There are countless diets out that seem to gain a lot of traction in the world of wellness, but to what extent do these fashionable diets provide benefit to our bodies and promote a healthier version of ourselves? This post explore the benefits of one such diet, the Ketogenic diet (the Keto diet).
Keto 101: What is a Keto diet?
The aim of a ketogenic diet is to induce the body into using a different type of fuel through Ketosis. In this state, your liver turns fat into small energy molecules called ketones, which your brain and other organs can use for energy. Therefore, instead of relying on carbohydrates and the glucose that comes these carbs, a Keto diet relies on Ketone bodies.
Ketone bodies are produced from stored fat by the liver so in essence the bodies uses fat as fuel. While burning fat to produce energy may seem like an ideal solution to losing weight, encouraging the liver to produce these ketone bodies is not so easy. The production of ketones requires a reduction of your body carbohydrate intake near to levels of deprivation. This can be anywhere between 20-50grams of carbohydrates per day (this is approximately 1 medium sized banana which has roughly 27grams). Typically, it takes the body a number of days to reach a state of Ketosis with excess consumption of protein also playing an influencing factor.
Such diets as the Atkins diet or the Paleo diet are included within the category of Ketogenic diets, however a true ketogenic diet is quite different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a ketogenic plan centres on fat, which supplies up to anything as high as 90% of your daily calorie intake. Therefore a true ketogenic diet is not the type of diet to try as an experiment and should be approach responsible with an appropriate amount of research and medical advice.
The Benefits of Keto: Using fat as fuel= Weight loss
Implementing a Ketogenic diet may provide a useful tool for losing excess body fat without hunger or reduction in the quantity you eat but rather restricting what you can eat. Eating a keto diet lowers insulin levels, often dramatically, which can help you access your body fat stores for energy. Many studies show significant weight loss on keto, without having to count calories. Keto diets may have other positive health effects, such as reducing blood sugar levels. As such, its benefits have been suggested to improve symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes or Metabolic syndrome.
Cons of Keto
While this diet is often wielded as a weight-loss wonder, this diet plan is actually a medically prescribed eating plan that comes with some serious risks. As such, it should be imposed responsibly and should not be your first port of call for shedding a few extra pounds.
Indeed, while many find interest in Ketogenic diets as a means to lose weight and go down a couple of size, it is important to keep in mind that once the body leaves the state of ketosis it becomes a lot easier to put on weight. As such, implementing a Keto diet is not a sustainable way of losing weight unless it remains permanent and due to the lack of medical evidence at its long term affects. Thus, following a true Ketogenic diet is not something that is recommended as may in turn compromise your health.
It is important to highlight the various types of Ketogenic diets that are out there which are all slightly different. While following a true Keto diet may not be advised to follow unless prescribed by a medical professional, experimenting with less extreme diets that induce states of Ketosis may be worth researching. It is often argued that following a true keto diet for weight lose purposes is not a sustainable solution as although your body will burn fat while in a state of ketosis due to the deprivation (or negligible amount) of carbohydrates, once the body consumes carbs again, you will pack on the pounds easier than before. However, such diets as the Atkins diet addresses this issue by breaking the diet into 4 stages to help provide a more sustainable answer to ketogenic diets. The Atkins diet, coined by Robert Atkins, aims to initially follow an almost true ketogenic diet but then it seeks to reintroduce small amounts of carbohydrates. But due to the diets advocacy of unlimited consumption of protein and saturated fats, it has been critiqued for increasing risk of heart disease.
As shown above, Ketogenic diets aren’t to be messed with BUT it can’t be denied that they certainly are interesting to learn about and they do provide a strong consideration when trying to find the right diet for you. It is no surprising why such diets have risen to popularity and why its followers hold it in such high prestige. As with any diet, it is important to find a balance of what works for you and what doesn’t, while some people may react incredibly well to one diet, another may have the adverse affect.
I hope this helps!