Once upon a time, low-fat cookies, chips and peanut butter were thought of as healthy choices. Not anymore. Lately, many studies have proven that low-carb, high-fat diets can be very effective for weight loss, even much more than low-fat plans. Therefore, the sales of whole-fat milk and yogurt have skyrocketed in recent years and many nutritionists have advised their clients to eat foods like avocado, fish and olive oil. Thus, the keto diet has appeared and many celebrities are trying it, including Gwyneth Paltrow and Mick Jagger.
What this diet consists of is eating a lot of fat and a bit of carbohydrates. In fact, 80% of this diet is fat, 15% is protein, and 5% are calories from carbohydrates. For a person that is on a 1,500 calorie diet, it means that they need to consume 19 grams of carbohydrates daily and that is what is less in a cup of green peas. What you need to do is deplete yourself of carbohydrates, and the body will start to break down the fat for the energy. This way your body will enter the state of ketosis.
However, the obvious question is still there. It this going to make us healthier? There was a Spanish study with 20 obese adults and they concluded that it will. The participants were put on a low-calorie keto diet and they lost the average of 40 pounds over four months. There was also another experiment where 83 obese adults were on a keto diet and they lost the average of 33 pounds and they lowered the bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and they increased the good (HDL) cholesterol.
What You Need to Know About the Keto Diet
However, not all studies on the keto diets are very promising. There was one where the participants did not lose more weight than the other people who were on a non-keto diet. However, they had fouler moods and higher levels of inflammations. Thus, making this linked to heart disease and cancer.
Hence, we are here to educate you on the keto diet, before you decide to try it. The following things are the things you should know.
1. Not a Foolproof Weight Loss Plan
There are different results from studies when it comes to this. For instance, Heather Wharton, a 35-year-old business relationship manager from Tampa, Florida, lost 140 pounds since starting the keto diet in January 2016: “I plan on being on the keto diet for the rest of my life,” says Wharton. “My husband and I consider ourselves to be food addicts, and the keto diet is what we use as a form of abstinence from trigger foods that have sugar and other carbohydrates.” What Wharton does typically is have a coffee with a protein supplement, a cup of unsweetened cashew milk, cauliflower rice with ground turkey and liquid aminos (a carb-free substitute for soy sauce), spinach, six slices of turkey bacon, six eggs, and a little salsa.
Moreover, there are people who see this diet as a short-term solution for weight loss. For instance, Tyler Drew, 34, a real estate broker from Los Angeles read about the diet and used it to lose 45 pounds six months before he returned to a normal diet. While on this diet, his cholesterol levels improved.
However, for other people, ketosis can cause many negative effects instead of positive. For example. Dorena Rode who is a 52-year-old author and speaker from Occidental, California tried this diet for a month and had heart palpitations and dizziness. Also, her cholesterol increased from 192 to 250 mg/dL after she introduced more fat into her diet. (Less than 200 mg/dL is considered desirable, while anything over 240 mg/dL is considered high.)
2. Can Cause Dehydration, Constipation and Kidney Stones
Carbs usually hold the fluids in the body, thus, when you cut back on the nutrients, extra water is excreted in the urine. This is very important for people who are on the keto diet, they need to stay hydrated. If they do, it will keep constipation away and lower the odds of you getting the ‘keto flu.’ This is a period of fatigue, headaches, and pain,n which is caused by dehydration and loss of electrolytes.
Other side effects of this diet include a risk of kidney stones, due to dehydration and acidic urine high in calcium. Also, bad breath, muscle cramps, and dizziness. Keto diet can also contain a lot of saturated fat depending on the fats you choose. This will in turn raise the levels of the LDL cholesterol and cause atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats and cholesterol in the arteries. If you decide to try the keto diet, you need to have a doctor to monitor the cholesterol levels monthly to make sure they are healthy.
3. Benefits and Long-Term Effects are Unclear
A lot of trendy diets are either supported or not by nutritionists. Nevertheless, the keto diet is still controversial. Some of them claim that ketones, are a cleaner source of energy and they can improve the mood and energy levels. As opposed to carbs when the blood is flooded with excess insulin. This can lead to a blood sugar roller-coaster that will stress the body and impact the mood and energy negatively. However, the ketosis does not require the insulin to cross the blood-brain barrier. This will keep off the unfavorable blood sugar levels.
On the other hand, other experts claim that if the ketones accumulate it can be harmful in the long run. They are actually negatively-charged molecules and this means that they are acidic. If you build them in your body, you are building up acid. Thus, the body will pull calcium from your bones to prevent the acid. Also, the diet is not very balanced. What this means is that you will need to consume many animal products. This will not protect you of cancer, diabetes and other diseases.
If you try this diet without any medical supervision, you need to test the urine with ketone strips to ensure the ketone levels are not very high. The healthy levels are from 0.5 to 3.0 mM blood ketones.
4. It is Very Restrictive
Due to the fact that the restrictions on carbohydrates are very strict, keto dieters eat meat most of the time. Also, full-fat dairy and non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens. Due to the fact that they are very high in carbs the cruciferous and root vegetables like cabbage, cauliflower and potatoes are avoided. Also, you need to avoid a lot of fruits, you can only eat one apple a day. Also, you need to avoid store-bough cheese, which is coated in potato starch.
Even though this diet is very limiting, experts claim that if you plan it carefully, you can still take all the vitamins and minerals you need. However, you need to consult with a nutritionist to help you make a plan.
5. Talk to a Doctor Before You Try It
This is very obvious, but you still need to do it. The keto diet is a very extreme diet and it can harm many people. Especially people who have a heart diseases, type 1 diabetes, or type 2 diabetes not controlled by insulin. Despite the concerns, you can still try it. A doctor can help you decide if it is the right fit. Also they can provide you with all the necessary information that you need to track the keto status.
Finally, if you do not decide to try it, you can still include healthy fats in your diet to protect your brain. Also, raise the good cholesterol, lower the risk of heart disease and help you feel satiated through the day.