The ketogenic (keto) diet has been around since the 1920s when it was first used as a therapeutic diet to manage certain neurological issues. The use of certain drugs twenty years later brought about a steep decline in the use of the keto diet. In the 1960s, however, it began its resurgence and has since continued to grow in popularity. The keto diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people, including weight loss and maintaining healthy total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure levels all already within normal limits. After one year, these effects have not been significantly different when compared with the results of conventional weight loss diets plans.
The keto diet has been a big part of the recent low carb trend that includes Atkins, Paleo, and a host of other less well-known plans that are all very similar. The main difference between keto and a plan like Atkins is that Atkins focuses on protein, while keto focuses on fats. In keto, the body is deprived of glucose, the main source of energy, by restricting carbohydrate intake and forcing the body to use ketones (which are made from stored fat) as an alternative fuel.
This drastic reduction in carbohydrates shifts the body into “ketosis,” a state in which the glucose (the body’s primary energy source) is depleted causing the insulin level to decrease, forcing the liver to break down stored fats into ketone bodies. These ketone bodies become the body’s new source of energy. A state of ketosis can easily be reached during strenuous exercise and long periods of fasting (overnight, etc). But it can also turn into ketoacidosis, a metabolic state of excessive ketone bodies that can be dangerous in some people.
This process of depriving the body of carbohydrates as a fuel source results in fat burning, which is how you lose weight on a keto diet. The fat-heavy diet offers the satiety which a calorie counting diet cannot promise. It also offers a diet of eggs, butter, cheese, heavy cream, nuts, avocados, oils seeds, low carb vegetables, meat, and fish. But you have to say goodbye to grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sweets, milk, cereals, and most fruit. In the long run it can be a challenging tradeoff, but initially, if you follow the diet exactly as written , you may be likely to experience a fair amount of weight loss. In the long run, however, the keto diet, and most low carb plans, can be difficult to sustain as an ongoing lifestyle.
A couple of years back there was a claim online that a judge from a popular entrepreneurial television show endorsed a keto diet pill. It was quickly refuted by producers of the popular television show and its judges. But it hasn’t stopped the diet pill industry from trying to jump on this trendy bandwagon. The truth is there is no evidence that a keto diet pill works, despite what the online universe may claim. In this world of quick fixes, weight loss is still best achieved through healthy diet, exercise, and lifestyle modifications. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is. There is no magic pill that actually works for the keto diet, or any other diet for that matter.
One of the most important things to remember about diet pills is that whatever the risks may be, they are likely going to range from unpleasant to unsafe experiences. Remember, there is no real scientific evidence that diet pills work in a way that is healthy and safe. The only proven way to lose weight is with a healthy diet (which may require a caloric deficit), exercise, lifestyle and behavior modifications, and, of course, patience. Many diet pills contain illegal banned substances, laxatives, or other potentially highly addictive substances which alter your metabolic processes, suppress your appetite, and do nothing about the core issues surrounding the desire to lose weight. If you are considering diet pills, consult your physician or healthcare provider. There is no quick path to healthy, permanent weight loss. Any pills that promise this are likely to come with risks that probably aren’t worth taking.
Aside from a weight loss plan that encourages you to eat, lobster (poached in butter if you’d like), shrimp, steak and eggs, filet mignon, fatty fish, nuts, seeds, blue cheese, Brie, Camembert, Gruyere, and any other other cheese you’d like (even cottage), heavy cream, avocados, and select vegetables and still lose weight, there are a few other benefits to a keto diet.
Some of these short-term keto diet benefits include the maintenance of a healthy blood sugar level as a result of not eating foods with high sugar content, improved management of oxidative stress, and overall positive results just from eliminating processed foods. People tend to feel less hungry on keto than on other restricted diet programs because fatty foods take longer to digest. And despite the minimal restrictions on quantity of permitted foods, there is an inherent caloric reduction that comes with eliminating entire food groups.
Some endurance athletes use the keto diet when they need to drop weight in a short timeframe, though this is not recommended, as it could lead to yo-yo dieting, which is an unhealthy practice.
When beginning any diet program, it is important to seek professional guidance as you navigate the plethora of options currently available. Your physician or allied healthcare provider can help you decide if the keto diet is the right path for you based on your health history, goals, and lifestyle. It is important that you are able to routinely monitor the ketone levels in your body while on the diet. This requires regular urine tests with ketone strips or blood tests done with a blood ketone monitor. While these tests can easily be done at home, it’s still a big committment to regularly monitor your ketone levels.
