The keto diet is getting more and more popular nowadays. And there’s no wonder about that – it’s one of the best diets out there, both for weight loss and general health.
With keto, you can manage a number of health issues successfully, and it can help you regain control of your health and weight.
Because of its growing popularity, however, there are many critics and haters who dislike keto – which is only natural, due to its success. They say it’s a fad diet, bound to lose its popularity in a couple of years for now, and which makes promises that cannot be backed up by science.
Truth is, the keto diet has been extensively studied in the past few years, and the results are extremely promising.
Nevertheless, let’s see what the keto haters say and what their main concerns and criticisms are.
#1. They Think Keto is a Fad Diet
In the past years, it has been growing in popularity as a weight-loss and health-promoting type of diet, so the focus has certainly shifted, however, it is largely studied and researched.
Moreover, the keto diet has you eat whole, nutritious food, such as meat, eggs, vegetables, fats, dairy, nuts, and some fruits, which were the staples of our ancestors before the agricultural revolution. Our bodies are well-equipped to digest and process these foods, and there is nothing unnatural about eating them.
Speaking of which, high-carb processed food, made in a factory, is much more unnatural for your body, and has been around only for the past century or so.
The presumption of the low-fat diet, which is, unfortunately, still recommended by physicians around the world, is that limiting fat, the most calorie-dense macro, will help you limit your calories. The problem with that is that low-fat diets leave you feeling hungry, do not really help you lose weight, and the more extreme forms can actually be damaging to your health – your body actually needs a certain amount of fats to function.
#2. They Think Keto Is Just a Quick Fix for Short Term Weight Loss
Keto is very far from being a quick fix diet – in fact, in order to get good results for it, one of the most important conditions is to give your body enough time to adapt to the diet and to be consistent.
Sure, in the first week you’ll lose a lot of weight at once, however, this is, for the most part, water weight, and every reputable keto website will clearly point that out.
The real benefits from keto, and the actual fat loss, come with long-term adherence – your body needs at least 2-4 weeks to adapt to burning fat for fuel, and to be efficient in doing so.
Keto is very far from being a quick fix type of diet – in fact, in order to be successful with it, you need to be strict for a good while – sustainable weight loss is not a quick process, and keto doesn’t promise any miracle solutions either.
#3. They Think Keto and Atkins Are The Same
The Atkins diet, first developed in the 60s by Robert Atkins, is a weight-loss diet that is divided into four phases:
- induction phase: a very low-carb phase where you limit net carbs to 20-25 g carbs daily, for about 2 weeks
- balancing phase: upping your net carbs to 25-50 g daily
- reintroduction phase: you gradually increase your carbs and observe how your body reacts; if you start gaining weight, you lower carbs again
- maintenance phase: maintaining your goal weight by sticking to the amount of carbs on which you feel best and are able to keep the weight off.
The Atkins diet is a commercial type of diet and includes plenty of related Atkins products, such as bars, drinks, and meals, which are less than optimal. It doesn’t restrict calories, which makes it attractive for many people, but since you’ll be limiting carbs, you’re still tracking everything.
The ketogenic diet, on the other hand, is much simpler in its premise: it limits net carbs to 20-25 g daily, whereas protein is kept adequate and fat is used to complete your caloric needs.
Although there are different types of keto supplements available to help you achieve optimal results, in general, they are not compulsory at all, except for electrolytes (which you should take regardless of which diet you follow).
You can live a ketogenic lifestyle just by eating low carb whole foods.
There aren’t phases with keto, which might make it less attractive to some people (since you won’t be reintroducing carbs while eating keto; you might decide to do so once you reach your goal weight), but you’re able to get all the health benefits from restricting carbs and enjoy the long-term effects of the diet on your health.
The duration of the induction phase of the Atkins diet, 2 weeks, is insufficient for most people to allow them to reap all the advantages of fat adaptation, and is reversed afterward by reintroducing carbs.
