The Truth About the Ketogenic Diet: Why You Shouldn't Get on It
When you think of fad diets, the ketogenic diet is one of the first that comes to mind. Its reputation as a super-strict eating plan that forces followers to eat lots of fat and almost no carbs or sugars has made it an extremely popular diet. A poll from last year found that over 25 percent of Americans have heard about it, and around 5 percent admitted that they’ve tried it. Ketogenic diets have been studied for their potential benefits for weight loss and diabetes management. Those on a ketogenic diet get approximately 70 percent of their daily calories from fats, nearly
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet forces your body to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis. This state is caused by a lack of carbohydrates in the diet. When your body doesn’t have enough glucose (a type of sugar) to use for energy, it burns fat instead. The process of burning fat creates chemicals called ketones that build up in the blood. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to create an environment that makes the body rely on these ketones for energy. In the past, ketogenic diets were used to treat epilepsy in children. Since the diet has shown promising results in helping people lose weight and improve their health, it’s become a popular diet for general weight loss. Ketogenic diets work by tricking your body into burning fat for fuel. They produce far fewer byproducts than burning carbohydrates, which is the body’s main source of energy. The process of burning fat produces fewer active toxins and much less oxidative stress than burning carbs does.
Why so much fat?
The amount of fat you eat on a ketogenic diet is what makes it ketogenic. The goal is to eat enough healthy fats to produce ketones without eating so much that you cause other problems. The reason that ketogenic diets get so much emphasis on fat is that when you’re not eating enough carbohydrates, fat is the easiest thing for your body to convert and use as fuel. Ketogenic diets often use the 60/40 rule. This means that you consume 60 percent of your calories from healthy fats and the remaining 40 percent from proteins and carbohydrates. For most people, it’s best to choose healthy fats from butter, ghee, avocado, coconut oil, olives, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish like salmon.
The bad news for keto fans
There is no one-size-fits-all diet that works for everyone. Each diet has its pros and cons, and the ketogenic diet is no exception. While it may be beneficial for some people, others experience negative side effects. People who are on the extreme end of the ketogenic spectrum may experience some unwanted side effects, including gastrointestinal issues, fatigue, and nausea. The high-fat content of the diet can also contribute to poor cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, and a risk of developing gallstones. People with certain health conditions should avoid the ketogenic diet. This includes pregnant and breastfeeding women, people with diabetes, those who are overweight, and those who have kidney or liver disease.
Possible side effects of a ketogenic diet
Gastrointestinal issues: Some people experience digestive issues when they first go on a ketogenic diet. These can include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation. This can often be resolved by eating more fiber and drinking more water. Poor cholesterol levels: While the ketogenic diet may help you lose weight, it can have negative effects on cholesterol levels. The reduction in carbohydrates can cause a rise in LDL (bad) cholesterol levels. Insulin resistance: A ketogenic diet can improve insulin resistance among people with diabetes. However, people without diabetes who follow a ketogenic diet can also experience insulin resistance. This can lead to metabolic disorders and weight gain. Gallstones: A ketogenic diet can increase the risk of gallstones. This happens when bile becomes too concentrated and combines with other substances in the digestive system.
For most people, the ketogenic diet is not a sustainable way of eating. It can be difficult to maintain because it requires carefully monitoring what you eat. The negative effects of the diet are often not worth the benefit it provides for weight loss. The best way to lose weight and improve your health is to choose a healthy eating plan that works for you. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet.