The Ketogenic Diet, also known as the Keto Diet, is an eating strategy for weight loss that is not dissimilar to the Atkins Diet and other very low carb diets. The goal of this plan is to achieve a state of ketosis in the body, which is a state in which the metabolism functions differently as a result of very low carbohydrate intake. Often, it results in improved fat burning when compared to many other forms of weight loss strategy.
The History of the Ketogenic Diet
One of the Keto Diet’s founders is Dr. Russell Wilder. His contribution occurred in the 1920s, when he became the first person to test diabetes patients for insulin. He was among the heads of the Mayo Clinic at the time and eventually took the top spot in the department of medicine, metabolism, and nutrition.
The purpose of the Ketogenic Diet strategy is to improve the body’s rate of fat burning by making the right food choices. This can be further enhanced by selecting foods that encourage ketone production in the liver. Ketones are energy molecules the liver produces from fat. They provide the body and the brain with fuel.
There are three main types: acetate (acetone), acetoacetate (AcAc), and beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB). Of the three, BHB isn’t actually a true form of ketone, but it still plays a central role in brain stimulation and the formation of new neural tissue, which is a function at the heart of ketosis. The main ketone is AcAc, which is typically converted into either energy or BHB.
Drawbacks of the Keto Diet
Ketosis can help to boost the rate of fat burning and many people find it to be effective as long as they maintain it efficiently. That said, the process is not without its drawbacks. Among the most noticeably struggles can include a symptom called “keto breath,” where the breath gains a very distinct odor from the way the body is functioning. The urine often changes smell as well.
Advantages of Using the Ketogenic Diet
While on the Ketogenic Diet, the body’s main source of energy is the fat already stored on it. It is for this reason that it can sometimes lead to rapid weight loss, as the body will burn away stored fat in order to function and give you the energy you need to get through your day. That said, while this diet may be marketed mainly as a weight loss strategy, it isn’t necessarily meant exclusively for that. It can also be used by people who have mild to severe health conditions. It is also often opted for by people trying to lower their body mass index and/or achieve a healthier overall body. In fact, it was once used – and is sometimes still used – as a part of the effort to treat children suffering from epilepsy.
This has made the Keto Diet very popular over the last few years. As its effectiveness for fat burning was identified, it took off as a weight loss diet.
Among the main advantages of following this type of diet is that hunger is rarely a problem. Moreover, blood sugar levels drop and stay stead because you are consuming more proteins and fats than carbs. That said, many people struggle with certain challenges when following this diet, such as the fact that it is highly restrictive, difficult to keep up over the long term and can sometimes result in constipation due to the reduced fiber intake from cutting carbs.
Is Keto Dieting For You?
No single type of dieting is right for everyone. There are many things to take into consideration, even when you’re looking at some of the more popular or successful strategies. Your first step, as annoying as it might seem, is to talk to your doctor. Yes, it is a nuisance and is possibly an expense. However, it is one of your top ways to know if you’re choosing a weight management strategy that will be safe for your medical and health needs. It is also the best way for you to know if it will be possible to use this strategy to meet your goal expectations.
While talking to your doctor, discuss the specific version of the ketogenic diet that you intend to follow. Talk about the types of foods you will be eating. This will help you to make sure you’re keeping your nutrition where it should be. Beyond that, be sure to remind your doctor of any medical conditions you have, medications you are taking, and even any supplements you use. Remember that this should include medications and supplements you’re not only taking currently, but also any you already know you will be using throughout your weight management efforts.
The reason is that the way you eat and putting your body into ketosis can alter the way certain drugs are absorbed or the way they function. Moreover, this diet works in direct opposition to certain types of obesity medication, such as fat blockers.