Long used to treat particular medical disorders, the ketogenic or "keto" diet is a low-carb, high-fat eating regimen. The ketogenic diet was widely utilized in the 19th century to manage diabetes. It was first offered as a successful treatment for epilepsy in children in 1920 when medication had failed to control the condition. Additionally, the ketogenic diet has been studied and utilized in settings with strict oversight for the treatment of cancer, diabetes, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and Alzheimer's disease.
But because of the low-carb diet fad, which began in the 1970s with the Atkins diet, this diet is becoming much more popular as a viable weight-loss method (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 currently available include the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets, all of which have high protein but moderate fat intake. However, with only a minimal intake of protein, the ketogenic diet stands out for its extraordinarily high fat content, which ranges from 70% to 80%.
The idea behind the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that by denying the body of glucose, which is the primary source of energy for all cells in the body and is obtained by eating carbohydrate-rich foods, the body will instead turn to stored fat to produce 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 first 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 can be utilized 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 mild ketosis when they exercise very 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. Various factors, 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. It has been demonstrated that the ketogenic diet causes positive metabolic changes quickly. Along with weight loss, health factors like insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and raised cholesterol and triglycerides that are related to being overweight have improved.
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 several theories as to why the ketogenic diet encourages weight loss:
A satiating impact with fewer food cravings as a result of the diet's high fat content, A reduction in the appetite-stimulating hormones ghrelin and insulin when 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.
A diet that is extremely heavy in fat may be difficult to keep up. Extreme carbohydrate restriction may cause symptoms such as hunger, exhaustion, low mood, irritability, constipation, migraines, and "brain fog," which may linger for days to weeks. Even while these uneasy sensations might pass, it might still be difficult to stay pleased with the meager selection of foods on hand and to appreciate otherwise 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 nutrient deficits will develop.
To guarantee adequate 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 include 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 nutrient shortages because full food categories are avoided.
This article is written and submitted to The E Today by Shrushti Mehta.
We thank her for her research and analysis and hope to see the awareness about health and nutrition being spread ahead to larger mass of our citizens.