There are several ads in health and fitness magazines, social media, even pop-up ads on Youtube that sing praises of the keto diet. There is no gainsaying that the keto diet provides incredible benefits for the body. For example, here is what Dr. Mercola thinks about it.
You should try them out if you are looking to lose some pounds of flesh. However, before you try it out, it’s probably a good idea you know what it is and how it affects the body.
We often receive questions if keto diet is the best method for losing weight. Some ask if they are causing more harm to their body.
In this article, we are going to tell you all you need to know about the keto diet, what it is, how it works, and discuss the positives and negatives of this popular dietary plan and weight loss formula.
Without further ado, let’s get started.
What is the nutritional benefit of the keto diet?
Before we get into the discussion about the ketogenic diet, let’s give a rundown of the crucial things you need to know about food and their nutrition. The three major macronutrient groups that we’re going to be paying attention to is protein, fats, and carbohydrates. These are the major nutrients you find in the foods you eat every day.
In the United States, the standard diet consists of 35% of fats, 15% of protein, and 50% of carbs. Now, if you are considering the ketogenic diet, the numbers are quite different, having 75% of fats, 20% of proteins, and just 5% of carbs, which is 10 times less the number of carbs in a standard American diet.
How does Keto Diet work?
So, let’s say you switch from your standard diet to a ketogenic diet, what happens inside of your body?
Your body deals with this deficient carb consumption in two ways; The first is that it enters a state called ketosis. And this means your body’s primary energy source shifts from carbs to fats.
Essentially, this entails the breakdown of fat into chemicals known as ketones, hence the name ketosis, and then uses these chemicals for its energy.
In simple terms, the body starts to use fat as its energy source instead of glucose from carbs. The ketosis process takes a few days, and during those days, some people experience adverse side effects like brain fog, nausea, and gastrointestinal (GI) discomfort. Some people even label these abnormalities as the “keto flu.”
The second process your body undergoes is called gluconeogenesis. This may sound scary because you probably flunked your life science courses in middle school, but it’s not. All ketogenesis entails is how your body creates glucose because not all cells can function on fats alone.
Here is a fun fact, for survival purposes, you don’t need to consume any carbs as long as you’re consuming fats and proteins.
Popular claims about Keto Diets
Let’s examine the claims about the keto diet and find out what’s true and what’s not.
1. The ketogenic diet helps you lose weight: It is actually a fact that the keto diet works for weight loss, and this happens through two principal mechanisms. First, since you are using fat as your primary energy source, you’re burning a lot of stored fat.
Second, because fat is very satiating, it makes you feel full, and when you come across a high-fat content meal, you really wouldn’t feel like eating much, thereby limiting the amount of fat you take in.
Many people are surprised by the rapid weight loss in the initial stages of the keto diet, but this can be misleading because most of that weight loss is as a result of water loss, not fat loss.
2. The ketogenic diet is good for the brain: Truth of the matter is, the jury is still out on this one because it hasn’t been scientifically proven, and there is still research going on in this are.
However, some people say they feel more focused or sharper when on a ketogenic diet, but others complain that they feel foggy and that the keto flu stays with them much longer.
3. The keto diet prevents diseases: This is a yes and no answer. Where the healing effect of the keto diet is apparent is in type II diabetes. This is because people with type II diabetes have insulin sensitivity issues, high sugar content in the blood, and research has shown that the ketogenic diet works for type II diabetes.
Also, some experts say the keto diet could work for cancer. The ketogenic diet is not a primetime cancer treatment yet, and there is ongoing research to show it to be a preventive measure for developing cancer, but what we do know is that it’s promising, and more research needs to be done.
The potential harm of the Keto Diet
There are some harms you could face from following a ketogenic diet, and they include:
- Nutritional deficiency
- An increase in bad LDL cholesterol
- Kidney issues
- Bone issues
- Increase of the risk of some specific cancers when you’re overeating foods like processed or red meat (for the protein in the keto diet)
As a disclaimer, these are just things likely to occur when you embark on the keto diet, and it does not necessarily mean you will have any of these health conditions.
Our verdict on the keto diet
The ketogenic diet does work for weight loss. However, it is better for short-term weight loss than the long-term weight loss plan. As an example, if you have a wedding ceremony that you’re preparing for and you want to fit into your wedding gown or some big upcoming event, and you’re otherwise healthy, then it’s not a bad diet to go along.
On a final note, the ketogenic diet may be tough to follow because of how much you have to drastically change how and what you can eat. The possible side effects that could come from following the diet, and frankly, from the lack of knowledge and research we have on its long-term effects, all put this popular diet into question. But it is still an excellent weight loss plan loved by many.
Stay happy and healthy with the ketogenic diet.