Keto diet – Is this a boon or bane?
Ketogenic diets are known as very low carbohydrate diets, they have been around since 1920’s when they started being used as a treatment for epilepsy.
These diets became very famous four decades ago and sine then they have been reinvented under various names.
Have you ever considered going on a ketogenic diet? But before that you need to know about what ketosis really is?
What is ketosis?
Glucose metabolism from carbohydrates is the body’s chosen energy source. Ketosis is the process of your body that is specifically your central nervous system which is forced to utilize an alternative source of energy when your diet has been depleted of glucose. A state of ketosis is achieved when a diet containing less than 50 g of carbohydrate per day is followed for around 3 to 4 days.
When your carbohydrate stores have been completely depleted, the body is forced to use another form of a fuel. The central nervous system is unable to use fat as fuel, but it can use ketones that metabolites of fat.
When an individual is in a state of ketosis, ketones will be present in their blood and urine. They will be able to confirm their state of ketosis. People in ketosis often have a “sweet, fruity” odor on their breath, due to the elimination of an excess acetone.
What makes the ketone diet special?
The role that the ketosis plays in weight loss, and its protective role in diseases
There is huge evidence which supports that a ketogenic diet can facilitate the weight loss. It is suggested that this diet can contribute to weight loss via few following mechanisms, the satiety effect of ketone bodies; the reduction in fat building and the increase in fat breakdown; and the increased metabolic efficiency when consuming fats and proteins as opposed to carbohydrates.
There is, however, controversy regarding whether these are truly the cause of weight-loss or whether it is simply due to the caloric deficit which is achieved when carbohydrate intake is in a limited way, together with the satiety effect of protein.
A review of the therapeutic effects indicates that ketone diet may have a large protective effect in the case of cardiovascular disease by improving cholesterol profiles. It may also have a positive effect on diabetes and insulin resistance; acne; cancers; and also polycystic ovary syndrome. However, the benefit is due to the weight loss rather than the characteristics of the diet.
A recent review showed that the reduction of 30–40% of seizures compared to the controls, although the dropout rates were also high due to the difficulty in sustaining a ketogenic diet.
Concerns of health professionals: sustainability and safety
Sustainability is a key concern for all the health professionals, as this is the aspect of most of the people will find most challenging. A very low carbohydrate ketogenic diet is not an easy to sustain indefinitely. As mentioned earlier, to achieve a state of ketosis, carbohydrate intake needs to be limited to a consistent 50 grams per day.
This equates to a carbohydrate intake of 1 cup of whole grain carbohydrates and 1 portion of fresh fruit per day. All other foods such as milk and milk products, fruits, whole grain carbohydrates, and vegetables need to be excluded as they increase the carbohydrate intake and prevents ketosis from occurring. Although this may be achievable within a short period.
Restricting carbohydrate intake so severely can result in the individual that to eliminate major food groups in the diet. Of particular concern is the elimination of fruits and also vegetables, low-fat dairy as well as high fiber, whole grain carbohydrates. These food groups provide a variety of minerals, vitamins, antioxidants and fibre which are essential for maintaining gut health, immunity and health in general.
Of further concern is the potential damage that may be done to the kidneys due to the high levels of nitrogen excretion which occurs during protein metabolism when this high protein diet is consumed indefinitely.
A keto diet may be very beneficial for the treatment of a few mental conditions. With regard to weight loss, sustainability of the ketogenic diet was a key issue in studies and therefore this, together with safety of the diet needs to be considered before you are going to follow this style of diet.
Hence I feel ketogenic diet is a boon mainly for epilepsy and mental condition people if very closely monitored and about people who are going on keto diet for weight loss should consume adequate supplementation so that they are not deficit in vitamin and minerals and choose keto diet as a temporary mean for weight loss and not a permanent solution.Also whenever you are going on such high risk involved diet it should be under the guidance of your healthcare professional.