Myths and misunderstandings about the ketogenic diet abound, leaving many people confused about how it actually works and whether or not it’s safe to follow. Here are some of the most common keto diet myths and why they’re just that — myths. Let’s debunk them one by one.
You cannot eat as much fat as you like
This is one of my favorite myths! In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions around eating fat on a low carb diet. Many people think that eating as much fat as they want is encouraged and in fact, it’s not even remotely close to true. Some believe that you can eat as much fat as you like on keto, and still lose weight. You need to carefully watch your intake of fat, as all fats are high in calories (1 gram of fat has 9 calories).
Fat should be kept to under 30% of your total daily calories but can range between 20-30%. For example, if you eat 1500 calories per day, 30% will be 450 calories (450 x .3 = 135). Just remember that a gram of fat has 9 calories so you would need to divide your total amount by 9. You can also just use our macro calculator which is much easier than doing the maths yourself.
Ketosis is not the same as Ketoacidosis
Ketosis is a normal metabolic process, something your body does to keep working. The buildup of ketones in your system can have benefits, especially if you’re trying to lose weight. One benefit to note is that when you’re in a state of ketosis, you tend to naturally eat less and be more satisfied with fewer calories.
However, Ketoacidosis is dangerous and should never be confused with normal ketosis. Ketoacidosis occurs when there are too many ketones in your bloodstream, usually due to uncontrolled diabetes or an untreated medical condition. Ketoacidosis requires immediate treatment because it can be fatal. If you have diabetes or another condition that makes managing your blood sugar levels problematic, you should confirm with a doctor that is keto-aware, whether the keto diet is safe for you.
You don’t have to fast on keto, or do OMAD
Some people believe that you have to fast on a keto diet, or do OMAD (one meal a day). But, neither is true. While there’s benefits to intermitten fasting such as autophagy, don’t feel you have to force yourself to fast. You can follow a keto or low carb diet, without fasting if you prefer. It’s better to ease yourself into the diet rather than trying to dive in at the deep end by fasting.
But even if you’ve been on keto long term, if you don’t like fasting then don’t force it. Sure, you’ll miss out on the extra benefits but fasting isn’t for everyone. If you have a history of eating disorders, or live/work with people who regularly eat then fasting will probably be hard. However, a lot of people on keto do naturally find that over time they slip into fasting – so don’t try to force it. Just follow the diet plan, and if it happens, it happens.
You don’t have to drink bulletproof coffee, or consume MCT
Keto is all about eating fat, not drinking it. Drinking bulletproof coffee means consuming 80–100g/day of medium chain triglycerides . That’s 5–7 times more than what is recommended for long term consumption on LCHF diets such as keto. In fact, overconsumption MCT could lead to fatty liver disease, so I recommend monitoring your MCT intake and staying within the recommended daily allowances.
We recommend focusing on eating natural foods that don’t rely heavily on processing or refining, like veggies, meat, fish, eggs and healthy fats such as grass fed butter or ghee instead! Plus, include some keto-friendly baked goodies to ensure you have some treats. There are no magic ingredients in keto – just real food that comes from nature.
But if you enjoy them, go ahead! Some people find them tasty alternatives to their usual beverage options. And remember, moderation is key – don’t overdo it. One cup of coffee with butter or coconut oil per day won’t do any harm – but try to stick with water as often as possible when following a low carb diet!
Keto is not a high protein diet
For most people, a low-carbohydrate diet isn’t about getting more protein than usual. In fact, most people eat just as much protein when they’re on a low-carbohydrate diet (if not more). However, if you have an interest in following a high-protein diet, it is possible to follow a high protein keto diet and high protein diets are normally recommended for those who are weight lifting.
Some studies show that eating an extremely high amount of protein can be dangerous for some—especially older adults or anyone with kidney disease—and that sticking to moderate amounts is safer. Even if you’re healthy, I recommend sticking to moderator amounts unless you’re weight lifting – and even then, consult a doctor first to ensure you don’t have any unknown medical issues.
Keto is not necessarily dangerous for type 2 diabetics
Unless you have type 1 diabetes, you probably don’t need to worry about keto and your blood sugar. This is because people with type 2 diabetes are able to produce insulin (at least in small amounts) despite having insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome. People with type 1 diabetes do not produce insulin at all, so they must carefully control their intake of carbs to prevent blood sugar spikes. If you have type 1 diabetes, you should only do the keto diet if told to do so by a doctor.
If you have type 2 diabetes, I still recommend speaking with your doctor or diabetic specialist. This will help ensure they’re aware of your situation and can give the proper advice, and confirm that it is safe for you to do keto. There are still some risks involved of going into DKA so please do speak to a doctor first.
I recommend reading Healthlines guide on how Keto helps type 2 diabetes for more information.
Calories do matter!
You might think that you can eat all you want on a low carb diet because your body isn’t able to store any carbs for later. This is incorrect.
There are two things that determine how many calories your body burns off each day – your basal metabolic rate and how much food you eat. Your basal metabolic rate is constant regardless of what you’re eating, but if you consume more calories than your body needs, it will store those extra calories as fat cells.
With keto, you should calculate your macros to ensure you are getting enough fats and protein without going over your carb allowance. You can use our macro calculator to confirm how much fat/protein and carbs you should be consuming. This will help ensure you don’t end up over eating and gaining weight, which is still possible on a keto diet.
Grab your keto shopping list
Learn more about what you can eat on a keto diet with our free, keto shopping list.