If you know anything about the keto diet, you understand that the eating style is preeettyyy restrictive, and not the easiest to stick with long-term. Still, fans of the high-fat, low-carb diet tout benefits like weight loss breakthroughs, more energy, clearer skin, and less cravings for sugar.
Sounds wonderful, right? Well, a new of keto aimed at upping all of these perks has keto fanatics buzzing, but some health and pros say it may be even more unsustainable than the keto diet you already know. The new is called Speed Keto, and dietitians aren’t exactly it if you’re looking to lose weight or start eating healthier.
Still, if you’re about the eating plan and its origin, here’s what you need to know.
What is the Speed Keto diet?
Basically, Speed Keto is a combination of the traditional keto diet (made up of 60 to 70 percent fat, 15 to 30 percent protein, and 5 to 10 percent carbs) and intermittent fasting (IF), which involves alternating between various periods of fasting and eating. One of the most common styles of IF is the 16:8 method, in which you fast for 16 hours and can eat during the 8-hour period that follows.
When it comes to Speed Keto, the goal is to get the dieter down to one meal per day, which also has to fit into the keto guidelines of being high-fat and low-carb. The goal of eating less carbs is to get the body into a state of ketosis, which is when your body burns fat, instead of carbohydrate stores, for fuel, which can lead to weight loss.
Speed Keto, which you can buy as a digital program, was created by Harlan Kilstein, an “expert coach and motivator” with a doctor of education degree, according to his website. Per the site, Speed Keto is meant to simplify the dieting process and help people get past weight-loss plateaus that might occur after eating a traditional keto diet for a few weeks.
Can Speed Keto help me lose weight?
“I think keto and ‘Speed Keto’ diets will result in weight loss,” says Hillary Cecere, registered dietitian at Eat Clean Bro. “Any time food is restricted and a calorie deficit occurs, so will weight loss, and when your eating window is smaller, you are more likely to consume less calories.”
That being said, Cecere doesn’t support the diet as a healthy way of eating. “This diet is unsustainable. Once it’s no longer being utilized, weight gain will happen,” Cecere says. “I also think it eliminates a lot of nutrient-dense foods. This diet is not for health or longevity–it’s only for quick weight loss.”
In order to maintain weight loss, it’s crucial that the diet you follow is something you can sustain long-term, notes Cecere. And if eating keto in general isn’t your cup of tea, that’s totally fine, too. “You don’t need to be in ketosis to lose weight,” she says. “Weight loss is determined by calorie deficit–there are plenty of other healthy, sustainable ways to lose weight if that’s something you’re interested in.”
It’s also worth noting keto and intermittent fasting isn’t exactly new. Many people have been following a diet the two because eating mostly fats and proteins does fill you up and make it easier to fast between meals. The difference here is that Speed Keto a specific IF schedule and one meal a day.
“Combining a super restrictive diet with long periods of non-eating is not good,” Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy, previously told WH. “The body will cannibalize its own muscle for energy if intake from food is too low but the body does not differentiate between something like a calf muscle or a heart muscle. Keatley added that all your important organs are made of smooth muscle, “and going on a diet like this may harm something like your bladder or lungs just as much as provide fat loss.”
It’s also worth noting that following a regular keto diet can already have some not-so-pleasant side effects. At the end of the day, whether you want to follow a keto eating plan is up to you, but experts generally warn against pairing keto with an extreme intermittent fasting schedule in the way that the Speed Keto diet does, experts caution. Whatever you choose diet-wise, it’s always wise to talk to a dietitian or trusted MD before you drastically overhaul your eating plan.
The bottom line: Speed Keto may not be a sustainable option when it comes to weight loss.