Are you looking to lose weight? Are you sick of low-fat or no-fat diets that make you crave high-fat meats? You might be thinking about trying the keto diet, which is the new kid on the block. Endorsed by many celebrities, including Halle Berry, LeBron James, and Kim Kardashian, among others, the keto diet has been the subject of much debate among dietitians and doctors.
1. What exactly is the ketogenic diet?
You should be aware that the body functions on sugar in the form of glycogen. Because it does not get enough sugar, the keto diet, which is extremely low in sugar, forces your body to use fat as fuel instead of sugar. When the body does not receive enough sugar for fuel, the liver is forced to convert available fat into ketones, which are then used as fuel by the body – hence the term ketogenic.
This is a high-fat diet with moderate protein intake. Depending on your carb intake, the body can reach and maintain ketosis in less than a week. Because fat is used for fuel instead of sugar in the body, weight loss is dramatic without any ostensible calorie restriction.
According to the keto diet, you should aim for 60–75 percent of your daily calories to come from fat, 15–30 percent from protein, and only 5–10 percent from carbohydrates. This usually means that you can only consume 20–50 grammes of carbohydrates per day.
2. What foods are permissible on this diet?
The diet is high in fat and somewhat similar to the Atkins diet. However, there is a greater emphasis on fats, which are typically “good” fats. You can eat whatever you want on the keto diet.
Extra virgin olive oil
Oils derived from nuts
Beef raised on grass
Other types of meat
Cheese in its natural state
Non-starchy Vegetables with no starch
There is also a wide variety of keto-friendly snacks available. Fruits, as you can see from this list, are restricted. You can eat low sugar fruits in moderation (mostly berries), but you must forego your favourite fruits, which are all sweet and/or starchy.
This diet excludes all grains, starchy vegetables such as potatoes (and all tubers), sugar or sweets, breads and cakes, beans and lentils, pasta, pizza and burgers, and alcohol. This includes no coffee with milk or tea with milk, as well as no milk, ice cream, or milk-based desserts.
Many of these have workarounds, such as carbohydrate-free pasta and pizza, cauliflower rice, and now even food outlets that cater to keto enthusiasts.
3. What are the advantages of the ketogenic diet?
If you’re wondering if this diet is safe, its supporters and those who have lost weight will undoubtedly agree that it is. Among the many advantages of the keto diet are:
Sugar spikes are reduced or eliminated.
Controlling one’s appetite
Controlling seizure effect
For high blood pressure patients’ blood pressure returns to normal.
Reduced attacks of migraine
Patients with type 2 diabetes who follow this diet may be able to cut back on their medications.
Apart from the first four, there is insufficient evidence to support its effectiveness or otherwise for other diseases, as much more long-term research is required.
4. Is there anything negative about this diet?
When you first begin the keto diet, you may experience what is known as keto flu. These symptoms are not universal and usually appear a few days after starting the diet, when your body is in a state of ketosis. Some of the side effects include:
Cramps and stomach pain
Constipation and/or diarrhoea
Cramps in the muscles
Dizziness and difficulty concentrating
Cravings for carbohydrates and sugar
These may last up to a week as your body adjusts to the new diet plan. When you start the keto diet, you may experience other issues, such as increased urination, so it is critical to stay hydrated. When your body reaches optimal ketosis, you may experience keto breath, which can be alleviated by using a mouthwash or brushing your teeth more frequently.
Usually, the side effects are only temporary, and they should go away once your body adjusts to the new diet.
5. Is the keto diet safe?
The keto diet, like any other diet that restricts foods in specific categories, is not without risks. Because you are not supposed to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, beans and lentils, and other foods, you may be deficient in many essential nutrients. Because the diet is high in saturated fats, and if you indulge in the “bad” fats, you can have high cholesterol levels, which increases your risk of heart disease.
In the long run, the keto diet can lead to many nutritional deficiencies and essential fiber, as well as important vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants. You may experience gastrointestinal distress, decreased bone density (due to a lack of dairy and other calcium sources), and kidney and liver problems (the diet puts added stress on both the organs).
6. Is it safe to follow the keto diet for losing weight?
If you are willing to give up your usual dietary staples and are desperate to lose weight, you might be tempted to try the keto diet. If you simply find it too difficult to stick to, you can try a modified keto diet with more carbs.
The keto diet, on the other hand, is unquestionably effective in terms of weight loss. According to a recent study, many of the obese patients who followed the keto diet, lost weight. Any difficulties they encountered were only temporary. If you have no significant health issues other than obesity and have been unsuccessful in losing weight on any conventional diet, the keto diet may be a viable option for you. You must be completely committed to losing weight and be willing to follow the prescribed diet. Even if you have any medical issues, you can follow this diet with the help of your doctor and a nutritionist.
Another study that was conducted over a longer period of time found that following the keto diet is beneficial for weight loss and also results in lower cholesterol levels, with a decrease in bad cholesterol and an increase in good cholesterol.
Is it safe to follow the keto diet? Most doctors and nutritionists agree that the keto diet is effective for short-term weight loss. More research is needed in the long run. Keep in mind that obesity comes with its own set of health risks.