The ketogenic diet: pros and cons

“The keto diet burns fat, while maintaining a great calorie intake, helping you maintain muscle mass and a healthy metabolic rate. It's not for nothing that more and more people are choosing the keto diet. It's not just the principles of nutrition, it's a biohacking tool ”- these words can be read today on social media from adherents of the keto diet. Is it really? Let's look at this question objectively and weigh the pros and cons

The essence of the ketogenic diet is to cut out carbohydrates as much as possible (and it's not just baked goods, pasta, sugar and its substitutes, but also honey, fruits, root vegetables, cereals and rice in all its forms). The diet allows a 5% carbohydrate quota thanks to berries, herbs and certain vegetables.

For comparison: in the standard food pyramid, regulated by the World Health Organization as the basis of a balanced diet, one serving of carbohydrates can be up to 60%.

As you know, it is not safe to practice a protein diet, but where does your energy come from? The answer is in fat. You shouldn't be afraid of them; the horrors of cholesterol, which frightened people throughout the 20th century, into the 21st century are seen as scheming by interested pharmaceutical companies. It is important to make a correction: we are talking about good fats, rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, and not juicy skewers, margarine and trans fats, which are harmful to health.


Diet principle

The body uses carbohydrates as the main fuel for the brain. With a sharp reduction in carbohydrates in the diet below 20 grams per day, the amount of glucose is significantly reduced - and there is not enough energy for normal function and fat oxidation. To nourish the brain, the body begins the process of obtaining an alternative energy - ketosis. This is a condition that develops as a result of starving cells from carbohydrate, when the body begins to break down fat for energy to form large numbers of ketone bodies. In the normal state, the concentration of ketone bodies in the blood is very low, because they are replaced by glucose and the body does not need additional energy. During ketosis, the concentration of ketone bodies increases sharply.

Ketosis can also be achieved by fasting for several days, but this is extremely harmful. The keto diet is an alternative to full fasting that can cause less damage to the body. In addition to nutrition, we continue to receive all the necessary substances and not be hungry, excluding only carbohydrates and forcing the body to start the process of breaking down fat.

The keto diet has a pretty solid science base; it has shown excellent results in children and adults with epilepsy - until the seizure syndrome disappears against the background of withdrawal of anticonvulsants. It is effective for people with certain autoimmune diseases and Alzheimer's disease, as well as for people with cancer. The point is that tumor cells "feed" on glucose, and studies show that switching to a diet low in carbohydrates, but high in fat, leads to regression of the tumor process.

Observations of patients adhering to this nutritional pattern have shown that, oddly enough, a person begins to experience a surge of energy, brain activity increases, and mood improves. The secret lies in the biochemical processes: the body switches to new sources of energy - ketones, formed during the breakdown of fat.

The first popularizers of the keto diet were biohackers who wanted to live healthy and active into old age.

Hollywood stars joined them, and then the keto diet craze swept the world. Eliminating excess fat by consuming fat can simply be done.

However, only an experienced dietitian should prescribe the keto diet. Not a diet consultant, not an Insta-food blogger, not a nutritionist or a ketoadept. There are certain contraindications to this food system, for example diabetes, chronic pancreatitis, cholecystitis, familial hyperlipidemia, etc. In addition, at the beginning of the diet, when switching to other sources of energy, a complex adaptation of the body is common.


Keto Diet Food Pyramid

The main disadvantages of the keto diet:

  • It's an unbalanced diet. When you completely eliminate carbohydrates, you lose a large number of nutrients for the body.
  • A tendency to constipation may occur. For the organs of the gastrointestinal tract, such a diet is not at all useful.
  • There may be a smell of acetone coming from the body, urine and mouth. To minimize odor, you should drink more than 2 liters of water per day to remove more acetone.
  • All carbohydrates are excluded, a process that is usually not so active is triggered artificially, the load on the liver increases. It's pretty unhealthy.

Main Benefits of Keto Diet:

  • Rapid weight loss. Excluding carbohydrates from the diet does not allow the body to use substances as usual: store fat "in reserve", and use carbohydrates as the main energy.
  • There is no constant feeling of hunger like with other diets. This means that there are no sudden jumps in blood sugar (the role of glucose is played by ketones).
  • High calorie foods fill you up and help prevent blackouts.
  • Body fat is burned and muscle mass is preserved.

For whom this type of diet is contraindicated:

  • pregnant;
  • people with diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;
  • people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus;
  • people with endocrine pathologies;
  • breastfeeding

Is It Really Possible To Lose Weight On A Keto Diet?

The keto diet promotes weight loss, energizes, and keeps a person full for longer. The secret to increased satiety and increased energy levels is that most of the calories enter the body with fat, which is very nutritious and slow to digest. As a result, people on a keto diet consume fewer calories because they don't experience hunger attacks any longer. They no longer need to eat as much or as often.

how to lose weight on a keto diet

Its main purpose is to permanently keep a person in a state of natural ketosis. It usually takes around four to eight weeks for a full adaptation from keto. After this time, the level of glycogen (glucose stored in your muscles and liver) will drop, excess water will be released from the body, muscle endurance will increase, and the person will experience a powerful surge of energy. When you start eating low carb foods on the ketogenic diet, you will need to watch your ketosis. This way you will know exactly what you are doing right and what is wrong, and if you need to make any changes to your diet. The simplest test is the ketone breath test. After a few days, you will feel a fruity, slightly sour or even metallic taste in your mouth. What is the reason? During ketosis, your body synthesizes ketone bodies: acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Acetone is excreted in the urine and the breath, which is the cause of the appearance of "ketone respiration". Usually, bad taste and bad breath subside after a few weeks.

Side effects of the diet

Reducing the proportion of carbohydrates causes a decrease in insulin levels in the blood, as a result, the kidneys receive a signal to release excess sodium. Between reducing your sodium intake and removing excess sodium deposits, your body releases more baking soda than normal, and as a result, sodium and other electrolyte levels drop. When this happens, you may experience fatigue, headache, cough, runny nose, irritability, and nausea. This condition is called ketoplash. It is important to understand that it was not caused by the flu virus. Such a cold is neither dangerous nor contagious. The name in this case reflects only the similarity of symptoms. When signs of discomfort appear, many people get scared, thinking that the keto diet has adversely affected their health, and start eating carbohydrates again. In fact, the keto cold is a sign that your body has finally eliminated sugar, carbs, and processed foods and is rebuilding itself to use fat for energy. Usually it only lasts a few days, that's the time it takes to adjust. You can alleviate the disease by including more sodium and electrolytes in your diet, by drinking more water.

In any case, before a diet you should consult your doctor and during this period monitor your condition: blood biochemistry, blood pressure, the condition of the cardiovascular system and organs of the gastrointestinal tract.

It is important to emphasize the main thing: every person is different - with a particular body structure, genetically inherited constitution, stressors, level of physical activity and acquired eating habits, which have a huge impactabout health.

So, the ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carb meal plan designed to put the body into a state called ketosis and burn stored fat. Designed for kids with epilepsy, the celebrity keto diet has exploded in popularity in recent years.

However, a year ago most of the media questioned the benefits and even the safety of this method of weight correction. The ketogenic diet is not a quick fix for weight loss. Avoiding carbohydrates leads to an unbalanced diet (you deprive yourself of essential nutrients), headaches, weakness and chills. And the keto diet can also cause a lipotoxic state and as a result cause inflammation of the liver, gallbladder and hit the stomach. In the long term, this can increase the risk of atherosclerosis and insulin stroke.

Listen and study your body. And you can, if you want to, quickly lose those extra pounds by choosing the best weight correction method for yourself.