11 Execs and Cons of the Keto Eating regimen, In keeping with Well being Specialists

The ketogenic diet – also known as the keto diet – has grown in importance over the past decade due to its supposedly beneficial effects on weight management.

The diet is popular with celebrities like Gwyneth Paltrow. The Hollywood actress previously faced backlash from health experts who said there was a lack of evidence to support her proposed “cures”, which included a keto and plant-based diet.

But what are the pros and cons of a ketogenic diet, and is it safe? Newsweek spoke to experts to find out.

What is a keto diet?

A ketogenic diet is defined as a diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates (sugar) that causes the body to break down fat into molecules known as ketones.

“Ketones circulate in the blood and become the main source of energy for many cells in the body,” explains the US National Institute of Health (NIH).

The nutritional breakdown of a keto diet includes the following (as per the book Ketogenic Diet by Wajeed Masood, Pavan Annamaraju, and Kalyan R. Uppaluri, published on the NIH website):

  • Fat: About 55 to 60 percent of the diet.
  • Protein: Around 30 to 35 percent.
  • Carbohydrates: Around 5 to 10 percent (Note: if you were eating 2,000 kcal per day, your carbohydrate intake would be 20 to 50 g per day).

In an interview with Newsweek, Dr. Kevin Hall, senior researcher at the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases at the NIH, notes that it is important to clarify that there are several versions of the “keto diet” and the health effects of these different types may be very different.

Some people follow a plant-based keto diet with no animal products, which consumes a lot of fiber from non-starchy vegetables but very little starch or sugar, while other keto diets have many animal products but very few non-starchy vegetables.

Some variants of the diet contain less red meat and processed meat, less saturated fat, and more fish and vegetable fats that are less saturated fat.

But what all these keto diets have in common is that “they are all sufficiently low in carbohydrates that the body increases its production of ketones, which leads to increased levels of ketones in the blood,” Hall said.

Ketones are substances that your body produces when your cells are not getting enough blood sugar (glucose). Glucose is the main source of energy for your body.

A bowl of grilled chicken and a fresh vegetable salad made from tomatoes, avocado, lettuce and spinach.
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What Happens to the Body on a Keto Diet?

With few carbohydrates available for energy, your body breaks down fat into ketones, which become the main source of fuel for the body. Ketones provide energy for the heart, kidneys, and other muscles like the brain.

A ketogenic diet is essentially considered a “partial fast,” explains the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

“During a state of total fasting or starvation, the body has no source of energy. Therefore, it breaks down lean muscle mass for fuel. In the keto diet, the ketones represent an alternative source of energy. In contrast to full fasting, the keto diet helps maintain lean muscle mass, “says the academy.

Benefits of a keto diet

1. Helps treat epilepsy, reduces seizures

Speaking to Newsweek, Roxana Ehsani, registered nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, said, “The ketogenic diet was originally designed and should be followed by people with epilepsy. It has been shown to be effective in reducing and preventing seizures. “.”

A keto diet helps reduce seizures in pediatric epilepsy patients, ASN’s Psota added.

Dr. Russel Wilder of the Mayo Clinic first coined the term “ketogenic diet” in 1921 and used the diet to treat epilepsy.

For nearly a decade, the ketogenic diet was considered the “therapeutic diet” for pediatric epilepsy and was widespread until the advent of anti-epileptic drugs, causing the diet to decline in popularity, the Ketogenic Diet book states.

2. Weight Loss

According to the Ketogenic Diet, “The resurgence of the ketogenic diet as a formula for rapid weight loss is a relatively new concept that has proven to be quite effective, at least in the short term.”

Speaking to Newsweek, Dr. Tricia Psota, a registered nutritionist and member of the American Society for Nutrition (ASN): “Most people lose weight on the keto diet, and some people report being less hungry during ketosis.”

The NIH’s Hall noted, “It is also important to consider the benefits and risks of dieting in relation to the comparator diet.”

Compared to a typical Western diet, which is high in highly processed foods, high in sugar and fat, but low in fiber, a ketogenic diet can lead to weight loss, he explained.

3. Blood sugar control

According to the ASN’s Psota, research suggests that a keto diet may have potential benefits related to blood sugar (sugar) control, such as: B. the improvement of insulin sensitivity.

