You can’t go far in the dietary world nowadays without hearing about the keto diet. For the purpose of clarification, let’s get it straight right from the start that there’s a difference between ketoacidosis (a dangerous condition that affects diabetics) and ketosis, a metabolic state. That said, it can be quite frustrating trying to determine which type of eating lifestyle, one that focuses on ketones or carbs, is best.
I don’t really think there’s a definitive answer to the question because dietary needs can fluctuate according to overall health condition, personal finances and other individually-based issues. I also think there are likely benefits and downsides to both diet lifestyles.
I was recently on the verge of converting my entire family over to a keto lifestyle but, for several reasons, ultimately chose against it, in favor of the healthy-for-the-most-part, whole foods style of eating we currently sustain in our household.
One of the most visible apparent benefits of a ketone lifestyle that I have noticed is that it seems to be a great weight-loss solution. I know many people currently eating a ketone diet and every single one of them have lost a lot of weight. In fact, that alone is what prompted me to research the lifestyle, because after having 10 children and entering my 50s, I have gained a handful of pounds that I am not only not comfortable with but am having an awful time trying to get rid of.
Some people claim that a ketone diet is conducive to enhanced memory and increased cognition as well. There is evidence that people who suffer from dementia enjoy improved mental health after converting to ketone-based diets.
What I don’t much care for is the way many ketone converts start to bash carbohydrates as though they are inherently bad for our health. Carbs are typically the human body’s main source of energy. Too many (and the wrong kinds) can cause elevated blood sugar and weight gain. However, carbs can also fuel your brain, heart, muscles, kidneys and central nervous system.
Whole grains are high in carbs and provide much-needed fiber in our diets. This was one of the determining factors for me in choosing to stay with a whole foods/carbs included diet plan for my family as opposed to switching to a keto diet. We enjoy foods, such as quinoa, barley and oatmeal, as well as melons, pears, kiwis and bananas, all of which are prohibited on a true, keto diet.
I also find that keto-friendly foods are typically a lot more expensive than carbs and whole food items. With six of my 10 kids still at home, I simply couldn’t find a way to fully convert to a keto lifestyle and stay within our food budget. Yes, I understand that overall health in the long-run is important; however, when it comes down to buying a $3.00 watermelon that provides ample servings for my whole family or $30 worth of berries that it would take to provide enough for each person in our household to have a single serving in a week, I’m going with the watermelon.
Those who say they eat melons and bananas and other carb foods but are living a keto diet are mistaken. They might be eating certain keto foods but if they are also eating these types of carbs, there is little to no chance that their bodies are maintaining a constant state of ketosis, which is the ultimate goal of a keto lifestyle; in fact, mixing the two styles of eating can actually have adverse effects.
I often learn from my children and it was my 16-year-old daughter who finally convinced me to stop trying to fix something that isn’t broken in our house. I realized that my desire to convert to a keto diet was mainly motivated by a personal desire to drop a few pounds. When I asked my daughter for her opinion, she answered rhetorically, asking me why I would want to change our family’s diet when we are all stronger and healthier than we’ve ever been because of the way we’ve been eating for the past five years.
The wisdom of her words hit me right between the eyes. She’s right. Why would I change what is obviously working so well for us? That’s not to say that others don’t have valid reasons for switching to and beneficial outcomes from keto diets, only that it’s not for everyone.
Thanks to my daughter, I finally realized that both neither dietary style is bad and every family has to determine what’s best for themselves according to their own immediate health, financial and lifestyle needs as well as their ultimate goals.
Writer Bio: Judy Dudich
Judy Dudich resides in the beautiful woods of Pennsylvania, where 24 acres of land and a home-office provide the perfect setting for her children’s home-education and her own homesteading and business ventures. Life is full of blessings (and challenges!) for Judy, as a wife, mother of 10 and Grammy to six. She is a published author, whose book, “I Surrender/A Study Guide for Women” continues to encourage and support others in Christian family lifestyles throughout the world. Judy has also previously worked in the online speaking circuit. Her passion for permaculture, re-purposing, foraging and organic gardening fills her days with learning and adventure that she loves to share.