#4. They Think Ketosis and Ketoacidosis Are the Same Thing
Ketosis is a completely normal metabolic state, which your body is fully equipped to handle. It just means that the primary fuel that you’re using is fat, and not glucose, and that, as a result, you are producing ketones. That’s the state you get into when you follow a ketogenic diet.
Ketoacidosis, on the other hand, is a complication of type 1 diabetes, and is a dangerous state, in which your ketone levels are extremely high, while your blood sugar also remains high. This usually occurs if your body does not produce any insulin, and is not a state you risk getting into while following the keto diet.
The two are very distinct and shouldn’t be confused. Following a ketogenic diet does not lead to ketoacidosis.
Related: Ketosis vs Ketoacidosis
#5. They Think All Fats Are Bad For You
The ketogenic diet is somewhat higher in fats than other diets out there, which is part of the reason why some people believe it’s bad for you.
Outdated dietary guidelines have vilified fats and told us that we should stay away from them, however, studies have shown that the truth is far more complex and nuanced, and that fat plays a very important role in human health.
Not all fats are created equal, and there are some types of fats that you’d better keep off your plate, such as:
- processed trans fats
- highly processed vegetable fats such as soybean oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and the like.
For optimal health, choose fats that are as unprocessed as possible. Some excellent types of fat for keto are:
- butter and ghee
- animal fat – lard, the fat found in meat (especially in fish), tallow, etc.
- extra virgin olive oil
- coconut oil
- MCT oil
- avocado oil.
Saturated fats, which have gotten a bad reputation in the past decades, actually play an important role in general health by raising the level of HDL (the “good”) cholesterol, making LDL cholesterol particles bigger and less dense, and therefore much less likely to clog your arteries, and actually reducing the risk of stroke.
Refined carbs, on the other hand, (and sugar in particular) can and do cause a great deal of damage to your health – they spike your insulin, increase your risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease, and give you lots of empty calories with very little nutrition.
#6. They Say Keto Doesn’t Work
… And this is simply not true. The ketogenic diet has been found to be effective both for weight loss and for improving many different health conditions and diseases.
Don’t believe us? You don’t have to. Check the studies for yourself:
The ketogenic diet can help obese patients lose weight and improve their cholesterol profile.
- Study: “Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients”, Dashti et al., 2004 (link)
The ketogenic diet is more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. Studies:
- “Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials”, Bueno et al., 2013 – (link)
- “Comparison of energy-restricted very low-carbohydrate and low-fat diets on weight loss and body composition in overweight men and women”, Volek et al., 2004 – (link)
The ketogenic diet is beneficial for people suffering from obesity and diabetes.
- Study: “Beneficial effects of ketogenic diet in obese diabetic subjects”, Dashti et al., 2007 – (link)
The ketogenic diet can be an effective tool in the management of type 2 diabetes.
- Study: “The effect of a low-carbohydrate, ketogenic diet versus a low-glycemic index diet on glycemic control in type 2 diabetes mellitus”, Westman et al., 2008 – (link)
And there are many more. You can find an extensive list of studies on the low carb and keto diet here.
Additionally, check out the many success stories of our readers and followers here. We’re proud of them!
#7. They Have Never Tried Keto Before
Most people who hate on the keto diet share one thing in common: they have never tried it.
For whatever reason, they’re convinced that keto is a bad idea, so they never take the time to check out the numerous studies on it, and to actually give keto an honest try.
Many of them are hesitant to do it because they don’t want to let go of their comfort foods such as pizza, pasta, potatoes, and so on. They do not realize, however, that this is the right solution for a great number of people out there, who simply feel better when they stay away from processed carbs.
#8. They Haven’t Really Tried Keto Properly
The keto diet is a very specific way of eating, characterized by severely limiting carbs to 20-25 g per day, while eating adequate protein and sufficient fat.
If you don’t track your macros, or if you don’t inform yourself well enough, it’s easy to get your macros all wrong.
The purpose of the keto diet is to get into the nutritional state of ketosis and become fat-adapted, and if you aren’t, you aren’t doing it right.
