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Review of the Ketogenic Diet for Losing Weight

Diet and weight-loss ads confuse you? This series examines five popular diets and their evidence.

By NizolePublished 8 months ago 6 min read
Review of the Ketogenic Diet for Losing Weight
Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

It is what?

The ketogenic diet, sometimes known as the "keto" diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been utilized for millennia to treat certain medical disorders. The ketogenic diet was often used to manage diabetes in the 19th century. It was first presented in 1920 as a successful therapy for epilepsy in kids who were not responding to medicines. For the treatment of diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, Alzheimer's disease, and cancer, the ketogenic diet has also been studied and utilized in carefully controlled conditions.

However, the low-carb diet trend that began in the 1970s with the Atkins diet has made this diet a possible weight-loss technique that is receiving a lot of attention (a very low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, which was a commercial success and popularized low-carb diets to a new level). Other low-carb diets now available include the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets, all of which have high protein but moderate fat intake. However, with just a minimal amount of protein, the ketogenic diet stands out for its extraordinarily high fat content, which ranges from 70% to 80%.

What It Does

The idea behind the ketogenic diet for weight reduction is that by denying the body of glucose, which is the primary source of energy for all cells in the body and is acquired by consuming carbohydrate-rich meals, the body would instead turn to stored fat to generate an alternative fuel known as ketones. Because it cannot store glucose, the brain needs a constant supply of roughly 120 grams every day. When fasting or very little carbohydrate is consumed, the body initially releases glucose from stored glycogen in the liver and briefly breaks down muscle. If this goes on for three to four days and the body runs out of stored glucose, blood levels of the hormone insulin fall and the body switches to burning fat for fuel instead. Ketone bodies, which may be utilised in the absence of glucose, are created by the liver from fat.

Ketosis is the metabolic state in which ketone bodies build up in the blood. Healthy people naturally go into a moderate ketosis when they exercise extremely hard or when they fast for extended periods of time (such as when they sleep the night). The brain will use ketones as fuel, and healthy people typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming, according to proponents of the ketogenic diet. If the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not rise to a dangerous level (known as "ketoacidosis") because the brain will use ketones as fuel. [2] Various variables, including body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate, influence how quickly ketosis sets in and the quantity of ketone bodies that build up in the blood.

Describe ketoacidosis.

Ketoacidosis, or an excessive quantity of ketone bodies, may cause the blood to become poisonous and dangerously acidic. The kidneys start excreting ketone bodies and body water in the urine during ketoacidosis, which results in some fluid-related weight loss. Because type 1 diabetics can not generate insulin, a hormone that curbs the overproduction of ketones, ketoacidosis most often affects these people. However, in a few very rare instances, non-diabetic people have been known to develop ketoacidosis after consuming a sustained very low carbohydrate diet. [4,5]

a diet

There isn't a single, "standard," macronutrient ratio for a ketogenic diet (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The average daily consumption of total carbohydrates on the ketogenic diet is less than 50 grams, or about the same as a medium plain bagel, and may even be as low as 20 grams. Popular ketogenic publications often advise consuming 70–80% of your daily calories as fat, 5–10% as carbs, and 10–20% as protein. This is around 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 75 grams of protein for a diet of 2000 calories. In contrast to other low-carb, high-protein diets, the protein intake on the ketogenic diet is maintained reasonable since consuming too much protein might hinder ketosis. A ketogenic diet calls for consuming enough protein to sustain lean body mass, including muscle, but this will still result in ketosis since the amino acids in protein may be converted to glucose.

There are several ketogenic diets, but they all exclude meals high in carbohydrates. These foods include fruit juices, potatoes, maize, and other starchy vegetables, as well as carbohydrates from both refined and whole grains found in meals like breads, cereals, pasta, rice, and cookies. Beans, legumes, and the majority of fruits are others that may not be as evident. The majority of ketogenic diets permit sources of unsaturated fats including nuts, seeds, avocados, plant oils, and oily fish as well as foods rich in saturated fat such fatty meats, processed meats, lard, and butter. Ketogenic meal lists might differ and even clash depending on where you get your information.

The Existing Research

It has been shown that the ketogenic diet causes positive metabolic changes quickly. Along with weight reduction, health factors including insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and raised cholesterol and triglycerides that are related to being overweight have improved. [2,7] The use of low-carbohydrate diets, such as the ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes is increasingly gaining popularity. Although they have not always been supported by evidence from study, there are many ideas as to why the ketogenic diet encourages weight loss:

  • a satiating impact with less food cravings as a result of the diet's high fat content.
  • a reduction in the appetite-stimulating hormones ghrelin and insulin while consuming low carbohydrate diets.
  • The body's primary fuel source on a diet, ketone bodies, have a direct function in lowering hunger.
  • increased calorie expenditure as a result of how fat and protein are metabolically converted into glucose.
  • Lean body mass reduction is encouraged, in part because of lowered insulin levels.

Possible Mistakes

A diet that is very heavy in fat may be difficult to keep up. Extreme carbohydrate restriction may cause symptoms such as hunger, exhaustion, poor mood, irritability, constipation, migraines, and "brain fog," which may linger for days to weeks. Even while these uneasy sensations could pass, it can still be difficult to remain pleased with the little selection of meals on hand and to appreciate ordinarily delightful things like a crisp apple or a creamy sweet potato.

Long-term ketogenic diet adverse effects have been reported, including an increased risk of kidney stones, osteoporosis, and higher uric acid levels in the blood (a risk factor for gout). If a variety of the ketogenic diet's suggested foods are not consumed, it is possible that nutritional deficits may develop. To guarantee appropriate intakes of fiber, B vitamins, and minerals (iron, magnesium, and zinc), which are generally found in foods like whole grains but are prohibited from the diet, it's necessary to incorporate a daily variety of the permitted meats, fish, vegetables, fruits, nuts, and seeds. A certified dietitian's help may be helpful in developing a ketogenic diet that avoids nutritional shortages when full food categories are avoided.


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