A keto diet is an eating plan that emphasizes meals high in healthy fats, protein, and low carbs. The goal is to get more fat calories than carbs. The diet depletes the body’s sugar reserves. So it starts breaking down fat for energy. This produces ketones, which the body uses as fuel. Fat burning can lead to weight loss. The Standard Ketogenic Diet and the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet are two variations.
This article discusses the benefits and hazards of the ketogenic diet.
Keto Diet Foods
Foods high in fat, low in carbohydrates, and moderate in protein are ideal for the keto diet.
- Fats, such as olive, palm, and coconut oils, as well as butter and lard, are included in this category.
- Shellfish and fish
- Leafy greens and other low-carb, non-starchy vegetables
- Chicken and pork
- Due to their high glucose content, berries should only be consumed in small amounts (1/4 cup).
- A mixture of cocoa powder and dark chocolate.
Risks of a Keto Diet
High Saturated Fat
Meat, butter, palm oil, and coconut oil are staples of most keto diets. Bad cholesterol (LDL) is raised by saturated fat. The American Heart Association advises limiting saturated fat to 5%-6% of daily calories, or 13 grams. Saturated fat is found in 4-ounce hamburger patties and 1-ounce cheddar cheese. Some studies reported a rise in all-cause mortality (death from various causes) in keto-type diet followers.
Poor Diet Quality
The keto diet lacks nutrients since it excludes or restricts full food groups such as fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and dairy. “It is low in fiber and can promote constipation,” Majumdar explains.
According to Majumdar, the keto diet may be harmful to persons with high blood pressure, heart illness, eating disorders, diabetes, or kidney disease. “This is not a diet that somebody with a health concern should do alone,” Majumdar says. “They should be monitored by a doctor or dietitian.”
Keto Diet Advantages
A ketogenic diet may help some people lose weight. The same strategy may not work for everyone. A 2019 Journal of Clinical Lipidology review examined the impact of low-carbohydrate and extremely low-carbohydrate diets like keto on body weight and other parameters. That keto-style diets are no better than other diets, like low-fat diets, for long-term weight loss.
A 2019 Journal of Clinical Lipidology review found evidence that ketogenic diets lessen hunger. Hunger hormones like ghrelin and leptin, as well as insulin, may be shifted. “The keto diet’s high-fat content may be satiating,” Majumdar explains.
Blood Sugar Control
Less carbohydrate intake reduces insulin secretion and lowers blood sugar. This response can benefit persons with diabetes or insulin resistance. “Easier to follow diets have demonstrated similar results,” Majumdar says. Moreover, limiting carbohydrate intake rather than significantly lowering it can help regulate blood sugar levels.
The keto diet may reduce triglycerides, a kind of blood fat. Triglycerides can cause heart attacks and strokes. This reduction does not last. A 2020 review in Cureus found that while the keto diet reduced lipids and blood pressure for the first six to 12 months, those effects faded beyond that.
Keto Diet Side Effects
Keto diet advocates highlight the advantages of ketosis-induced fat loss as a means to lose weight. However, switching from glucose to fat can create undesirable side effects. Symptoms of ketosis, or “the keto flu,” according to Majumdar, include:
- Brain fog
- Energy loss
- Mood sway
Following a ketogenic diet, these symptoms normally diminish. “If you get out of ketosis, you may re-experience those symptoms,” Majumdar warns.
What to Avoid
Avoiding these foods will make it easier for you to stay within the macronutrient framework of the keto diet. “Hyman” explains that:
- A variety of legumes and nuts are included.
- Foods made from grains like rice, pasta, and oats
- Dairy products with lower fat content
- Sweeteners and sugar substitutes
- Juice and soda are examples of sugary beverages.
- It’s time for a change in traditional snack items like potato chips and pretzels
- Aside from tomatoes and a few citrus fruits (lemon, lime), most fruits aren’t particularly nutritious.
- Potatoes, corn, and peas are all examples of starchy vegetables.
- These include margarine and other hydrogenated fats such as lard.
- Wine, beer, and sugar-sweetened cocktails are all examples of alcoholic beverages.