06 Jun 2019

The ketogenic diet, otherwise known as the keto diet, is becoming increasingly popular. If people are motivated to lose weight for various reasons, it may be important to investigate what the ketogenic diet is and how it can benefit people.

What is a ketogenic diet?

Ketogenic diets are low-carb, high-fat diets that incorporate lean protein, healthy sources of fat, and fiber. There are different types of keto diets, all with different guidelines and restrictions. People who follow keto regimens are instructed to avoid processed carbohydrates such as pasta, white bread, and pastries and avoid consuming other foods with high levels of carbohydrates.

During keto diets, the body undergoes the process of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body uses fat, not carbohydrates, as a source of energy. The liver converts the processed fat into ketones, an acid. Muscles and other parts of the body use ketones as fuel.
To people who want to lose weight, this process may sound like a good way to burn fat and lose weight. As in other types of diets, though, people must conduct research to learn if this regimen will work for them in a healthy way. Here are some pros and cons of ketogenic diets:

Pros of a ketogenic diet

A keto diet may help you lose body fat

Since your body is accustomed to metabolizing fat instead of carbohydrates for energy, it is more likely to use other stores of fatty tissue. In a typical state, the body uses carbohydrates as a source of energy. Carbohydrates often come from various sources such as grains, bread, or fruit. When the body lacks carbohydrates, it shifts into ketosis and begins using fat for energy.
Eating fat does not make you fat. Fat may be vital for maintaining satiety, or the feeling of fullness throughout the day. People are less likely to binge eat or mindlessly snack when following a ketogenic diet. Since ketogenic regimens are high in fat, people following them may feel full, even on a restricted diet.

A keto diet may help the brain function

Many things happen when the body undergoes ketosis. In one process, the liver converts fat into ketones, which the brain and other body parts utilize for energy. Since keto diets’ energy comes from fat and the brain is mostly fat, many people report better mental states following such eating regimens.
Some studies indicate that ketogenic diets can potentially help people with neurological disorders such as epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease. The studies observed how children with epilepsy who followed high-fat, low-carb diets reported fewer instances of seizures.
Rehabilitation facilities may recommend a ketogenic diet for clients who want to reduce mental fog during addiction recovery.

A keto diet may help prevent insulin resistance

If people constantly eat high amounts of processed carbohydrates and sugar, insulin resistance may occur. Insulin usually balances healthy blood sugar levels if people do not consume excess amounts of glucose, a substance found in carbohydrates and sugar. Poor diet choices and too much glucose could cause insulin resistance, which could lead to type 2 diabetes.
People can lower the risk of insulin resistance problems by decreasing the amount of processed carbohydrates and sugar in their diets. Since type 2 diabetes is related to many health issues (heart disease, hypertension, cancer, and stroke), ketogenic diets may be a useful tool in boosting the body’s ability to recognize insulin.

A keto diet may help fertility

Perhaps you have been looking to start or expand your family but you suffer from polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. PCOS is a major cause of infertility among childbearing women, and it often accompanies other health risks, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
Women who have PCOS and have weight-related problems may increase their chances of improving their reproductive health if they follow keto diets. One study divided women into two groups: one followed a high-carb diet and the other followed a low-carb diet. In the low-carb diet group, 58 percent of the women became pregnant, compared to 11 percent in the high-carb diet group.

The cons of a ketogenic diet

A keto diet may produce the keto flu

During ketosis, the body sheds a large amount of water weight. This may result in dehydration, which could weaken the immune system and make it difficult for the body to fight infections. Following a ketogenic could thus create symptoms similar to having influenza (the flu).
Flu-like symptoms are also related to withdrawal symptoms from carbohydrates. The symptoms could make people feel dizzy, nauseated, sore, and lethargic. People’s bodies may need time adjusting to changes in their diets and they may feel different during different transitions.

A ketogenic diet may cause kidney stones

Since the body may become dehydrated and encounter high amounts of protein and uric acid in a ketogenic diet, the regimen may also cause kidney stones. If body is not accustomed to consuming certain foods and processing foods in certain ways, uric acid and calcium can build and the urine can acidize, conditions that can lead to the formation of kidney stones.
In order to avoid kidney stones and other conditions while following a ketogenic diet, keep the body hydrated. It is also a good idea to talk to doctors about the potential risks of keto diets and other health regimens.

The ketogenic diet may cause nutritional deficiencies

It is important to remember that any restrictive diet may cause nutritional deficiencies. Ketogenic diets do not include several fruits and vegetables due to the high amounts of carbohydrates in them. Not consuming these foods may cause people to lose their beneficial nutrients and minerals, though.
To avoid this, people must be aware of what micronutrients and minerals they are not consuming. They must remember to supplement their diets with alternate sources of vitamins and minerals.

Be informed about ketogenic diets

Before deciding to adopt a ketogenic lifestyle, it is best to consider various pros and cons. If you are not at risk for kidney problems, do not have coexisting health issues that may conflict with the diets, and have researched the regimens, keto diets may be effective weight loss options for you.
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