The ketogenic diet is a nutrient restrictive diet that was initially developed somewhere in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. The diet can be described as a high-fat, low-carb, and adequate-protein diet. Besides being a successful treatment for epilepsy that does not respond to medication, the ketogenic diet is also considered a weight-loss type of diet. And although the ketogenic diet may help you lose weight, it is generally not considered the best approach to sustainable weight loss. Keri Glassman who is a nutritionist and registered dietitian said for Today that the ketogenic diet is an extreme diet, and like with all things extreme, it does not work in the long run. Nevertheless, if you’re considering the ketogenic diet to shed a pound or two in a short span of time, here is what you need to know before you start.
About the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet involves eating a higher fat to carbohydrate ratio. A normal diet usually involves eating more carbohydrates than fats and protein. The body uses carbohydrates as its main source of energy by converting it to glucose. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body turns to fat as an alternative source of energy in a process called ketosis. Through ketosis, the body turns fat to ketone bodies and studies have found that this mechanism seems to prevent seizures in children according to the Epilepsy Foundation.
But research shows that the ketogenic diet also leads to weight loss. There are several reasons why a ketogenic diet causes weight loss. First, the body turns to fat reserves in the absence of glucose as its source of energy. Secondly, fat is a nutrient that causes greater satiety than carbohydrates and you will end up eating less than usual. Third, the ketogenic diet also involves eating moderate amounts of protein, another nutrient known to boost weight loss.
Should I try the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is an extreme type of diet and as with all things extreme, it may not be for everyone. Even in the case where a ketogenic diet is prescribed as an epilepsy treatment, the diet is individually tailored by a nutritionist and dietician and ketone bodies in the bloodstream are constantly monitored by physicians. Besides this, you need to find alternative sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals that are important for overall health and functioning. The ketogenic diet is very low in these key nutrients and can easily lead to other health problems if not carefully designed. If you are interested in trying to lose weight with this type diet, you may want to ask your doctor to suggest the best diet plan for you to follow.
Ketogenic diet alternatives
Because the ketogenic diet is extreme for most people, alternative types of this diet were developed to make weight-loss easier. A good example is the popular Atkins diet that a study published in Metabolic Syndrome & Related Disorders found helped obese and overweight patients lose a significant amount of weight. The diet takes a less rigid approach to increasing the number of ketone bodies in your body. While the ketogenic diet involves taking 3 to 4 grams of fat per 1 gram of carbohydrate, the Akins diet involves taking 20 grams of carbohydrates a day for a week and eating certain types of food high in fat in the course of several weeks to follow. This type of diet may be more suitable for the average person trying to lose weight than the very restrictive ketogenic diet.
Ketogenic diet dangers
Research on the ketogenic diet is divided when it comes to the risks and benefits of following this diet for weight loss. A study published in Experimental & Clinical Cardiology found that when obese patients followed this diet for 24 weeks, their blood lipids improved and researchers found no side effects in following this diet. On the other hand, a study (a very interesting read) published in Nutrients found that the ketogenic diet led to dehydration, decreased exercise performance, and kidney stones in athletes following this diet. All in all, following the ketogenic diet, may have its benefits, but when considering the risks – there are much healthier and safer alternatives for successful weight loss than this type of extreme dieting.
The ketogenic diet has received a lot of attention from the media and general public due to the way this diet affects metabolism functioning by leading to weight loss. However, this is an extreme type of diet and as such is usually not recommended for long-term weight loss. The diet is known to have a therapeutic effect on people with epilepsy and experts agree that this is the only time when the diet should be recommended. Dieticians and medical experts believe that there are much better ways to lose weight than following fad diet trends like exercising, eating fewer calories, and even taking weight-loss supplements like Relacore Reviews and others.