What is the Keto or Ketogenic Diet and What are the pros and cons?
Back in the 1980’s, sugar companies paid to have research done to come to the conclusion that “fat” was bad for us. Not some fats, but all fats. Enter the craze of reduced fat everything. Let's reduce the fat from foods, but add sugar and an obesity epidemic ensued. We are still feeling the effects from this fear of fat hangover. Atkins tried to conquer that fear in the early 90’s and faded and now Keto is here and people have jumped all over this “diet”. Originally used as a therapeutic diet for diabetics and decreasing episodes of seizures among other pathologies, the Keto diet has blown up.
What is Keto?
The Ketogenic or Keto Diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet. Basically, you are trying to trade one for the other. To lower your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat intake. The idea is to put your body in a metabolic state of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by raised levels of ketone bodies in the body tissues, which is typically pathological in conditions such as diabetes, or may be the consequences of a diet that is very low in carbohydrates. (Quick Google dictionary search)
In other words, this diet is primary using fat as the fuel source in your diet to force your body to become more efficient at burning fat for energy. This diet can cause a significant drop in blood sugar and insulin levels. It will also raise the levels of ketones in your body. A ketogenic diet will aid you in fat loss more effectively than a low-fat diet will.
Aids in Fat Loss = Your body learns to become better at using fat as a fuel source and in turn starts using your own bodies fat source for energy for efficiently.
Makes you feel full = The higher fat content in your diet will reduce carb cravings significantly making you feel full.
Heart disease risk lowered = The low carb diet leads to lowering cholesterol and blood pressure aiding in a healthier heart.
Lower insulin levels and resistance = The keto diet can reduce blood sugar levels and insulin fluctuations due to lowered carb intake.
Increased brain power = The keto diet has been used to treat childhood epilepsy and is currently being used for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s research for the potential benefits.
Mood, Focus, Sleep, and Energy = All have seen positive effects. Better moods, being more alert and having longer attention spans, better quality sleep, and having higher energy levels. All of which is from lower carb intake and higher fat intake.
Hormonal Balance = The keto diet has the effect of reducing Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) symptoms and increasing fertility. It also drives down your T3 levels to give your thyroid a healthier and longer life.
The transition = Your body needs to transition or adapt to this new diet which can take up to a couple of weeks. It can cause headaches, nausea, and fatigue.
Bowel movement irregularity = Transitioning to a low carb diet can cause gastrointestinal issues, from diarrhea to constipation. Once your body gets used to the new diet then you should find yourself regular again.
Bans whole food groups or restricts others = All forms of sugar are to be completely taken out of your diet, candy, sugar in your coffee, donuts, cake, etc. Carbs such as bread, rice, and pasta are also completely taken out. And most fruits are taken out as well due to natural sugar levels in the fruit. Starchy vegetables are also taken out for the same reasons as the fruits. But the icing to this cake is that once you are adjusted to the new diet, your sugar cravings should go away.
Makes social gatherings a little harder = Most alcoholic drinks are not recommended or to only have low carb, low sugar drinks. Or to know what keto-friendly alcohol is out there. Need to be more cautious of what you order due to items not mentioned on the menu or to have more self-discipline while big social events where you don’t have much choice of food selection.
This is some basic info, but make sure you continue to research before you jump into any "diet", be it this one or another.