Positive changes should be for a lifetime—and that is why so many diets fail.
People usually cannot maintain them, says Munson Medical Center’s Dr. Patrick Friedli.
But there is one option that’s gaining popularity: the keto diet.
Some, like Cadillac resident Melissa Kendall, say they can stick with it.
“I was looking for something that would help me control or help me with how I thought about food,” she says. “Instead of being controlled by food, I wanted to be in control.”
Kendall is like so many of us, hoping to find what works for her when it comes to health, wellness and weight control.
She says her answer came in the ketogenic diet.
“I always knew that when I ate a bunch of sugar or carbs I felt terrible,” she says. “I’d feel bad, gain weight like so many other people. I started researching it and found keto and started doing it about a year and a half ago and went from there and it evolved. I made it my own, what I was most comfortable with, and it’s been great.”
Friedli is the head of Munson Medical Center’s Healthy Weight Center. He says the problem with most diets are the commitment.
But the ketogenic diet can certainly work for some people.
“A ketogenic diet is actually higher in protein and healthy fats and people who do that we find they burn more fuel that’s fat fuel rather than a diet that’s higher in carbohydrates,” Friedli says. “To really be effective long-term, you need to maintain total carbs at 50 grams or less. Ideally between 20 and 50, but to be clear, we do need carbs. Our brain needs carbs for thinking and we need carbs for our muscle, so it’s not realistic to be under 20. We definitely need carbs. But from the right sources: vegetables and fruits.”
Kendall says being able to eat delicious food is one reason this diet is not so hard for her to maintain.
“Keto is really high-fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate,” she says. “You can even do it as a vegan or vegetarian. They use plant protein and watch their carbs. It’s just making sure that you get fat from good healthy sources.”
This diet is effective because if you don’t give your body any extra sugar or carbs, it starts to naturally burn your fat stores for energy.
While Kendall says she lost some weight going “keto,” the pounds fell away when she incorporated intermittent fasting.
She lost about 20 pounds in less than two months.
“So now I don’t feel like I have to eat all the time,” she says. “I kind of bought into the myth that you have to eat all the time. You have to eat breakfast, you have to eat three meals a day plus snacks, but look where that has gotten us. So now I eat once or twice a day and sometimes will skip a day. I wait until I’ve used up my fuel and listen to my body. It’s a much more intuitive way of eating, it’s great.”
Friedli says in his research, intermittent fasting doesn’t prove to be effective.
“They studied these people over a two year period of time and the end result is that intermittent fasting didn’t make a difference in their weight long-term,” he says. “It’s probably not a realistic pattern for people long-term. They also looked at people that ate five days a week regularly, but fasted two days a week. Same outcome. It really didn’t ultimately change their weight in the long-run.”
But for Kendall, the combination of the ketogenic diet and intermittent fasting works, and she feels better than ever.
“I feel really amazing,” she says. “I used to have to take a nap or I would try to take a nap. I have 3 kids. I would get exhausted at 3 p.m., they call it the 3 – 4 slump…Now I sleep very well, much better. I am never tired. It’s completely different, I feel totally energized.”