A Preface to Ketogenic Diet, It’s Pros & Cons

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Foods for ketogenic diet
Foods for ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular weight losing diets in the world. It is a very low carb, high fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat.

While the ketogenic diet may be recommended for some people with uncontrolled epilepsy, the high fat content and the high level of unhealthy saturated fat combined with limits on nutrient-rich fruits, veggies and grains is a concern for long-term heart health.

Here we are going to talk about some of the truths regarding the ketogenic diet. So, let’s get started…

Constitutes of keto diet

A healthy ketogenic diet should consist of about 75% fat, 10-30% protein and no more than 5% or 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day. It is actually an eating plan that focuses on foods that provide a lot of healthful fats, adequate amounts of protein, and very few carbohydrates.

The goal is to lower carbohydrate intake so that the body breaks down the fat for energy. When this occurs, fat is broken down in the liver and produce ketones, which are the by-products of metabolism. These ketones are then used to fuel the body in the absence of glucose.

How to follow keto diet

Among the different forms of keto, to attain a state of ketosis, you have to genuinely reduce the amount of carbs you consume. The more modernized version of keto diet allows independent intake of about 20-30 percent of the total calories consumed with the carbohydrate limit remaining constant, and is the most commonly followed diet these days.

You can take the help of a ketogenic calculator to create a custom food plan for yourself. But it would be better to consult your doctor or a nutritionist once if it’s right for you before you get started with one.

For the 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day, have non-starchy veggies like broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, mushrooms, asparagus and green beans. Foods to avoid or limit include starchy foods like bread, baked goods, sweets, pasta, rice, cereals, sweet potatoes, corn, peas etc.

Types of keto diet

  • Standard Ketogenic Dieting (SKD) – Consists of a very low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet. Typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbs.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD) – The targeted keto diet calls for a macronutrient ratio of 65% to 70% of your daily calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 10% to 15% from carbs. This diet allows you to add carbs around intense workouts.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) – A cyclical ketogenic diet involves adhering to a standard keto diet 5–6 days per week, followed by 1–2 days of higher carb intake.
  • High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD) – The ratio is 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs. It’s similar to the SKD, but you can eat more protein. A High-Protein Keto Diet May Be Best for Bodybuilders.

How a ketogenic diet works

Insufficient carbohydrates or protein means you don’t have much glucose for fuel. On a keto diet, you are significantly low on carbohydrates, your body’s main source of energy and protein, but you consume a diet high in fat. As a result, the body turns burning your stores of body fat to fuel your energy.

Unlike with calorie restriction, when the body burns body fat for fuel, it produces ketones, a substance made in your liver. This metabolic state of the body is known as ketosis. Ironically, a ketogenic diet is a very effective way to lose belly fat.

In general, if adhered to a caloric deficit of 500 calories per day approximately, our body will reach ketosis in about 4 days and we can see a noticeable loss of weight in sometime between one to three weeks. 

Pros of ketogenic diet

  • Lower insulin levels – When a person eats food with low carbohydrate count, it can lead to a temporary physiological insulin resistance, in which the body overreacts when carbs are introduced. Keto diets don’t allow the body to properly use insulin, so blood sugar isn’t properly controlled. Low insulin means that your body can more easily access fat stores for fuel.
  • Maintains hormonal balance – Keto diets help balance other hormones besides insulin. It helps increase the production of oestrogen within the body because of the high fat diet. Besides oestrogen, the keto diet also increases the leptin hormone quantity and lowers insulin levels to produce a unique metabolic and neurohormonal state.
  • Reduces inflammation levels – Overall, the ketogenic low-carbohydrate diet has many anti-inflammation effects. The body being in ketosis cause three specific ketone bodies to be released. Of the three ketones, the most important is beta hydroxybutyrate. Sugar, in all its many disguises, is an inflammatory food. Research shows that beta-hydroxybutyrate blocks immune system receptors linked to inflammation and therefore, one’s chances of being affected by chronic inflammation is also lower.
  • Increases energy levels and focus – Ketones are a potent source of energy. Eliminating carbs can help control and stabilize blood sugar levels. This may further improve the focus, cognitive abilities and brain functioning. Many long-term ketogenic dieters report enhanced brain function and more stable energy levels, likely due to the rise in ketones.

Cons of ketogenic diet

  • Low blood sugar level can bring in diabetes – Because carbohydrates are broken down into glucose in the blood, cutting carbohydrates from your diet could cause the body to improperly use insulin, and so blood sugar isn’t properly controlled. A change like that leads to insulin resistance, which can raise the risk for type 2 diabetes.
  • Can make you prone to keto flu – The intention of keto diet is to put your body in a state of ketosis, where your body burns stored fat instead of stored glucose. Temporary though, most people report that symptoms of the keto flu often start within 24-48 hours of following a strict keto diet and cause headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhoea. For an average person, the keto flu can last a week or less but in extreme cases the keto flu can last up to a month. Once the transition of the body’s primary source of energy is complete, you will start feeling better. However, depending on your genetics, you may never experience the keto flu.
  • Mood fluctuation – During the first days of starting a keto diet, you are bound to go through carbohydrate deficiency. This can lead to a number of symptoms, including irritability, insomnia, fatigue, headache, and mood swings. The science behind is that the Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which is a neurotransmitter, plays a key role in managing stress, anxiety, and mood. Low GABA levels are linked to clinical depression. Studies have found that following a ketogenic diet may increase circulating levels of GABA, potentially increasing depressive symptoms.
  • Affects the kidney – According to the most comprehensive review yet of these diets, higher-protein ketogenic diets may lead to a kidney failure and cause other medical problems in patients with kidney disease. Kidney stones are a well-noted potential side effect of the ketogenic diet.

Also read:

Importance of Fruits and Vegetables in Regular Diet for a Healthy Body

9 Best Nutritious Ways to Lose Body Weight

Perquisites and Pitfalls of Having Fast Food

Healthy and Tasty Foods to Enjoy with Your Meal

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