Even though the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet or simply keto for short, is currently regarded as one of the most popular diets available, it was first utilized as a treatment for epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s.
The ketogenic diet is similar to other diets that promote health because the keto diet’s pros and cons affect the individual following the diet. This comprises their current state of health and whether they adhere to it correctly and rely on the most effective procedures.
The moderate, high-fat diet became increasingly popular when it was demonstrated to minimize the number of seizures experienced by pediatric children diagnosed with epilepsy. Although the diet is still recommended for that reason in modern times, it is now being promoted as a means of weight loss.
This article will help you determine if the ketogenic diet is the correct way of eating for you by providing a list of the keto diet pros and cons of following a diet.
Putting The Ketogenic Diet Into Perspective
To enter ketosis, characterized by higher levels of ketones in the blood, breath, and urine, the keto diet mandates a reduction in daily carbohydrate consumption to a maximum of 50 grams. If you are in this metabolic function, it indicates that your body is using fat for fuel rather than glycogen, a kind of carbohydrate stored in the body.
Because carbohydrates are restricted on the keto diet, most of the calories you consume daily will be from fat. At the same time, protein intake is kept at a moderate level to ensure proper bodily function and the protection of muscle tissue.
As a result, you will consume a wide array of meats, shellfish, fish, chicken, eggs, green vegetables, nuts, peanuts, and fruits that do not have starch in their structure. It is extremely important to avoid unhealthy fats such as vegetable oils like soy protein, canola oil, soybean oil, and sunflower oil. These fats induce inflammation and raise the risk of developing various diseases.
Aside from unhealthy fats, this diet does not permit foods that are heavy in carbohydrates. These meals include grains, sweet fruits (such as apples, mangoes, and bananas), juices, conventional baked goods and sweets, and starchy vegetables (like corn and potatoes).
Pros Of Adopting A Ketogenic Diet
According to research, following a ketogenic diet can result in weight loss, assist with the management of epileptic seizures, lower levels of inflammation, and completely do away with digestive problems caused by FODMAPs. More information about each perk is provided below:
1. Weight Loss: Short-Term And Long-Term Perspectives
One of the benefits of the keto diet that people look for the most is a reduction in body fat.
Because of the diet’s diuretic effect, many people find that they lose weight quite quickly, often as much as 10 pounds in as little as two weeks. Meaning that initially, as a reaction to the depletion of glycogen, you lose weight due to the loss of water weight. (It is important to note that glycogen is stored together with three to four grams of water in your kidney and liver.)
After this rapid weight loss, you will experience a subsequent, slower weight loss; however, this time, you will be losing body fat rather than just water weight.
Regarding maintaining weight reduction, the results of a randomized controlled experiment indicated that obese individuals who followed a low-carb diet for six months lost more weight than those who followed a traditional diet. In addition, during the trial, those who consumed fewer carbohydrates had lower overall blood pressure and greater HDL levels, also known as “good cholesterol.”
2. Lower Glucose Levels
Even while glucose is necessary for the body, having an excessive amount of glucose in the blood, brought on by eating a diet heavy in sugar, can cause issues with one’s energy levels and overall mood. In addition, it has been linked to inflammation, obesity, & insulin resistance.
Consuming fewer carbohydrates may be a very helpful strategy for warding off these health problems. It becomes much more critical if you attempt to avoid developing diabetes, properly manage it, or even reverse it (in the case of people with type 2 diabetes).
Adults diagnosed with diabetes type 2 who maintained a low carbohydrate diet were the subjects of a trial that lasted for ten weeks. After ten weeks, the data demonstrated a decrease in HbA1c values (a reflection of your average blood sugar over the past 2-3 months). In addition, individuals could lessen the amount of diabetes medication they were using or stop taking it altogether.
3. Reduced Levels Of Inflammation
Diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, quasi-fatty liver disorder (NAFLD), Alzheimer’s disease, and autoimmune illnesses are all driven by chronic inflammation.
A recent study found that the foods you eat can bring about inflammation throughout the body. For instance, refined grains and foods with a high glycemic load (such as white rice, morning cereals, and sugars found in processed foods) are known to activate inflammation-related genes.
The ketogenic diet reduces the body’s inflammatory response to certain triggers. It has been demonstrated that the NLRP3 inflammasome can be inhibited by beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB), the ketone most prevalent in the blood.
Reducing carbohydrates, particularly sugar and processed foods that are high in carbohydrates, can be a significant step in the fight against disease and the pursuit of maximum health.
4. Controlling Seizures: A Successful Approach
Intractable epilepsy is a form of epilepsy that cannot be controlled by medication, as was discussed earlier in this article. Keto has been used as a treatment for intractable epilepsy since the 1920s.
This is because food alters how the brain consumes electricity. It changes the energy metabolism, so glucose is used less, and dietary fat is used more. In addition, the “low sugar” characteristic of the ketogenic diet lowers the excitability of neurons, reducing the number of seizures experienced.
5. Inherently Low In Fodmaps
Fermentable carbohydrates, disaccharides, monosaccharides, and polyols are referred to as “FODMAPs.” FODMAPs are essentially forms of carbohydrates that are poorly digested by the body.