An increase in the “bad” LDL cholesterol, which is associated with heart disease, has been reported by some people following the typical keto diet. Since the diet can be high in saturated fat, it is important for keto dieters to choose heart healthy sources of fats like avocados, olives, and their respective oils in order to maintain cardiovascular health.
Keto dieters are also at risk for nutrient deficiency as a direct result of not eating a variety of fruit, vegetables, and grains. Monitoring the levels of potassium, sodium, magnesium, and vitamins B and C is essential to ensure your body’s needs are being met.
A fairly common phenomenon known as the “keto flu” occurs at the beginning of many dieter’s foray into the world of low carb eating. Some of the symptoms include irritability, fatigue, constipation, mood swings, dehydration, diarrhea, bad breath, and body odor. If these symptoms persist, consult your physician or healthcare provider.
There is no one diet or eating plan that is right for every person. The keto diet eliminates many foods containing fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for health and well-being. Before you begin, you should consult your physician or a registered nutritionist to ensure that all of your needs will be met throughout the time you are following this program.
Keto is a very restrictive plan of eating that might be problematic for those who have an active eating disorder or a history of an eating disorder. Aside from the lack of fruit, vegetables, and grains, the rigidity of keto might be very triggering and, therefore, too risky.
The limited amount of protein recommended (15%) for those on the keto plan is lower than the suggested protein recommendation (20-25%) for pregnant and breastfeeding individuals, and therefore is not recommended for either group.
Finally, if individuals on blood sugar lowering medication are considering attempting the keto diet, they should only do so if they are being medically supervised. It is critical that their medication be adjusted accordingly throughout the process of ketosis.
If you’re looking for a keto-friendly supplement that may assist with weight loss, you could get lost scrolling through the pages and pages of “keto-friendly” supplements that purport to assist you with your weight loss. Essentially, it’s buyer beware, yet again. There is no magic pill to take the place of the journey required to lose weight healthily. If you choose the keto plan for your weight loss program, there are some nutritional gaps that you might want to fill in, (with the help of your nutritionist or physician, of course). Vitamins B and C are among those that may be lacking, and being water soluble, any B or C your body does not use will be expelled through urine. When supplementing, be sure to use a premium product like Care/of’s B-Complex: The Busy B’s and Vitamin C: The Citrus Savior. Digestive enzymes might be considered as part of your keto regimen as they can be helpful in breaking down the increased intake of fat.
MCT oil is a supplement made from a type of fat called medium-chain triglycerides. Its molecules are smaller than those in most of the long-chain triglycerides (LCT), which are the majority of the fats people eat, making them easier to digest. MCT is absorbed quickly into the bloodstream where it turns into energy you can use. It is often used as a quick healthy source of fat for those on a keto diet, and it can easily be added to meals or smoothies. See Careof’s: article to learn more about the benefits of MCT oil.
Magnesium rich foods are often high in carbohydrates and, therefore, not allowed on the keto diet. Supplementing with magnesium can help meet your daily needs of 200mg - 400mg. You can also increase your intake of keto-friendly foods such as spinach, pumpkin seeds, and avocados to increase the amount of magnesium in your diet. Magnesium supplementation may also help with muscle cramps and occasional difficulty sleeping, both fairly common issues in the early phases of keto.
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has 1 gram of net carbs per tablespoon. Many people on the keto plan use it as a condiment, while others feel that if you are limiting your net carb intake to 30g per day, you might not want to use it on ACV. The choice is yours.
Omega-3s are essential for health, yet not manufactured by the body. Proper supplementation can support a keto lifestyle, but the correct omega 3:6 ratio must be maintained. You can also increase your intake of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines to boost your intake of omegas. Consult your healthcare provider, or a registered nutritionist, to ensure your nutrient needs are being met.
Lazy keto could also be called keto-light, as it follows the same protocol as keto except that it allows 50 g of carbs each day instead of the more restrictive 30 g permitted on keto.
It’s important to remember that no other diet has the long-term evidence of success that a nutrient-rich diet of fruits, vegetables, proteins, and whole grains has. Toss in proper hydration, sleep, and exercise and you may have found the magic combination.
That being said, not every diet suits everybody. The ketogenic diet has been solidly researched for a number of health applications since the 1920s and has been growing in popularity in recent years. Additional science and the potential for the ketogenic diet in various applications is emerging.
This study contends that the keto diet might have a multitude of therapeutic effects in addition to weight loss, while this abstract claims there’s a critical need for new nutritional strategies to overcome the metabolic health epidemic, calling carbohydrate restriction a “promising approach.”
If you decide on the keto diet, consult your physician and a registered nutritionist, especially if you have medical issues.