The NIH’s Hall said that a keto diet can lower blood glucose and insulin levels, which can be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

When your body’s blood sugar levels rise, insulin is released, which allows the glucose to enter your body’s cells to be used as energy.

Diabetes patients either do not make enough insulin or their bodies cannot use the insulin as well as it should and too much blood sugar remains in their bloodstream.

A ketogenic diet removes carbohydrates from the body and significantly reduces insulin secretion.

“When the availability of glucose continues to decrease, the body’s own production of glucose can no longer keep pace with the body’s needs,” and a process known as ketogenesis begins, according to the book Ketogenic Diet.

Ketogenesis provides the body with an alternative source of energy in the form of ketone bodies that replace glucose as the primary source of energy.

“During ketogenesis, the stimulus for insulin secretion is low due to low blood sugar feedback, which greatly reduces the stimulus for fat and glucose storage,” explains the book.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, research into the benefits of the keto diet for health conditions such as obesity and diabetes is “extremely limited.”

A diabetic person checking blood sugar levels.
A diabetic person checking blood sugar levels.
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Cons of a keto diet

4. Flu-like symptoms

Short-term health risks from keto diets include flu-like symptoms known as the “keto flu”. These can include upset stomach, headaches, fatigue, and dizziness, while some have also reported difficulty sleeping, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

5. Nutrient deficiency

The keto diet requires either “cutting out or drastically reducing” many nutrient-dense foods such as fruits, vegetables, and grains. This can lead to micronutrient (i.e., vitamin and mineral) deficiencies over time, ASN’s Psota said.

Ehsani of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said the diet “eliminates nutrient-rich foods that are essential to your overall health and wellbeing.”

Keto diets limit your intake of grains, starchy vegetables, beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. All of these foods are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, the registered nutritionist said.

ASN’s Psota said one way to avoid those “micronutrient deficiencies” while on a keto diet would be to take a multivitamin. “However, dietary supplements don’t provide the fiber that whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans contain,” she warned.

6. Constipation

The low fiber intake can lead to constipation, Ehsani said. Those on a keto diet often need to take a fiber supplement to maintain regular bowel movements.

Bowls of fresh fruit.
Bowls of fresh fruit on a table. Keto dieters have a low intake of fiber that you can get from fruits.
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7. High cholesterol

The NIH hall said another concern was that some people might experience “significant increases in blood LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B” [a protein that forms the backbone of LDL]”Because of the high fat content of keto diets.

These concerns could be alleviated by reducing the saturated fat levels in the diet and replacing it with sources of monounsaturated fats, but more research is needed on this topic, he said.

There are also medical interventions that can help lower LDL cholesterol and apolipoprotein B in the blood, Hall said, “but the effectiveness of such drugs also needs further research.”

A doctor who will check your cholesterol level test results.
A doctor who will check your cholesterol level test results.
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8. Heart disease

The potential for high LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels increases the risk of heart disease on keto diets, said ASN’s Psota.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “a significant research group” has shown that a diet high in saturated fat can increase your risk of heart disease and other chronic health problems.

“The risk keto dieters could take on their long-term cardiovascular health has not been fully studied,” the academy said.

9. Kidney stones and other risks

Kidney stones and liver disease are other long-term health risks associated with a keto diet. The diet is also not recommended for people suffering from the following diseases, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics:

  • Pancreatic disease
  • Liver disease
  • Thyroid problems
  • Eating disorders or a history of eating disorders
  • Gallbladder disease or where the gallbladder has been removed

10. It’s too restrictive

Ehsani of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said the keto diet is inherently very restrictive and therefore unsustainable. “Most people have a very difficult time following such a strict diet that excludes large food groups,” she said.

11. It is a temporary solution

Ehsani stated, “The keto diet is a fad, which means it works until it stops working. You can experience rapid weight loss, but it is not a healthy solution to achieving weight loss.

“If you’re looking for a healthy way to lose weight, work with a Registered Dietitian (RDN) instead,” who can create a personalized plan based on your individual health and nutritional needs and goals, she added.

A spread of proteins including fish.
A spread made from various sources of protein including fish, eggs and nuts.
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