The keto diet has become very popular recently, especially among people that have researched diets in detail. One survey found 70% of people on it started the keto diet after doing their own research.
In simple terms, the keto diet is an eating plan that is made up of a lot of fat, moderate proteins, and few carbohydrates. There are some interesting things that are going to happen to your body when you consume a lot of fat and a small number of carbs. There are a lot of benefits of it.
When you reduce your carb intake, your body is going to run out of carbs which is the preferred fuel, and glycogen stores also. Your body is then going to switch to burning fat to get energy. This metabolic state is known as ketosis.
When the body is in ketosis, the liver is going to convert fatty acids to ketones or ketone bodies, which are going to be used by the brain, heart, and muscles as fuel.
If you want to remain in ketosis, you have to keep your total carb intake between 20-50 grams a day and consume a lot of healthy fat.
When a person uses this diet plan, they most likely want to burn unwanted fat by forcing the body to use fat for energy instead of carbs. Ketosis is going to help with weight loss and many other health benefits.
There are a lot of options when it comes to the keto diet, but the most popular one is the standard keto diet. The macronutrient breakdown on the diet is usually 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs. Keto bars are designed as a keto friendly snack to keep you on track with your diet.
Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet
The keto diet has a wide range of health benefits as mentioned earlier, below are some of the most significant benefits of the keto diet:
Keto is king when it comes to short-term weight loss.
There are 23 studies compared that tracked the keto diet for varying lengths (mostly six months or less) and they found that people following the keto diet lost two to three times more weight than low-fat dieters. The low-carb diets were more effective in reducing abdominal fat.
The studies above also found other health parameters associated with obesity improved when following the diet. Those following the diet saw improved blood sugar, triglyceride and cholesterol level markers, and blood pressure.
Some studies have shown that ketones generated as a result of ketosis had neuroprotective benefits, which help in strengthening and protecting the brain and its nerve cells.
Eating low carb and high-fat diet improved feelings of anxiousness, low mood, and issues with brain focus.
When you eat a diet that has a lot of refined carbohydrates, it can alter the balance of gut bacteria that can cause blood sugar levels to rise and fall significantly, which is going to have a negative effect on your skin. There was a study that found decreasing carb consumption can help lessen acne problems.
There are a couple of drawbacks and health risks you need to know about keto and you should be careful with them. Some of these symptoms include;
When you have been on the keto diet for a few days, you might start experiencing problems. Some of them include dizziness, headaches, nausea, fatigue, and constipation – this is the result of electrolyte imbalance and dehydration because your body is getting into ketosis. These issues are going to go after a few weeks. You can reduce these issues by staying hydrated and making sure you are getting enough amounts of potassium, sodium, and electrolytes.
Blood Sugar Issues
The keto diet has been shown to be good in supporting healthy blood sugar levels, but complications to do with blood sugar and ketones might come up.
Heart Health Concerns
Keto involves consuming a lot of fat. When someone consumes too much-saturated fat, it leads to increased cholesterol levels, especially LDL, which has been linked to health issues. You can alleviate these risks by choosing healthier fats like polyunsaturated fats and monounsaturated fats that are found in seeds, nuts, avocados, and olives.
Liver and Kidney Problems
The kidneys and liver help in processing protein and fat. There are experts who think that the diet is going to overwork these organs. Consuming a lot of fatty animal foods can increase the risk of kidney stones.
Low in Nutrients and Fiber
Keto is going to limit the options you have. You will not consume foods that are high in fiber like starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense fruits, legumes, and whole grains.
Studies that have been done on people following the keto found deficiencies in vitamin D, calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium. The diet can be constipating and affect healthy gut bacteria, but you can avoid this by taking measures like eating plenty of leafy green and cruciferous vegetables.
Restrictive and challenging
The keto diet is very restrictive. Carbs usually make up 50% of the standard American diet. It is challenging to adhere to this diet.
It Exacerbates Disordered Eating
There is a risk of disordered eating for keto dieters. Dieting can interfere with the joy of eating and can even affect simple daily activities. A diet that is restrictive and extreme like the keto diet tends to be challenging for anyone who tries, especially those dealing with eating problems.
The keto diet is going to deliver fast and short-term weight loss and other benefits like healthy blood sugar levels.
The challenges that come with ketosis and potential health risk underscore the importance of making sure you choose healthy fats (coconut oil, olive oil, seeds, and nuts), quality meats, and eating high-fiber vegetables that are low carb. Choosing the right keto foods is going to help you manage the issues.
There are those who have thrived following this diet. Keto appears to be too restrictive in the long term for most. Health experts are having concerns about the effects of the diet because it removed important staple foods (legumes, grains, fruits, and starchy vegetables).
Before you begin any diet, you need to start by consulting a healthcare professional. This is the same case when you want to try the keto diet.