare glucose because you are sending it the signal that there is little of it in the environment.
As a result, you start burning fat in the form of ketones for fuel along with minor amounts of glucose.
When you need glucose your liver can convert protein into it through a process called gluconeogenesis.
Unlike carbs, your body cannot create protein or fat out of thin air.
These nutrients are essential. Without them your body wouldn’t have the resources it needs to maintain itself.
Check this out…
Your brain and central nervous system alone contain roughly 3 pounds of the omega-3 fatty acid, DHA.
If you are not supplying your body with a constant source of DHA, how do you think your brain and nervous system are doing? Not well…
You see, carbs themselves are not inherently bad. People with healthy bodies can tolerate carbohydrates fine.
The real problem is, most people are metabolically broken from a lifetime of eating way too many carbs in the form of processed sugar and flour.
Their bodies become insulin resistant, meaning that their ability to transport glucose to their cells via insulin is diminished so they need even more insulin to get glucose to their cells.
When this problem gets bad enough, the pancreas functions poorly or even shuts down. It just can’t pump out that much insulin to keep up. This is how someone becomes a type 2 diabetic.
If you are someone who can eat large amounts of carbohydrates without huge fluctuations in your blood sugar, then congratulations! You are a part of a smaller portion of the population that can efficiently burn carbs!
If this is you, feel free to eat carbs on the regular. Just be sure to monitor your blood sugar and hormones on a frequent basis so you know that this way of eating is still healthy for you.
Myth #2. A High Fat Diet Will Give You Heart Disease
This myth dates all the way back to the 1940s. During this time, a man named Ancel Keys did some really poor research and came up with a theory that he called the Lipid Hypothesis.
His theory said that eating saturated fats and dietary cholesterol would put people at risk for heart attacks and other cardiovascular diseases.
As a result, lots of propaganda was created about saturated fat.
A low fat diet was proposed as a healthy diet.
Products like butter, tallow, lard, and coconut oil we’re no longer eaten in the liberal quantities they had been.
People became scared of eating fat!
Hydrogenated fats like canola oil, safflower oil, and sunflower oil were introduced as the new “healthy fats” instead of the “horrible” saturated fats.
People also started consuming a large amount of grain, corn and soy to replace the more wholesome animal foods like meat, eggs, fish, and chicken.
And, pharmaceutical companies developed statins, which were said to lower cholesterol and prevent heart disease.
Now almost 70 years later, we’ve got some data to look back on…
Turns out that many of the diseases which plague mankind today, like heart disease and cancer, actually became more prominent when healthy saturated fats and cholesterol were taken out of the diet and replaced with hydrogenated fats and grains.
A low fat diet that focuses mainly on grains and hydrogenated oils like canola oil and sunflower oil contains a large amount of omega-6 fatty acids.
When these fats are in excess in the body, they cause:
- heart disease
- hormonal disruption
- and other health problems
And, when you eat large amounts of carbs, your body converts the excess glucose into triglycerides.
Triglycerides are the unhealthy cholesterol particles that your doctor constantly warns you about.
Stop and reflect on that for a second…
The diet that doctors have been telling us to eat for 70+ years is causing the diseases it was created to prevent!
This should be a wake up call to those of you who blindly trust your doctors.
If you really want to be healthy, you need to take the time to understand the basics of the human body and how to keep it healthy.
Modern research also shows fats like coconut oil, butter, lard, & tallow are actually healthy for you!
In fact, you need saturated fats for:
- Brain Health: A significant portion of your brain is made up of saturated fat. Do you want to go light on the materials that make up your brain? I think not…
- Hormonal Health: Your hormones are created from cholesterol. Without an adequate amount of cholesterol, you lack the necessary building blocks to create your hormones. Since hormones influence all the organs in your body, skimping on cholesterol is a big no-no.
- Strong Bones: You need saturated fat to incorporate calcium into bone. Enough said.
- Lung Health: Your lungs are coated with a thin layer of lung surfactant. It is made of 100% saturated fatty acids. If you’re not eating enough saturated fat, you’re body will replace these with other types of fats, which are not optimal, and, as a result, cause breathing difficulties.
There are many other reasons that you need saturated fats and other healthy fats, but I’ll leave it at this for now.
If you want to learn more about the different types of fats, both good and bad, I highly recommend a post by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, PhD of the Weston A. Price Foundation, called the Skinny on Fats.
Myth #3. Ketosis Is Dangerous
For whatever reason, people can’t stop confusing the word ketoacidosis with ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns ketones instead of glucose for fuel.
Ketoacidosis is a state where the body is producing an excessively high amount of ketone bodies.
It’s mostly commonly found among untreated type 1 diabetes mellitus patients and alcoholics.
Since the body is no longer able to regulate ketone production, the pH of the blood changes drastically, which begins to cause all sorts of dysfunction in the body.
Eating a ketogenic diet is highly unlikely to cause ketoacidosis unless you already have an existing health problem.
Myth #4. A Low Carb Diet Is A Nutrient Deficient Diet
A well-formulated ketogenic diet, contains all the nutrients your body needs to function optimally.