Moreover, it’s essential to give your body enough time to adapt – many people try keto for a few days, get a bad case of keto flu, and conclude that the diet is bad for them.
If you do keto, you need to give your body at least 4 weeks to become fat-adapted and to be able to start reaping all the benefits of it.
It’s also extremely important to not cheat, so if you’re not 100% committed to changing your way of eating, this will be detrimental to your success.
For example, if you cheat on keto by eating cheat meals once or twice a week, chances are you will be out of ketosis most of the time, which also means that you are not doing keto at all.
Also, they might be just doing low carb, but call it keto, and conclude that keto doesn’t work. Keep in mind that keto and low carb are not the same thing.
There are plenty of ways you can do keto wrong, however if you’re not making an honest effort for at least a couple of weeks, you shouldn’t be surprised if you’re not getting good results.
#9. They Say Keto Is Not Sustainable
The keto diet is, actually, perfectly sustainable in the long run, as its staples are natural, whole foods that are readily available all over the world, and which are very healthful and provide you with all the nutrients that your body needs.
Nevertheless, if you reach your goals with keto, you’re not by any means bound to follow keto for the rest of your life.
For example, if you’d like to include some more variety to your diet in the form of complex carbs from veggies and fruits, that’s perfectly okay – as long as you’re mindful about it and continue to avoid processed junk.
And if you decide to stay keto in the long run, you’ll see for yourself how easy it is to stick to it – choose a protein source, add some veggies as a side or as a salad, add fat in cooking as needed, and repeat.
Throw in a keto dessert from time to time, if you feel the need for it, or some dark chocolate, and voilà! You have a perfectly sustainable, nutritious, simple and healthy diet.
At the end, it all depends on your own preferences, choices and circumstances – it’s up to you to decide for how long you want to do keto, and if and when to mix things up a little.
#10. They’re Afraid of Change
Humans are creatures of habit. We like predictability, and we like being right. Being proven wrong, and accepting it, comes with a certain level of psychological discomfort, and that’s only natural.
So if someone is convinced that keto is a horrible idea, they’d probably not enjoy being in the position of discovering that they’ve been wrong all along, for example by giving keto an honest try and observing how their body responds to it.
It’s easier to nourish and support a fixed mindset (“keto is bad for you”) instead of spending more time studying something, or actually trying it out for yourself – i.e. adapting a growth mindset.
However, people who don’t like change and who are suspicious to trying new approaches shouldn’t stop you from taking control of your diet. Ignore the naysayers and keto on.
As with any diet that is getting more and more popular, keto has its fair share of critics and haters, and that’s completely normal.
Some of them don’t understand the diet, some of them believe it’s not sustainable, some refuse to get informed and keep an open mind, and some are still convinced the dietary guidelines from the past 40-50 years are the best choice when it comes to optimal health, regardless of the many studies that say otherwise, and of the many success stories that you can find all over the internet.
Is Keto Diet for Everyone, though?
No. We don’t believe there’s a “one size fits all” diet. The keto diet definitely works well for many people, and has helped them take control of their health and well-being.
Of course, there are people who have given it an honest try, and who have figured out they feel better on a different diet. There are also people have used keto to achieve their weight loss goals, and have decided to use a different diet to maintain their weight. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
But there are thousands and thousands of people who feel great on keto, and who aren’t looking back.
There are those who use it to manage different health conditions, such as PCOS, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and more. There are those who feel best when restricting carbs, both in terms of general health and weight management. There are those who enjoy the energy and improved endurance keto gives them.
Everyone has their reasons, and this leads to this question…
Should you try it?
At the end, that’s entirely up to you. The keto diet has plenty of health benefits, and is great for weight loss, so if you’re struggling with that, it might be a great idea to try it out.
Our advice is to keep an open mind, and to educate yourself as much as possible – there are plenty of great resources on the internet, and you can find a ton of useful articles on this website. If you decide to try keto, remember to give yourself enough time to adapt (2-4 weeks), and check out our guide to keto for the best advice on how to get started. The results will follow.