Keto: Is this Popular Diet Here to Stay?
Updated: Jul 10
Many people have friends and family members who have started to follow a new dieting trend called the Keto Diet. What is this mysterious diet and why did it suddenly become so popular? More importantly, is this diet here to stay and is it truly effective? I had all of these questions myself and I am here to supply you with some answers: the Keto Diet, or the Ketogenic Diet, is more complicated than the average diet and has a very interesting history.
The History of the Keto Diet
The Keto Diet was first introduced to patients who suffered from seizure symptoms. It was shown to help patients with seizures and, as a secondary bonus, some experienced weight loss as well. As the Diet started to be talked about and gained popularity it became known as a weight loss solution. People who suffer from diabetes have also been known to benefit from the Keto Diet. While some may rave about the weight loss results they are experiencing, the truth is that there is some important information to consider before giving it a go.
What Does "Ketosis" Stand for?
For an individual embarking on the Ketogenic Diet, their fuel consumption will consist of mainly fat, followed by protein, and a very small amount of carbs. Sometimes carb intake is as little as 20 to 50 grams per day. In less than a week, due to eating such a small amount of carbs and virtually no sugar, the body will go into a process called Ketosis where it starts to produce an organic compound called ketones. These ketones are responsible for generating energy in the body and are different from the energy produced when you eat carbs or sugar. Proteins and fats take a longer time to burn as energy and burning this type of fuel consistently should cause you to be less hungry throughout the day. Over time, you may start to eat less (only about 1,500 calories per day on average), which in turn helps with weight loss.
What Can You Eat on Keto?
Dieters are required to eat foods high in protein and fat, such as lean meat, dairy and eggs, oils, vegetables, and some types of seeds. Grains, potatoes, many types of fruit, food containing sugar, and many types of alcohol are the substances to avoid. A full grocery shopping list for those researching the diet can be found on Women’s Health Magazine. It is advisable to seek out medical advice before embarking on this or any other type of serious diet, since you may want to pair this diet with vitamin supplements. Folic acid is a good supplement to consider for this particular diet since you will be almost completely cutting out certain food groups.
The popular reason for starting the Keto Diet is to lose weight. Dedicated people that I know have seen positive results with their diets when they stick to a rigid regimen for every meal. It is important to note that this diet takes commitment since the average American diet consists of approximately 50% carbohydrates. Other benefits beyond weight loss include loss of food cravings and added energy.
The Side Effects
There are some side effects to note with the Keto Diet. It is important to remember that cutting out an entire food group should not be taken lightly. If not done carefully, your body may be forced to start burning otherwise healthy muscle tissue in order to sustain your level of activity. Organs can be made up of soft muscle so it is important to maintain the proper levels of nutrition so that you are not causing your body any permanent damage. At the beginning of the Diet, participants may experience side effects such as fatigue, IBS, “Keto breath”, or the “Keto flu”. The “Keto flu” can consist of lightheadedness, nausea, cramping, and headaches. Often the side effects will dissipate with time, but if healthy fats and proteins are not being consumed, then the side effects can worsen over time.
Should You Try Keto?
When deciding whether or not to try the Keto Diet, it is important to gauge your level of commitment. If you are someone who is only moderately interested in losing weight or improving your overall health, then a few healthy lifestyle changes might be more suited for you.
However, if the Keto Diet is what you are interested in, then consider consulting a health professional to learn more about the diet and potentially the supplements to pair with it. While the long term effects of the Keto Diet are yet to be seen, it does seem that the diet is not going anywhere anytime soon.