The keto diet has recently become one of the most popular diets for weight loss. It consists of a high-fat, moderate protein, and low-carbohydrate approach. It severely limits the amount of carbohydrate foods from 50-60% to 5% of a total day’s intake. It is an understatement to say that this is a completely different way of dining.
Ketosis is the process when your body starts to use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Weight loss is the usual results because body fat and dietary fat fuels the energy used.
Foods included on a keto diet are avocado, heavy cream, butter, cream cheese, cheese, unsweetened coconut, nuts and seeds, leafy green vegetables, nonstarchy vegetables (zucchini, asparagus, cucumber, broccoli, cauliflower, and bell peppers), unbreaded meats, eggs, and unbreaded fish.
Foods that are avoided include most whole fruits, dried fruits, whole grains, cold cuts, breaded meat and fish, milk, ice cream, desserts, and alcohol. This diet and the Atkins Diet are very similar with just a few differences.
The physiologic state of ketosis has been proven to be to reduce epileptic seizures in children. It has been used therapeutically for nearly 100 years. Since it is so restrictive in nutrition and difficult to stick with, the ketogenic diet is less frequently recommended for adults with epilepsy for life-long therapy. Weight loss is one of the main side effects.
The top reason people currently adopt the keto diet is for weight loss. Initially, weight reduction results from the loss of water because of the minimal carbohydrates consumed and the body uses the carbs stored in the liver and muscles for energy, which hold onto water. Further weight loss occurs because of the high-fat intake.
By cutting carbohydrates, sugars and refined carbs are restricted, which results in a steadier supply of energy. No more sugar peaks and crashes. Fewer hunger pangs and a lower desire to eat leads to fewer calories ingested and weight control.
If a person is not hungry every 10 minutes, then mindful and willful consumption can occur. The brain decides what to eat, not the amount of sugar in the blood.
In the 2019 U.S. News & World Report Best Diets rankings, the ketogenic diet placed 38 of 41 diets profiled. Even though it may lead to short-term weight loss, it has been proven to be difficult to follow, a lack of nutrition, and potential health risks from removing major food groups and eating more saturated fat.
A ketogenic diet may help with stabilizing blood sugars. Recent research has suggested that a keto meal plan can help control bipolar disease as a mood stabilizer and delay brain aging dementia and possibly Alzheimer’s disease. Studies are ongoing to find a possible connection with a ketosis intervention and certain cancers, Parkinson’s disease, and polycystic ovary disease.
Medical professionals must warn of the risks of a keto diet. Liver, kidney, cardiac and gastrointestinal systems are challenged, and researchers just don’t know enough about the long-term safety of following a high-fat diet.
Bobbie Randall is a registered, licensed dietitian, certified diabetes educator in Wooster, Ohio. Contact her at [email protected]