Let’s take a look at some of the nutrient rich foods allowed on a ketogenic diet:
All of these foods contain very high amounts of vitamins & minerals.
Take beef for example…
Beef is rich in the minerals zinc, iron, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium potassium and copper.
It also contains high amounts of the vitamins B12, B6, riboflavin, thiamin and pantothenic acid.
And it’s a complete source of essential proteins and essential fatty acids.
Now consider that a low carb diet also consists of:
- nuts & seeds
- oils like butter, lard, & coconut oil
If you eat these along with the animal products mentioned above, you’ll be getting a wide variety of vitamins & minerals.
Myth #5. Your Kidneys Will Be Damaged From High Protein Consumption
The ketogenic diet is a high FAT diet not a high protein diet. In fact, high protein levels actually prevent you from being in ketosis.
If you want to remain in ketosis, I recommend you consume moderate amounts of protein.
I go into detail about this on my FAQ page.
There are also a few studies that show there is no evidence that eating excessive amounts of protein has a harmful effect on kidney function.
- Comparative effects of low-carbohydrate high-protein versus low-fat diets on the kidney
- Dietary protein intake and renal function
Myth #6. The Weight Loss From Low Carb Diets Is Only Water Loss, Not Fat Loss
There’s no doubt that you’ll lose some weight as a result of water loss when you switch to a low carb diet, but that doesn’t mean that’s it’s the only kind of weight loss you’ll experience.
Cutting back on carbs causes your body to lose water because your blood sugar, insulin, and glycogen stores get used.
Glycogen is excess sugar that’s stored in your muscles and liver.
When your blood sugar and insulin lower, your kidneys excrete extra water and sodium. For this reason, eating a low carb diet is effective for people that need to reduce water retention and blood pressure.
Once your body becomes adapted to burning fat, water loss stabilizes. When you’ve reached this mark your body is burning fat as the primary source of fuel so you’ll also start losing fat faster.
Myth #7. Complex Carbohydrates Are Healthy To Include In Your Diet
Carbohydrates break down into glucose in the bloodstream regardless of what form they come in.
Sure, complex carbs like oats and rice are better than eating processed sugar, but either way, they raise your blood glucose, and call on the need for insulin.
And if your body is metabolically broke like we discussed in point #1, the effects sugar is having on your organs are too detrimental to continue eating it.
Check this out…
If you are healthy enough to process carbs, you should be able to eat them without spiking your blood sugar beyond 110-120 mg/dL. After an hour or two, it should go back down to around 70-85 mg/dL.
If you can’t process carbs, an hour after eating, you’ll have a blood sugar of higher than 120 mg/dL, then another hour later you might dip down to 60 mg/dL.
Eating a low carb ketogenic diet could help fix your metabolism if you haven’t gone too far.
Myth #8. A Low Carb Diet Is Low In Fiber
Here’s the list of vegetables from my food list. These are just some of the foods you can eat on a low carb diet that have fiber.
If you include fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables, you’re getting even more fiber.
- Alfalfa Sprouts
- Bamboo shoots
- Bean sprouts
- Beet greens
- Bok Choy
- Brussels sprouts
- Collard greens
- Green bean
- Mustard greens
- Spring onion / scallion
- Sugar pea
- Sweet pea
- Sweet Peppers
Myth #9. Low Carb Is The Best For Everyone
This type of belief is pretty common across many types of diets…
- raw vegan
- low carb
Everybody thinks their diet is the best.
Many doctors explicitly state that the ketogenic diet is not for everyone.
The common theory is that growing children, young adults, and athletes could continue to eat carbs if they tolerate them well.
A few reasons for this are…
- Growing children do better with more protein intake.
- Athletes use up glucose and glycogen a lot faster than those who don’t exercise as often.
That being said, there is some research that shows that children who grow up on a ketogenic diet with epilepsy develop normally. Check out the Charlie Foundation to learn more.
And then there are some people, that for whatever reason, just don’t get good results or feel better on a low carb or ketogenic diet.
To determine if this is you, it’s important to work with a doctor who is familiar with low carb or ketogenic diets. He or she will be able to look at your blood work to tell you if the diet is benefiting you.
Myth #10. A Low Carb Diet Should Always Be Ketogenic
A ketogenic diet is a diet where carbs are restricted to 50g or less in order to maintain a state of prolonged ketosis.
This method is used for people who are suffering from:
- Metabolic disorders
- Other diseases
And some people who eat a ketogenic diet because that’s when they feel, look, and perform their best. Including improvement of cholesterol lipid profile and hypertension.
A low carb diet is a diet where carbs are restricted to 175g or less.
It turns out some people are better off with a little more carbs in their diet. Comparing to a high carb diet, there are many great health benefits to eating this way.
To figure out what’s best for you, experiment.
- Which diet makes you feel better?
- Which diet do you sleep best with?
- Does one diet make you feel happier than another?
- Do you recover faster from workouts on one diet over the other?
- Get your blood work done. Which diet improves your biomarkers the most?
If you need more help with the ketogenic diet, subscribe to my facebook group Love Low Carb High Fat Ketogenic.
We’ll answer your questions, give you free recipes, and help hold you accountable for the new changes you’ve decided to make.