In your search for ways to lose weight or to reduce your carb intake, you might have come across something called the keto diet. If you ever wondered what it is or how to switch to keto, then read this.

 

Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet. The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and less from carbohydrates.

In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis). Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.

Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. And carbohydrates normally account for at least 80% of the typical Ghanaian diet.

 

You may be wondering if this is healthy at all, well, there is solid evidence showing that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer. However, there are no human studies to support recommending ketosis to treat these conditions.

Weight loss is the primary reason people use the ketogenic diet. Research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when people go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.

 

A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for persons with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. There is even a controversy considering the effect it has on cholesterol levels. A few studies show some people have increased cholesterol levels in the beginning, only to see cholesterol fall a few months later. However, there is no long-term research analyzing its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol.

 

Maybe you're so desperate that you still want to lose weight so fast and you want to try this way of losing weight but this weight-loss wonder and eating plan is a medical diet that comes with numerous serious health risks some of which are;

 

Nutrient deficiency; If you're not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, you may be at risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, including selenium, magnesium, phosphorus, and vitamins B and C, Liver problems; With so much fat to metabolize, the diet could make any existing liver conditions worse.

Kidney problems; The kidneys help metabolize protein, and McManus says the keto diet may overload them. (The current recommended intake for protein averages 46 grams per day for women, and 56 grams for men), Constipation. The keto diet is low in fibrous foods like grains and legumes.

Fuzzy thinking and mood swings; The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability.

 there are also some basic ailments you may experience when on a keto diet, like, the "keto flu"; There can sometimes be vomit, gastrointestinal distress, a lot of fatigue, and lethargy. About 25% of people who try a keto diet experience these symptoms, with fatigue being the most common. That happens because your body runs out of sugar to burn for energy, and it has to start using fat. That transition alone is enough to make your body feel tired for a few days.

Diarrhoea; you find yourself running to the bathroom more often while on a ketogenic diet. This may be due to the gallbladder—the organ that produces bile to help break down fat in the diet—feeling “overwhelmed,” Diarrhea can also be due to a lack of fibre in the keto diet, which can happen when someone cuts way back on carbs (like whole-grain bread and pasta) and doesn’t supplement with other fibre-rich foods, like vegetables. It can also be caused by an intolerance to dairy or artificial sweeteners—things you might be eating more of since switching to a high-fat, low-carb lifestyle.

Weight regain; Because the keto diet is so restrictive, health experts say it’s not an appropriate plan to follow long-term. But the problem with that is that most people will regain a lot of the weight they lost as soon as they go back on carbs. These types of back-and-forth weight fluctuations can contribute to disordered eating, or can worsen an already unhealthy relationship with food. 

Less muscle mass decreased metabolism; Another consequence of keto-related weight changes can be a loss of muscle mass, especially if you’re eating much more fats than protein. You’ll lose weight, but it might be a lot of muscle, and because muscle burns more calories than fat, that will affect your metabolism.

When a person goes off the ketogenic diet and regains much of their original weight, it’s often not in the same proportions, instead of regaining lean muscle, you’re likely to regain fat. Now you’re back to your starting weight, but you no longer have the muscle mass to burn the calories that you did before, that can have lasting effects on your resting metabolic rate, and your weight long-term.

 

The popular low-carb diets modify a true keto diet. But they come with the same risks if you overdo it on fats and proteins and lay off the carbs. So why do people follow the diets? They say it’s everywhere, and they hear anecdotally that they work, Theories about short-term low-carb diet success include lower appetite because fat burns slower than carbs. But again, we don't know about the long term. Also, eating a restrictive diet, no matter what the plan, is difficult to sustain. Once you resume a normal diet, the weight will likely return.

Those risks add up so make sure that you talk to a doctor and a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet.

 

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