I remember, as recently as 10 years ago, most “experts” were still warning about the dangers and health consequences of ketogenic and low-carb diets. Some said they had too much protein, or too much fat, or they restricted fruits and vegetables excessively. Some confused ketosis with a dangerous condition that can happen in diabetics called “ketoacidosis”. Either way, most informed nutritionists these days know that both low-carb diets and keto diets can be used effectively and safely, depending on the person and their circumstances. Also, like many diets, it can work well for some people and not for others.
The truth about low-carb and keto diets
We’ve talked before about what ketosis is. You may have heard that it is all about restricting the carbs, and most articles on ketosis will confidently tell you that you need to reduce your carb intake drastically (usually to less than 50 or even less than 30 grams per day – that’s about 1 ½ to 3 medium slices of bread).
This isn’t quite true.
Research shows that, if calories are taken down to 1,000 or lower, most people can eat at least 150 grams of carbs per day (think six typical baking potatoes or nine pieces of bread) and will still go into ketosis. This is important, because for a significant number of people, if they take their carbs down to 50 grams or lower, they feel awful and have no energy. This is sometimes referred to as “keto flu” and, not surprisingly, people who experience it usually have the least success with this kind of diet.
This ability to eat more carbs is also important because it allows you to be in mild ketosis, so you make enough ketones to reduce appetite but you don’t make so many that you get keto flu.
The 1:1 Diet is different
Way back in 1981 our founder, Dr Alan Howard, wrote about the importance of eating carbs in the International Journal of Obesity. He stated that low-calorie products should contain carbohydrate because this prevents excessive ketosis, dehydration, loss of essential minerals, loss of energy and more. This is why he evolved the formulation of the various meal replacement shakes and weight-loss products the way he did – so dieters would get the benefits of ketones but without the downsides.
So, in one respect, The 1:1 Diet is a low-carb diet because it contains fewer than half the carbs typically recommended to people trying to maintain their weight, but we don’t excessively restrict the “proportion” of carbs because this doesn’t improve outcomes.
Our diet also shares similarities to a ketogenic diet because it causes most dieters to produce an amount of ketones in their body that can lead to ketosis. However, we rarely mention the “k” word and that’s because ketosis is just one of the many benefits of our diet.
What’s not to love?