Published on November 2, 2023, 11:14 am
The high-fat, low-carb keto diet has gained popularity in recent years, but nutritionists are warning that it is often misunderstood and can lead to long-term health issues. It is important to understand the potential risks associated with this diet before considering it as a weight loss option.
According to a report published in BMC Public Health, more than 60 percent of Instagram’s top “fitfluencers” have shared content that is scientifically unhealthy. These influencers promote unrealistic and potentially dangerous ways of achieving a “healthy” body, which can mislead their followers.
Social media has greatly influenced the way people approach fitness and exercise. With over 100 million posts on Instagram using the hashtag #Fitspiration, content creators use sensationalism to attract followers and motivate them to exercise. While some influencers provide science-backed information, many rely on sensationalized claims for popularity.
To debunk common myths surrounding diet, exercise, and recovery, The National spoke with experts including nutritionists, fitness instructors, and physiotherapists. Here are some facts they uncovered:
1. Carbohydrates are essential for energy and recovery. Contrary to what some diet content creators claim, carbohydrates are not inherently fattening. They provide crucial energy for the body, especially for the brain and muscles. Carbohydrates also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for overall health. Avoiding carbs entirely can lead to nutrient deficiencies and energy fluctuations.
2. The ketogenic diet’s true health impact is still uncertain. Although it is one of the most popular diets on social media, its effectiveness for weight loss may be overstated and misunderstood. The low-carb, high-fat nature of the diet aims to induce ketosis in the body, which promotes fat burning and rapid weight loss. However, sustainability becomes an issue over time, potentially leading to nutrient deficiencies, gastrointestinal discomfort, increased cholesterol levels, and other negative health consequences.
3. Light activities promote recovery. While rest is important for recovery, engaging in light activities such as walking and gentle stretching can aid in promoting blood circulation and relieving muscle fatigue. Active recovery, where individuals continue to work their muscles even after intense workouts, has shown benefits. Consider incorporating light swimming, yoga, or cycling into your recovery days.
4. Nutrition is crucial for overall well-being. Physical activities like cardio and strength training should go hand in hand with proper nutrition. Diet plays a vital role in weight management and preventing other health issues. Some nutrients derived from certain foods cannot be replaced by physical activity alone.
5. Spot targeting fat loss is not possible. Many people believe that focusing on specific parts of the body during exercise will lead to targeted fat loss in those areas. However, this is a myth. Fat loss occurs throughout the body as it starts to use stored fat as fuel during exercise. Overall diet and exercise have a more significant impact on fat loss than spot targeting.
It is essential to critically evaluate information and advice found on social media platforms like Instagram before adopting any new diet or exercise regimen. Consulting with professionals such as nutritionists, fitness instructors, or physiotherapists can provide personalized guidance and ensure your health remains the top priority in your wellness journey.
Remember that sustainable weight loss and healthy habits require a balanced approach that includes nutritious food choices, regular physical activity tailored to your needs, and a mindset focused on overall well-being rather than quick fixes promoted by influencers on social media.
Stay informed about the latest research and seek expert advice when making decisions about your health and fitness goals.