Keto diet — fad or fact ? Is the ketogenic diet just a fad ? Does it lead to faster weight loss? Is it a good diet for you? Will your body be able to handle this keto diet? How will you come to know whether it will suit you or not ? There are so many questions running through our minds when we think about Keto or any diet for that matter ! Well let’s find out ! First it's important for us to know what a keto /ketogenic diet is .
The main things to be followed in the keto diet are :
- This diet is high in fats . Upto 70% off the calories you eat per day in a keto diet are all from fats.
- Keto staples are meat, fish, butter eggs, cheese, heavy cream, oils, nuts, avocados, seeds and low carb green vegetables , meat and fish . You cut out carbohydrate sources like fruit, grains, rice, beans, potatoes, milk sweets,cereals, and sweets.
- It is low in carbs and proteins. You will be limited to less or equal to 50 g of carbohydrates a day ! So I guess this is bad news for potato lovers !
- It usually takes about three days for our body to go into a state of ketosis — meaning instead of burning glucose, our body will burn ketones. Ketosis is natural but not optimized. Our bodies get the energy for our daily activities from carbs or glucose.When we cut out carbs from our diet or keep long gaps between meals, our body frantically looks for some other source of energy. Without carbs our insulin levels fall and at that time fat is released from our cells which makes the liver turn it into ketones. These ketones are our body’s second choice after carbs for energy.
- Certain foods are to be avoided ! Some foods considered healthy are a complete No-No in Keto genic diet. You may not realize that will max your carb intake like an apple or a pear ! Other foods to avoid are :
* kidney beans
* Butternut squash
* carrots .Yes the food we considered healthy is a no no in the ketogenic diet.
The keto diet was originally developed to help individuals with neurological conditions like epilepsy /convulsions and people with diabetes could also benefit with this . The keto diet has gained popularity in recent times due to its ability to increase metabolism and burn fat .
While the keto diet helps to lose weight, you can have some nutritional issues and concerns as well .
A keto diet is usually high in fat. For example for a snack you can munch on a stick of butter in a keto diet. We all know how that what the effects of high cholesterol are on our body and this kind of diet can cause our cholesterol levels to increase. Most keto diets allow for butter and cream to be included in the diet. But saturated fat can have a bad impact on our heart health. The unsaturated fats like that in fish, avocado and olive oil are still better, but too much of olive oil also has found to increase cholesterol in the body. At the same time it has been found that for anticonvulsant therapy polyunsaturated fat diet has found to be beneficial for the individual, while having little or no impact on the cholesterol levels. Athletes who go on a keto diet lose the extra fat mass and give a better performance due to the increase in metabolism.
The downside of the ketogenic diet is that it advocates the consumption of carbs to a minimum. It is common knowledge that good carbs from plants such as beans, legumes or lentils, fruits vegetables etc. are good for us . These kind of carbs have a lot of nutrients and vitamins and essential for us . Then there are the processed carbs like bread, cakes etc. which are not good for us ( “bad carbs”). These bad carbs are low in nutrients and not so healthy. We cannot totally eliminate carbs from our diet. Carbs are very important and we cannot function without them. They have vitamins and minerals which are crucial. Many a time people on Keto diet are put on a sodium tablet. Even calcium and Vitamin D may be missing in this diet which is why Keto dieters are more at risk for decrease in bone health and fractures.
LOSS OF MUSCLE MASS
A major concern with a Keto diet is the loss of muscle mass that happens. We all know carbohydrates convert into insulin which in turn help to grow muscles. That is why athletes depend on carbohydrates to fuel their performance. When we cut out carbs, the muscle glycogen stores get depleted , we don’t build muscle and our workouts also suffer.
DEHYDRATION & ELECTROLYTES LOSS
People on a Keto diet are eliminating a major food group - carbohydrates. So there will be weight loss. Also when a person is on a low carb diet , they generally increase their protein intake. A recent study found that a person on a Keto diet lost the same amount of weight as another person on a different diet ; both eating the same number of calories . However the person on a Keto diet loses weight faster because of loss of water . Also in a Keto diet ,there is loss of muscle mass and depletion of glycogen. Glycogen stores water along with glucose. So when the glucose storage is exhausted in a keto diet , the water is flushed out as well ; meaning the weight loss is not fat loss but water loss.
IMPACT ON HORMONES
The Keto diet has an impact on our hormones too. Some studies showed that when people lost weight on a Keto diet, their hunger hormone ( ghrelin) became altered or suppressed. The state of ketosis is the reason probably for the suppression of appetite. This diet maybe good for those individuals who cannot bear hunger pangs.
Keto diet also showed an increased cortisol ( stress hormone)level in another study. Increase in cortisol can lead to cardiac disease, insulin resistance and increased fatty accumulation.
BAD BREATH AND KETO FLU
This is one side effect in ketosis . Since our body is not used to ketones , we get flu like symptoms like headaches, nausea, fatigue etc. Even the pee, sweat and breath stinks from the byproduct of acetone. Thankfully this side effect wears off if you are in ketosis for a longer duration of time.
This is one of the most common side effects that people on a Keto diet have . This is because when on low carbs, essential fiber from grains, fruits, veggies is not consumed to make bowel movements regular.
THE FINAL VERDICT ON KETO
Any diet that eliminates an entire food group is a nightmare for the person as well as the dietician. It stresses the body and is not easy to follow. Because of the restrictive nature of the Keto diet, it came in last place in the 2018 US News & World Report’s review of 2018 diet.
We have seen the role of Keto diet for neurological illnesses and in treatment. It may act as a quick weight loss tool like other restrictive diets but can also encourage eating disorders. This diet focuses on the quantity of food more than it does on the quality of food.
No matter what diet you are following, it is important to remember all food groups are important and everything should be in moderation. Focus on quality food, portion control and working out. Choose a healthy lifestyle not a quick fix weight loss life.
How to make your Keto diet healthier:
Despite the issues mentioned above if you do decide to adopt the keto lifestyle you can give it a healthier twist.
* Instead of consuming dairy fats like butter and cream, you can consume polyunsaturated fat from flax or sunflower seeds or oils, or fish
* Consume plenty of produce.
* Hydrate yourself since any diet low in carbohydrates can lead to dehydration.
Have you tried Keto diet for weight loss before!? What are your views on this diet ?Let us know in comments below.