The Keto Diet: Everything You Need to Know
The ketogenic diet has been around since the 1920s, despite the fact that it may appear new to your newsfeed. When it was proved to lessen seizures in pediatric epilepsy patients, the low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet gained traction. The diet is now promoted as a weight loss aid, despite the fact that it is still prescribed for that purpose.
Breaking Down the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet, according to Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital dietitian Richelle Gomez, MS, RDN, LDN, is meant to burn fat by reducing carbs. She continues, “Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose for energy.” “When you eliminate carbohydrates from your diet, your body switches to burning fatty acids, often known as ketones.” Ketosis is the process of breaking down fats for energy. Your body will switch into ketosis after three weeks of carbohydrate restriction.
According to Melinda R. Ring, MD, director of Northwestern Medicine’s Osher Center for Integrative Medicine, “there has been anecdotal evidence of people losing weight on the ketogenic diet.” “People also say they feel less hungry on this diet than they do on other restrictive diets.” People feel less hungry, according to Gomez, since fatty foods take longer to break down in the body. Weight loss occurs not just as a result of ketosis, but also as a result of calorie restriction and the elimination of dietary groups.
No More Low-Fat:
Burning fats by eating more of them seems appealing on paper, which is why the diet has gained popularity. Many people may enjoy their favorite high-fat foods, such as red meats, fatty seafood, nuts, cheese, and butter, while still losing weight on the keto diet.
Health Benefits for Specific People:
In children with epilepsy, the keto diet can help reduce seizures. It’s also used by endurance athletes and bodybuilders to burn fat quickly. Benefits of keto diet are being researched to see if it can help patients with degenerative neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s disease. However, scientific study has yet to show if it can help these people.
Difficult to Sustain:
“When taken for a short period of time and followed by the adoption of healthier eating habits, the ketogenic diet can be helpful for weight loss,” says Cardiologist Kameswari Maganti, MD, of Northwestern Medicine Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute. “Unfortunately, it encourages yo-yo dieting, which leads to an increase in mortality.” Ketosis is tough to accomplish since it’s like turning on or off a light switch. People who keep track of their food consumption are more likely to stay in ketosis. However, a blood test is the only method to determine if your body is in ketosis.
Calorie Depletion and Nutrient Deficiency:
“Because the keto diet is so limited, you’re not getting the nutrients — vitamins, minerals, fibers — that you would receive from fresh fruits, legumes, veggies, and whole grains,” Dr. Ring explains. People also report feeling disoriented and weary as a result of these inadequacies. The “keto flu” has been coined to describe these symptoms. Due to the lack of fiber in the keto diet, constipation is prevalent.
Bad Fats in Practice:
The high-fat content of the diet may also be harmful to heart health. Saturated fat intake should be limited to 5 to 6%, according to the American Heart Association. “In practice, many people consume high levels of saturated fats, which may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Maganti explains. “Within six to eight weeks, we detect an increase in lipids, or fats, in the blood of patients on the keto diet.”
“On the keto diet, patients with kidney illness are more likely to require dialysis due to the excess ketones that their renal system must handle,” explains Dr. Maganti. Because glycogen, which retains water, is removed from the bloodstream, some people experience dehydration while on the keto diet.
“When you track how much you eat and micromanage your food intake, you get disconnected from what your body is asking for,” Gomez explains. “Instead of listening to your body, you start utilizing outside numbers to choose what to consume.” Keeping such a close eye on food might lead to psychological issues like shame and binge eating. Restriction can lead to bingeing, which can lead to guilt, which can lead to more restriction, and so on in a never-ending cycle.