IS THE KETO DIET GOOD FOR WEIGHT LOSS?
Want to lose weight fast and easy? Try this magical pill!! These advertisements have been circling our nation for years. With the drastic rise in obesity turning into an epidemic, most people would love an easy fix. As such, diet advertisers are constantly promoting products or fads to induce rapid weight loss in a short amount of time. So how about one of the most recent diet fads, the keto diet? Can it help you lose weight?
WHAT IS THE KETOGENIC (KETO) DIET?
A keto diet includes eating roughly 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs and no sugar (see schematic). On this diet, you can eat your favorite meats (including BACON), cheeses, and still cook with butter and oil. Foods to avoid are most carbohydrates (like pastas and most beers) and sugars (including fruits and desserts). Even with these limitations, the strength of the diet is having countless delicious and filling foods to choose from.
WHY WOULD I GO ON THE KETO DIET?
1) Losing weight:
2) Several health benefits:
- Helping patients with drug-resistant epilepsy, especially children.
- Can decrease LDL (bad cholesterol) and increase HDL (good cholesterol)
3) Possible health benefits (though not fully conclusive)
HOW CAN A DIET ENTIRELY BASED ON FAT HELP YOU LOSE IT?
This seems like a complete contradiction; however, the keto diet works by starving your body of glucose and carbs and forcing it to break down fat for energy. A standard diet includes eating fruits and carbohydrates, which increases glucose levels. Cells in your body readily turn the glucose into energy using a process called glycolysis. While on the keto diet, glucose levels are low and the body is starved. In this state, the liver turns fat into keto bodies, which are then broken down through a process called ketosis to supply the body with energy. This inefficient process uses a lot of energy. In brief, this means your body has to burn through a lot of stored fat to supply the energy for the body, causing you to lose weight.
WHAT SHOULD I BE AWARE OF WITH THE KETO DIET?
- Stick to the diet: This can be hard but essential. One cheat day can throw off the starvation state of the body and limit ketosis.
- Know what you eat: It is very easy to be on this diet and eat unhealthily, like having bacon 5x a day. To reap the health benefits, your diet must contain healthy, unprocessed foods such as fatty fish (like salmon or trout), nuts, avocados, and eggs. All your carbs should be low carb vegetables (no potatoes). Also avoid sugar free foods since sugar alcohols can influence ketosis.
- Talk to your doctor to see if the keto diet is right for you.
- It’s going to start rough: keto can take about 72 hours to kick in. During this adjustment period you can possibly have an upset stomach or diarrhea.
- Long term effectiveness is unknown: Studies show that short term weight loss readily happens with the keto diet, however the health benefits have only been studied out to 6 months. After that the long term benefits or negative effects are unknown.
SO IS THE KETO DIET THE ANSWER?
The keto diet can be a great way to lose weight, especially when compared to low fat diets. As long as you talk to your doctor prior to beginning the diet and give great thought to what you are eating, it seems safe and effective. However, since the long term effects are not fully understood, it might not be the best diet to be on for an extended period. So the keto diet is not the key to long term weight loss, but it can be a fantastic way to start.
Peer edited by Dominika Trzilova