The Ketogenic diet, also known as the Keto diet, has taken the healthy eating community by storm the last few years. Different varieties of low carbohydrate diets have been on the market for decades, such as the Atkins diet and the South Beach diet. However, the Keto diet is a whole new generation of low carb diets. While this diet is wildly popular among the general population, there has been increasing concern about this diet, mainly from the medical community. Let's discuss what this diet entails and why there is an increasing concern.
The Keto diet is an eating plan centered around consuming low carbohydrate and high-fat foods. Carbohydrates supply the body with sugar, which is converted into glucose to provide the cells with energy to function appropriately. When consuming limited carbohydrates, the body must rely on another source of energy to fuel the body. Ketones, which are produced by the liver, are the secondary source of energy. The liver produces ketones from the fat stored in the body. Essentially, the body is burning fat to supply the body with energy, which results in the massive weight loss that is usually associated with the Keto diet.
However, to trick the body into making ketones, you must maintain an incredibly restrictive diet. For example, it takes multiple days to achieve ketosis, which is where the body is actively utilizing fat to supply the needed energy to function appropriately. Ketosis is only achieved by restricting your carbohydrate intake to 20 to 50 grams per day. Examples of carbohydrates include grains, legumes, sweets, some fruits, dairy, and sweets. Also, protein can influence ketosis negatively, so protein should be consumed cautiously. High-Fat foods, which are encouraged, include avocados, eggs, nuts, yogurt, olive oil, and butter.
After briefly discussing the Keto diet, it is essential to turn our attention to why many members of the medical community are against this diet. First and foremost, any diet that encourages foods high in fat also promotes the risk of heart disease. The risk of heart disease is exceptionally high for those who maintain this diet for extended periods. Also, many fruits and vegetables have a high carbohydrate count, which is not allowed on the Keto diet. By restricting fruits and vegetables, there is a risk that you will not get the recommended daily allowance of certain nutrients, possibly leading to a nutrient deficiency. Lastly, fat is broken down by the liver, and by eating a high-fat diet, there is a possibility of overloading the liver, thus causing dysfunction.
In conclusion, restrictive diets, like the Keto, is challenging to maintain long-term and has many associated medical risks. Usually, once this diet has ended the weight will quickly return. It is highly important to speak with your physician before beginning any diet that suggests cutting out whole food groups. Also, those with kidney or liver disease should not start this diet without consulting with a registered dietician or physician. Speak with a physician at Shifa4U for more information about diets that are beneficial for your health