What You Need to Know About the Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic or Keto diet was designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic. Despite being highly effective in treating epilepsy, it fell out of fashion due to the surge in new anti-seizure medications in the 1940s. It is a very low-carb diet, which turns the body into a fat-burning machine. It has many potential benefits for weight loss, health and performance, but also some potential initial side effects. A keto diet is designed specifically to result in ketosis. It’s possible to measure and adapt to reach optimal ketone levels for health, weight loss, or for physical and mental performance.

On this diet you will need to completely avoid sweet, sugary, and starchy foods like bread, pasta, rice, and potatoes. The diet is supposed to be high in fat, not protein. The fewer carbs, the more effective.

Now, recently this diet has been gaining popularity. More adults are wanting to lose weight and do it quickly. So they go straight for the keto diet since it’s the “more effective” way to go. But there are certain details that one should understand before taking this route to their weight-loss journey

It is a huge commitment

As someone who has been on the diet for a small amount of time as an athlete, it is the hardest thing I have ever had to do in regards to my food intake. Deviating from this diet was not an option so instead of torturing myself by going around any types of food that would make me even remotely happy, I would just stay in the house. Although I burned fat very quickly, I was also moody, hungry, and weak. Mental clarity is supposedly one of the benefits of this diet and I am sure it is, but it takes time. For those who are starting this diet, it will not come easily nor quickly and quitting will be very tempting.

According to Francine Blinten, certified clinical nutritionist, “We fall prey to wacko diets, but the truth is there’s no quick fix…Cutting refined carbs and replacing them with fresh fruits, vegetables, and lean protein, cutting processed foods, and avoiding too many additives will keep you healthy in the long term.”

My keto diet was for a competition, but for those who need to live a healthier lifestyle, you may want to re-think this and choose a healthier lifestyle rather than an extremely strict diet.

There are some misconceptions

People are different. Two people can eat the exact same number of calories, in the exact same macronutrient ratios, and even eat the same exact foods, yet have completely different ketone levels, energy, and fat-loss results. Shocking (not really). There is no one size fits all diet.

There is a misconception that higher ketones lead to faster fat loss. Not true. Ketone production is the result of lipolysis (the breakdown of fat)—not a direct cause of fat loss. It’s possible to have elevated ketones and gain body fat. You could eat mayonnaise and nothing else to the tune of 8,000 calories a day and be in ketosis, but would you be leaning out? Probably not. Fat loss doesn’t come from being in deep ketosis; it comes from choosing the right foods in the right amounts for your unique makeup and consistently engaging in other healthy, active behaviors.

In conclusion, there are many benefits to ketosis. In one study, over half of children on a ketogenic diet had a greater than 50% reduction in seizures. 16% of the children became seizure free. Also, ketogenic diets can vastly increase your physical endurance, by giving you constant access to all the energy of your fat stores. However, leg cramps, “keto breath”, heart palpitations, and reduced physical performance are possible side effects.

 

Sources:

https://www.charliefoundation.org/explore-ketogenic-diet/explore-1/introducing-the-diet

https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto

http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/an-inconvenient-truth-about-ketone-levels.html

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