A keto diet emphasizes foods high in saturated fats such as meats, fish, oils and nuts while restricting some fruits and vegetables that contain carbs as well as grains.
One long-term study showed that following a keto diet for two decades more than doubled the risk of heart problems such as angina chest pain, clogged arteries needing stent surgery and heart attacks. Other studies also show increased cholesterol levels when following this lifestyle.
What is ketosis?
Ketosis occurs when your body’s carbohydrates have been depleted and your liver begins converting fats to fatty acids which it then uses as fuel instead of glucose for energy, creating what are known as “ketone bodies”. When glucose isn’t available as energy source, research indicates ketone bodies could provide better energy than blood sugar alone.
Ketosis can be achieved by following a low-carbohydrate diet, like that used to treat seizures in epilepsy patients. Furthermore, such diets are commonly used as weight-loss aid and some studies even indicate improvements to heart health.
The ketogenic diet may not be suitable for everyone; pregnant and breastfeeding women, those suffering from serious illness or having high blood pressure should avoid it. Prior to undertaking any diet plan it’s also essential that they consult their physician, particularly if any medications are being taken simultaneously.
There may be minor and short-lived side effects associated with the keto diet, though they’re likely mild and short-term. People may initially experience headaches, fatigue and indigestion upon beginning it – however these should subside once your body adjusts to burning ketones as an energy source.
Another potential drawback to consider when following the keto diet is nutritional deficiencies, as some foods that are rich in nutrients – like fruits and vegetables – may not be included on the menu. It is therefore essential that we consume foods such as fish, meat, nuts, and seeds as a means to prevent deficiencies from developing.
Some doctors prescribe the ketogenic diet for those suffering from certain health conditions, including type 1 diabetes. It can help control this disease by reducing blood sugar levels and inflammation within the body – some have even reported decreased insulin needs after adhering to this lifestyle change.
The ketogenic diet has been shown to decrease cancer risks, improve mental wellbeing and decrease inflammation within the body. Unfortunately, however, its high amounts of saturated and trans fats may raise cholesterol and raise heart disease risks; some experts however, maintain that when used appropriately with whole food options low in carbs but rich in healthy fats such as avocadoes it could still be heart healthy.
How does a ketogenic diet work?
A ketogenic diet is high in fats and low in carbohydrates, helping the body access stored fat reserves as energy sources. Your blood sugar (glucose) typically serves as fuel for your brain and body – glucose comes from starches and sugars in food sources like starches and sugars which your liver converts into glycogen for energy storage – however a ketogenic diet cuts back this percentage while simultaneously increasing fat calories drastically for energy needs – creating a very low-carbohydrate and high-fat meal plan!
Keto diets produce ketones, or fatty acids which serve as another fuel source for both the brain and body. As such, they should not be recommended to people who suffer from chronic kidney disease or nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and those who have had stroke, heart attack or blood vessel diseases.
Studies suggest that ketogenic diets may temporarily enhance weight loss, insulin levels and blood glucose levels; however, these advantages generally dissipate after approximately one year; moreover, ketogenic diets have also been known to raise LDL or “bad” cholesterol in some individuals.
To follow a ketogenic diet, it’s essential that you cut back on carb-based foods such as fruits, grains, legumes, starches, sugary beverages such as sodas or juice, candy bars or desserts with high amounts of added sugar as well as any processed vegetable oils used as cooking medium. Instead, meals should include healthy fat sources like nuts or olive oil as well as protein rich sources like meat or dairy products – however these must all be limited or eliminated from the diet altogether.
Before making any significant dietary changes, it is wise to consult your physician or dietitian first. They can help guide your decisions based on your health goals and needs as well as ensure any alterations made are safe for you – particularly if you have diabetes, heart disease or kidney disease. They may recommend an eating plan tailored specifically to you that fits with any treatments currently underway.
What are the risks of a ketogenic diet?
According to a new study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session, diets which restrict carbohydrates may increase your risk for heart disease. Researchers examined health data collected over 12 years from over 200,000 individuals on keto diets as compared with more traditional low-fat meal patterns and found higher LDL (“bad”) cholesterol levels among those following them.
An average ketogenic diet typically comprises the majority of its calories from fat (roughly 75 percent). You should consume moderate amounts of protein and very few carbohydrates – only five percent overall – in your daily diet. Furthermore, healthy food such as fatty fish, eggs, avocados, nuts seeds low-carb vegetables and small portions of whole grains should also be included as part of this eating plan.
Body cells rely on carbohydrates for energy, and any reduction of carbs forces the body to seek other sources such as fat. When fat molecules are broken down for energy purposes, ketones are produced and released as waste products from metabolism.
Ketones can provide essential brain fuel, making ketogenic diets useful in treating conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. Furthermore, ketogenic diets have even proven useful against certain forms of cancer.
One of the primary risks of ketogenic dieting is that it can be challenging to sustain long-term. Studies have revealed that dieters who gain and lose the same weight repeatedly are at increased risk for worse heart health, particularly premenopausal women.
One major concern associated with diet is digestive issues. Reducing carbs while increasing fat can result in loose bowel movements, diarrhea or constipation. To mitigate this situation, drinking lots of water and eating food rich in minerals such as leafy greens, salt and avocados is crucial.
Note that ketogenic diets should not be recommended to anyone suffering from existing heart or kidney diseases, gastrointestinal disease, vascular conditions, and those taking medications including blood thinners.
What are the benefits of a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet restricts carbohydrates – our bodies’ primary source of energy – which force cells to break down fat instead. Without glucose available to them, ketones form and provide energy. By cutting out sugar and most carbohydrates altogether, keto diet can also lower blood sugar levels significantly and allow those living with type 2 diabetes better control over their condition.
The keto diet can also aid cardiovascular health by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides. However, it’s important to remember that not all fats are created equal: certain keto foods like red meat and bacon contain excessive saturated fat which increases heart disease risk; therefore it is vital that healthy sources such as avocados or olive oil be chosen when selecting sources of fats for consumption.
Keto diet’s ability to decrease chronic inflammation is another advantage that could benefit those living with conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, neurodegeneration, metabolic syndrome or depression. By decreasing inflammation levels and managing pain from these conditions more effectively, it may also help manage their symptoms more effectively.
Keto diets have long been associated with improved mood, focus and sleep for some individuals. Furthermore, studies have demonstrated its efficacy as an aid in treating neurological conditions like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s. Researchers believe ketogenic diets may improve these conditions by improving brain function while decreasing inflammation.
Additionally, ketogenic diet is known to boost energy levels and athletic performance, with many athletes reporting increased endurance and recovery when following one. It may help by increasing muscle glycogen stores and mitochondrial efficiency.
While ketogenic diets offer many advantages, it is essential to remember that they do not act as a magic bullet against heart disease. People on ketogenic diets should continue seeing their doctor regularly and work on mitigating risk factors like high blood pressure, cholesterol levels and family history of heart disease.