Keto or Ketogenic Diet was primarily done to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. But at present, it is presented as a form of weight-loss wonder but in reality, keto is a form of medical diet that has serious risks. Weight-loss diets often mean a low-carbohydrate-high-protein eating plan but a true ketogenic diet is different. Though keto has been tried for weight loss, only short-term keto diets have been studied and results have been mixed and no one knows for sure yet whether long-term keto diet is safe so it isn’t the kind of diet to try as an experiment.
How It Works
The goal is to reach a state of ketosis which is a metabolic process wherein the body does not have enough glucose for energy and burns stored fats instead. Our main source of energy is from carbohydrates and carbohydrates in food (such as bread, grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits) are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is important in fueling brain function. Unlike other low-carbohydrate diets which focus on protein, keto diet aims to force your body into using a different type of fuel. Instead of relying on glucose, it centers more on fat which supplies as much as 90% of our daily calories. And since little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies – a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat –, replacing glucose as an energy. You may think that burning fat seems like an ideal way to lose weight, but getting the liver to produce ketone bodies can be tricky.
This means that you have deprive yourself of carbohydrates, fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (keep in mind that a medium-sized banana has about 27 grams of carbs already!). Not to mention reaching a state of ketosis typically takes a few days and eating too much protein may interfere ketosis.
Keto Diet Results: Its Dangers and Benefits
Keto Diet Dangers
Is keto diet safe? Well, for some yes – but it is also contraindicated for some. This method of weight loss offers many health benefits. However, keto diet is dangerous to people with pancreatitis, liver failure, disorders of fat metabolism, primary carnitine deficiency, carnitine palmitoyltransferase deficiency, carnitine translocase deficiency, porphyrias, or pyruvate kinase deficiency. Extra caution is required for People suffering from diabetes and taking insulin or oral hypoglycemic agents since they may suffer severe hypoglycemia if the medications are not appropriately adjusted before initiating this diet.
- Nutrient deficiency. If one is not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, this may cause a risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C.
- Liver problems. With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.
- Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein, and the keto diet may overload them.
- Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.
- Fuzzy thinking and mood swings. The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability.
Keto Diet Benefits
Is keto diet healthy? Yes! Of course! But only short-term effects (up to 2 years) of the ketogenic diet are well reported and established. However, the long-term health implications are not well known.
- Low-Carb Diets Reduce Your Appetite. Low-carb eating leads to an automatic reduction in appetite and when people cut carbs and eat more protein and fat, they end up eating far fewer calories
- Low-Carb Diets Lead to More Weight Loss at First. Cutting carbs is one of the simplest and most effective ways to lose weight. People on low-carb diets lose more weight, faster, than those on low-fat diets — even when the latter are actively restricting calories. People restricting their carbs sometimes lose 2–3 times as much weight — without being hungry.
- A Greater Proportion of Fat Loss Comes from Abdominal Cavity. Low-carb diets are very effective at reducing this harmful abdominal fat. Harmful abdominal fat is known to cause serious metabolic problems.
- Triglycerides Tend to Drop Drastically. One of the main factors of elevated triglycerides in inactive people is carb consumption. Low-carb diets are very effective at lowering blood triglycerides, which are fat molecules in the bloodstream that increase your risk of heart disease.
- Increased Levels of ‘Good’ HDL Cholesterol. Low-carb diets tend to be high in fat, which leads to an increase in blood levels of “good” High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- Reduced Blood Sugar and Insulin Levels. The best way to lower blood sugar and insulin levels is to reduce carb consumption, which may treat and possibly even reverse type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance and polycystic ovary syndrome (pcos).
- May Lower Blood Pressure Cutting carbs lead to a significant reduction in blood pressure, which should reduce your risk of many common diseases.
- Effective Against Metabolic Syndrome. Healthy low-carb diets effectively reverse all five key symptoms of metabolic syndrome – Abdominal Obesity, High Blood Pressure, High Fasting blood sugar levels, High triglycerides, Low HDL cholesterol levels – a serious condition which increases your risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Improved ‘Bad’ LDL Cholesterol Levels. When you eat a low-carb diet, the size of your “bad” Low-density Lipoprotein particles increases, which reduces their harmful effects. Cutting carbs may also reduce the number of total LDL particles in your bloodstream.
- Therapeutic for Several Brain Disorders. Low-carb and keto diets have proven beneficial in treating epilepsy in children and are being studied for their effects on other brain conditions.
Keto Diet Side Effects and How to Reduce Them
Like most weight-loss methods, Keto diet has its own side effects associated with it:
Keto Flu. Manifests as poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance.
Reducing the side effect: You can try a regular low-carb diet for the first few weeks. This may teach your body to burn more fat before you completely eliminate carbs.
Changes in the water and mineral balance of your body. This is because when carb intake is extremely low, levels of electrolytes – especially sodium – can drop. And if this happens, you may not feel your best.
Reducing the side effect: Adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements can help in replenishing the lost minerals in your body.
Keto diet pros and cons include a range of health benefits like supporting weight loss, improving heart health, providing neuroprotective benefits, and likewise a range of health risks like mineral and vitamin deficiencies, fatty liver, kidney problems, and fuzzy thinking. Since keto diet results in either health risks or wonderful health benefits, it isn’t for everyone and it isn’t something you should be experimenting on. Whatever type of weight loss method you have in mind, it’s always a must to research and make sure that you talk to your doctor and a registered dietitian with which method is suitable for you. Should you try Keto Diet? That’s entirely up to you. Whether your goal is to lose weight, improve your health, or just living a healthy lifestyle, diet (eating right) coupled with exercise and a good sleep is still the best thing for a better and healthier you.