Disclaimer: This article is not intended for diagnosis or treatment. Please consult your doctor, inform your medical history and current medication before making any drastic changes to your diet.
It is generally accepted that our bodies are carbohydrate power plants, with glycogen stored in the liver and muscles to fuel our lives – and we are very efficient in that! But what happens when carbohydrate intake is so low that our bodies burn fat instead to get fuel? Well, our brain, which is selfish when it comes to energy consumption, goes into starvation mode in the absence of sugar and relies on the liver to derive the energy it needs to function directly on fat. This is the basis of the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet is more of, say, a lifestyle choice rather than the next big fashion diet. Advocates of the ketogenic nature of food will show increased performance, improving various health metrics such as blood sugar and perhaps even weight loss. But why a sudden significant change in eating habits? Is the ketogenic diet really all that it is to be cracked? Let's learn more!
Although it may seem new and hip, there is the ketogenic diet, which is also referred to as "keto" years. It is based on eating a diet that contains very little carbohydrate and lots of fat and protein. You may think, "That sounds very familiar" and that is because it is so. The Atkins diet, introduced in the 1970s, and the ketogenic diet are based on many of the same principles; bring the body into a state of "ketosis" or the breakdown of ketone bodies (fat) to energy.
How To Keto
The body typically goes into a state of ketosis in a matter of days over a very low carbohydrate diet. What is considered "very low"? According to Dr. Marcelo Campos, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and a clinical assistant professor at the TUFTS School of Medicine, can produce 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrate consumption per day, depending on the individual, for the production of ketone bodies and keto
Advantages of a ketogenic Lifestyle
- The Keto Diet is recommended by the Epilepsy Foundation for children with seizures who do not respond to medication. Studies have shown that in more than half of the children who follow a ketogenic diet, the seizures are reduced by 50%, while a small percentage is even free from seizures.
- A keto diet can trigger a weight loss that is more significant and faster than a traditional low-fat diet that helps overweight or obese people. According to Antonio Paouli in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health "ketogenic diets are at least effective in the short to medium term to combat obesity, hyperlipidemia, and some cardiovascular risks." However, he notes The keto diet, although it may have benefits, raises concerns among physicians.
- The keto diet may provide better control of blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes, significant weight loss, but also low intake of a high glycemic index. However, keto diet is not safe for anyone with diabetes and therefore a health care provider should be consulted before dietary habits are changed.
- Keto dieters tend to develop a sweet, bad breath that is caused by the breakdown of fatty acids. This side effect is by no means life-threatening, but only a warning against social situations.
- Since the keto diet is geared to a very low intake of macronutrients, carbohydrates, warns Jaclyn London, Registered Dietitian at Good House Keeping, these nutrient deficiencies are possible if devotees of the diet are not educated and deliberate about their diet.
- While the keto diet for weight loss and lowering blood pressure may be good in the short run, an evaluation in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2013 to evaluate ketogenic diets against low-fat diets for long-term weight loss found that these keto diets also include LDL -Cholesterin increase. Dr. Marcelo Campos seconds this concern in a keto diet review in a Harvard Health blog, saying that the emphasis on fat and protein over carbohydrates leads to higher consumption of less healthy oils and red meat, usually rich in saturated fats Can Lead to Potential Complications Related to Heart Health
- The keto diet may cause significant weight loss or improved health in some individuals, but we are all different and the effects may vary from person to person. Since this diet is very low in carbohydrates, this diet can not be sustainable for most people who are used to following the typical American diet.
Overall, More Research on Nutrition Needed Long-term effects of the keto diet, especially in adult humans, since much of the currently available research is based on animal studies or children with epilepsy. So make the more sustainable choice for you, because the best diet for you is the one you can stay with. It should be based on a variety of different foods that are nutrient-dense, meaning they provide a lot of low calorie nutrients. And remember that every meal can be included in moderation in a healthy diet!
1. Ketogenic diet for obesity – friend or foe? By Antonio Paoli – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014 February; 11 (2): 2092-2107.
2. The 5 Most Common Arguments for the Keto Diet Exposed by Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN – Good Households. 2018 February 16th.
3. Ketogenic Diet: Is The Ultimate Low Carb Diet Good For You? By Marcelo Campos, MD. Harvard Health Blog. 2017 July 27th.
4. Very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet Low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials by Nassib Bezerra Bueno, Ingrid Sofia Vieira de Melo, Suzana Lima de Oliveira and Terezinha da Rocha Ataide. British Journal of nutrition. 2013 Oct; 110 (7): 1178-87.
5. Effects of the ketogenic diet on cardiovascular risk factors: evidence from animal and human studies by Christophe Kosinski and François R. Jornayvaz. Nutrient journal. 2017 May; 9 (5): 517.
6. Ketogenic diet. Epilepsy Foundation. 2017 Oct 25.