Well, we've almost made it to the end of January. That means a lot of us have begun kicking our diets (or questioning them) in high gear. Maybe you are considering a change in the course of your diet. There are tons of different methods to go by (low carb, vegetarian, vegan, paleo, etc.), but one of the most popular this year seems to be the ketogenic diet (or keto diet for short).
What is involved in this type of diet? And how does it affect your body? Is it safe and effective? These are some common questions we hope to answer here.
What is the keto diet?
According to popular diet sites such as Perfect Keto, the main idea behind the keto diet is to alter your food and drink consumption so that it achieves three main goals:
Low carbohydrate (5-10% calories, average of 20-50 grams)
Moderate protein (20-25% calories from protein, 1.5-2 grams per kilograms of lean body mass)
High fat (70-80% calories from fat, remaining amount of calorie intake)
Counting calories isn't always included as part of this diet due to it's nature of high intake of satisfying fats.
Foods often included in the keto diet include:
Low sugar fruits such as raspberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Low carb veggies such as kale, spinach, and broccoli
Dairy products such as cheese and sour cream
Meat such as beef, chicken, pork and seafood
Fats and oils from nuts and seeds
Foods to avoid on the keto diet are generally thought to be beans, grains, starchy veggies (i.e. potatoes and carrots), sugars, and alcohol.
How does it affect your body?
The basic science behind the keto diet is to deprive your body of carbohydrates to the point where it enters ketosis.
What is ketosis? Well, your body naturally runs on carbohydrates for energy (these you typically get from sources like bread, high sugar fruits, etc.) When you drastically lower your body's carbohydrate intake, your body will turn to burning fat instead and causing your liver to release ketones--hence ketosis.
The reason the diet is high in fat is to provide ample fat for your body to burn in place of carbohydrates. The moderate protein is to maintain muscle mass.
Is it safe and effect?
There can be some unpleasant side effects of the keto diet specifically due to ketosis. These side effects (often called "keto flu") include:
Aside from these factors, studies reported by the National Institute of Health have shown that the diet may reduce hunger (due to its intake of high satisfying fats) and reduce weight, but it should generally be done in full communication with your doctor and should typically only last a short period (2-3 weeks) to a maximum of 6-12 months.
If the diet interests you, speak with your doctor about losing weight and if it may work for you.