A keto diet refers to a diet of minimal carbs and high amounts of fat. The diet is said to work best when a state of ketosis is achieved. Think of ketosis as a state of famine in which the metabolism adapts to break down ketones in the body. Produced by fat in the liver, ketones are a type of fuel the body can use in place of sugars and carbohydrates.
Different variations of the keto diet are:
- Standard keto (70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbohydrates)
- Cyclical keto (Dieting in cycles, for example, 5 keto days followed by 2 high carb days)
- Targeted keto (Allows for adding carbohydrates in periods of intense workout)
- High protein keto (60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates)
Is Keto Good for You?
As one of the more popular fad diets in recent years, you’ve likely heard of the keto diet before. Keto is short for ketogenic, which refers to a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fats. However, as a weight loss diet program, the question remains: is keto good for you?
Generally, entering a state of ketosis requires individuals to consume approximately 75% of their calories from fat, which is between 2-3 times more than the average amount. For the average person, it takes around 72 hours for ketosis to begin.
Foods that can help individuals reach ketosis include:
In addition, there are keto-compliant foods, such as red meat and nuts. There are also “fat bombs” like coconut oil and unsweetened chocolate, which keto dieters can use to reach their daily calorie goal. Specially branded keto products abound, but for many, the diet can be unsustainable.
Potential Benefits of the Keto Diet
Studies have shown that there are some possible health benefits from following the keto diet. Randomized clinical trials for people with drug-resistant epilepsy suggest that keto shows promise for treatment, especially in children. Furthermore, in some cases, individuals with type 2 diabetes have benefited from a low-carb ketogenic diet. Additionally, the improved mitochondrial function and cellular metabolism that this diet offers has led some scientists to speculate that it may be beneficial for Alzheimer’s Disease.
Risks of Keto
The most common side effect of the ketogenic diet is the keto flu. This flu is characterized by nausea, vomiting, headaches, weakness, stomach pain, difficulty sleeping, and more symptoms. Apart from that, there are other possible risks associated with the keto diet. These range from mild cases of constipation to low blood pressure and nutrient deficiencies. Moreover, there is an increased risk of developing kidney stones, and individuals on sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors for type 2 diabetes are advised against this diet.
Should You Try the Keto Diet?
Overall, some individuals, particularly those with specific preexisting conditions may benefit from the keto diet. Nonetheless, this diet may not be suitable for everyone. It’s best to discuss your options with your physician and dietitian before switching your diet. If weight loss is your goal, there may be a more effective solution, depending on your health situation.
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