People who cannot tolerate them may experience digestive issues after eating them, including bloating, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, and cramps. Because the keto diet restricts carbohydrates, it automatically removes most foods high in FODMAPs, such as apples, oats, wheat, and pineapples.
Therefore, whether you are suffering from irritable bowel syndrome or gastroesophageal reflux disease, adopting a keto diet — and making other alterations for the best comfort — may be helpful.
Negative Aspects Of The Ketogenic Diet
Some people who try the ketogenic diet may end up giving up on it or claiming that it has worsened their health. Failure to adhere to the diet appropriately will typically result in negative outcomes.
For instance, they concentrate on low-carb meals that are also highly processed, or they ignore the importance of meeting their micronutrient requirements, which are essential for any diet. The keto flu, which can include transient headaches, fatigue, and other symptoms, is another major cause of concern among keto dieters.
Following this, we will discuss each concern and respond to them as appropriate.
1. The Dreaded Keto Flu
The term “keto flu” refers to a collection of symptoms that might occur while beginning a ketogenic diet. These symptoms can include headaches, lethargy, disorientation, irritability, and intestinal problems. These symptoms will go away on their own and are simply your body’s reaction to the new fuel source (fat).
On the other hand, they can cause beginning dieters to give up, particularly if the symptoms are serious.
Fortunately, you may fight off keto influenza by getting enough rest, maintaining a healthy fluid intake, consuming electrolyte supplements, and increasing the amount of fat you eat for an additional energy source.
Additionally, you should think about progressively cutting back on carbohydrate consumption to make the transition into ketosis more smoothly; doing so may also result in fewer or milder keto flu symptoms.
The keto flu can lead to dehydration, increasing your risk of kidney stones. If you want to know how well you are hydrated, look at the color of your pee. If possible, it should be more of a light yellow rather than a dark yellow.
2. Processed-Food-Related Illnesses And Diseases
The ketogenic diet can be approached in two different ways. You have the option of doing it the “clean” way (also known as clean keto), in which you consume primarily whole foods that have not been processed, or the “dirty” method, in which you consume items that have been processed (a.k.a. the dirty keto diet).
Although the convenience of the filthy keto approach is appealing, it is well known that reliance on processed meals threatens one’s health. The vitamins and minerals in processed meals are often removed during manufacturing, which increases the risk of nutrient deficiencies. In addition to that, they are made with artificial colors and preservatives.
If you want to improve your health while following the keto diet, you should steer clear of processed foods and consume them only very infrequently (in times of crisis or when you are truly unable to prepare meals).
3. Having A Craving For Food
Consuming food should be a pleasurable experience. However, the ketogenic diet might be overly restrictive for some people, and the resulting feelings of deprivation can increase the risk of developing an eating problem.
A person’s propensity toward disordered eating can be increased by personality characteristics, including negative emotionality (moodiness, stress, worry, and jealousy) and perfectionism.
It’s possible that the ketogenic diet is not the ideal choice for you if you have a history of eating disorders.
Mistakes That Could Lead To Deficiencies In Nutrients
Not only does a well-designed keto diet emphasize consuming enough amounts of macronutrients, but it also does so for micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). This will benefit both your health and your performance in physical activities and make the keto diet more sustainable over the long term.
Especially if you restrict calories regularly, you should know that calorie depletion can lead to nutrient shortages. Calorie restriction is not required for weight loss and improved metabolic health when following a ketogenic diet. On the other hand, you should make a conscious effort to stop eating before you feel full.
Consider both the benefits and drawbacks of the keto diet before choosing whether or not it will work for you. It is possible that cutting out an entire food category from your diet is not necessary unless you have a health problem that would be helped by reducing the number of carbohydrates you consume, or you are at risk for developing such a condition.
Questions That Are Typically Asked
The following are some responses to frequently asked questions about the benefits and drawbacks of the keto diet:
1. Do Physicians Endorse The Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is one that some medical professionals recommend while others do not. It depends on either the personal experience that your doctor has had with the diet, the knowledge they now possess, or a combination of the two. Those typically prescribe it as a dietary method to regulate sugar levels and lower body weight in those who are obese and seeking to lose weight.
2. Who Decides How Long One Should Stay On A Ketogenic Diet?
If you discover that adhering to the keto diet helps you maintain your health and progress toward your objectives, you are free to continue doing so. Some people follow the ketogenic diet for an extended period while also incorporating “carb-up days,” which are days in which they consume a greater quantity of carbohydrates, particularly healthy carbohydrates. This allows them to take a short break from the eating plan while improving their physical performance in the gym.
3. What Are The Side Effects Of Using Keto Over A Longer Period?
People with type 2 diabetes were able to normalize their hemoglobin A1c level (below 6.5 percent), lose weight, and stop taking the majority of their blood sugar control drugs when they participated in a trial that lasted for one year and restricted carbohydrate consumption. Despite the strict criteria, the vast majority of participants maintained their adherence to the diet over the entire year. This finding is equally remarkable.
Is It Worth It To Attempt Keto?
When it comes to selecting a diet that is suitable for you, you should take the time to think about a variety of variables, including your current health state, the foods you prefer, the research that has been done on the keto diet pros and cons, and the diets that you have likely tried in the past.
If you believe ketogenic could be useful, you should give it a shot. If you are already taking medicine, it is highly recommended that you discuss this matter with your primary care physician.