Keto Diet is one of the most famous health diet in this decade. It stands for ketogenic diet.
In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. Now keto diet is famous for weight loss mainly.
Keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet which has many health benefits.
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How it works ?
Keto diet changes body from ” glucose burning machine to fat burning machine” .
Glucose is the favored fuel for our body which is obtained from carbohydrates like cereal , vegetables etc.
If you take very low carb diet , then liver will produce ketone bodies from fat ( process called ketosis) . These ketone bodies will be the alternative source of energy for the brain and body cells.
It typically takes a few days to reach a state of ketosis but it varies among individuals.
Naturally ketosis occurs during fasting.
What do you eat?
The keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal.
Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet — like nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils (palm, coconut), butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.
Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Benefits of Keto Diet
Let’s look at the health benefits of keto diet.
Reduction of appetite : Low carb diet reduces level of insulin and ghrelin . These hormone increase appetite. Thus, keto diet reduces your craving for food.
Weight loss : Turing the body into fat burning machine helps to lose weight drastically. Studies have shown that low carb high fat diet is about 2 to 3 time quicker in weight loss than actively reducing calorie intake. It may be due to excess excretion of water and reduced insulin level.
Reduce acne : Acne are associated with diet . According to a 2012 study, by decreasing carb intake, a ketogenic diet could reduce acne symptoms in some people.
Reduces seizures : The Epilepsy Foundation suggest that ketosis can reduce seizures in people with epilepsy — especially those who have not responded to other treatment methods. More research is necessary on how effective this is, though it seems to have the most effect on children who have focal seizures.
Reduces risk of cancer : One study found that the ketogenic diet may be a safe and suitable complementary treatment to use alongside chemotherapy and radiation people with certain cancers. Possible explanation may be keto diet cause more oxidative stress in cancer cells than in normal cells, causing them to die.
May lower Blood Pressure
Keto diet risk
Keto diet is associated with its own risk like :
Cardiovascular risks : If your keto diet is high in saturated fat , it will increase chance of heart disease. In some research ,keto diet led to increase bad cholesterol (LDL) and decrease good cholesterol (HDL) which can adversely affects endothelial vascular function and promotes inflammation and formation of atherosclerotic lesions
Fuzzy thinking and mood swings( Keto Flu). The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Shifting from glucose to ketone bodies as fuel in brain may cause headache, confusion and irritability .This problem usually subside after a week.
Nutrient deficiency. Keto diet prevents you from eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C.
Kidney problems. The kidneys help metabolize protein and keto diet may overload them. That’s because a high intake of animal food leading to increased excretion of calcium in your urine which increase the chance of kidney stones. Keto diet will cause frequent urination.
Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes which are necessary for healthy bowel movements.
Change in gut bacteria : Gut bacteria are essential for healthy immune system , proper digestion , nutrients and other health benefits. Keto diet doesn’t provide the necessary nutrients for the gut bacteria which may affect your immune system and overall health.
May lead to extreme low sugar : Keto diet are extremely low on carbs which may lead to extreme decline in level of blood sugar which is marked by confusion, shakiness, fatigue, and sweating. Hypoglycemia can lead to coma and death if not treated especially in people with Type 1 Diabetes.
These risks add up — so make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.
Take Home Message
Keto diet helps in weight loss , appetite reduction and so on but the potential risks aren’t minimal . So you should visit your dietician before going keto.
Keto diet is a hard diet to sustain. It will be tough to avoid delicious carb foods like bread , pastry , fruits and so on.
A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water seems to have the best evidence for a long, healthier, vibrant life.
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Sachet Subedi is 2nd year medical student from Institute Of Medicine, Maharajgunj . He writes on health, diet, wellness and science. He likes cricket and loves to study books and research paper on productivity, diet , health and wellness.