THE KETO DIET – PROS AND CONS

One of the trendiest diets of 2018 is the keto diet, known for drastic and quick weight loss, and has some pretty famous followers, including Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian.

The goal of a keto diet plan is to force your body to stop burning its favorite fuel – glucose from the carbs and start burning not only dietary fats but also the unwanted body fat stores around your waist. This is accomplished by cutting your carbohydrate intake to 5% of calories; 20% would come from protein and 75% (!) from fat and bringing your body in the state of ketosis.

There is strong supportive evidence that keto diets are an effective weight-loss therapy, superior even to the low-fat diet with the same total calorie intake, resulting in 2.2 times more weight loss over 6 months.

Moreover, keto diets can be extremely effective for lowering insulin levels, especially for people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. It’s been reported that after only 2 weeks on a keto diet, insulin sensitivity improved by 75%. However, because insulin levels are lowered during a keto diet, your body starts shedding excess water through urination. For this reason, make sure to stay well-hydrated and add salt and high-magnesium foods to your day, as sodium, potassium, and magnesium are the key elements that have an impact on your acid-base balance, blood pressure and fluid levels. Otherwise, you may experience fatigue, lightheadedness, headaches, and constipation.

Ketones, the byproduct of breaking down triglycerides from fat stores to glucose, are found to have some surprising benefits for Alzheimer’s and pediatric patients with seizure disorders, but on the other hand, can in high levels poison your body. Therefore, it is highly recommended to monitor ketone levels in either urine or blood especially if you have any underlying kidney or liver issues. Anything over 0.5–1.0 mmol/l demonstrates sufficient nutritional ketosis, whereas levels exceeding 20 mmol/l raise a serious red flag for uncontrolled ketoacidosis.

Something else to consider before you start a ketogenic diet is your activity level and type. While keto diet can boost performance of endurance athletes, athletes involved in high-intensity, short-duration sports (basketball, sprint-like activities) might see drops in performance while on a keto diet, suggests new research.

Also be prepared for some health issues such as flu-like symptoms, fatigue, dizziness, irritability, nausea and muscle soreness.

To conclude, even if you are a true lover of meat, butter, eggs, olive oil, avocados, and coconut and searching for a quick weight loss solution, you might want to weigh the pros & cons and how your body might react to this new eating plan (especially in the long-term run), before you give it a try. In our opinion, any diet that completely discards one macronutrient is rarely sustainable. So, can you really see yourself going keto for life?

For long-term weight control, a Mediterranean style diet focused on fruit, vegetables, whole grains, beans, fish, and olive oil, is one that can be healthy for life!

 

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