The Ketogenic Diet
The Ketogenic diet is constantly in the news. Here are some facts you should know if you are interested in keto.
The keto diet was originally used in the 19th century to stabilize diabetes, and in the early 20th century it was advanced as a treatment for childhood epilepsy. There are studies which show that keto can also help with some cancers, Alzheimer’s, GERD and many other conditions.
The Ketogenic or keto diet is characterized by reducing total carbohydrates to less than 50 grams a day or 5-10 percent of daily intake, with 60-80 percent fats, and 20-30 percent being protein. The high fat and moderate protein content is the main way its different from the more modern low-carb diets. The theory behind Keto is to reduce the body’s usage and reliance on glucose, forcing your liver to produce ketones from your fat cells, a state called ketosis. Ketones are an alternative fuel that your brain can use instead of glucose in order to function.
There is no one set keto diet, merely following the guidelines, but there are several variations that can be more rigid including the cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets.
There are several benefits to the ketogenic diet. These include increased insulin sensitivity and decreases inflammatory responses. It has been shown to reduce high HDL cholesterol, blood pressure and triglyceride levels.
When starting on a keto diet there may be side effect such as “keto flu”, reduced athletic performance, brain fog and diarrhea, which often resolve themselves after a while on the program. Other side effects can include decreased muscle mass and metabolism are not resolved with time, and there are several other factors such as the increased the risk of heart disease and kidney stones that should be taken into account before starting this plan.
If you are on blood pressure medication, have gallbladder disease or had your gallbladder removed, have pancreatic insufficiency, have a metabolic disorder causing reduced fat digestion, are pregnant or breastfeeding or a child you should not start on this diet. If you are mainly using the keto diet for weight loss you should note that many diet experts are now stating that it should not be on the diet for longer than six weeks as it is difficult to sustain and can also impact long term muscle mass which is important for maintaining weight loss.
If you are interested in starting a keto diet I recommend reading The Ketogenic Diet: A Detailed Beginner's Guide to Keto
Be sure to speak to your doctor before starting this diet