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Keto Diet For Weight Loss: Yes Or No?

You don’t have to eat less for weight loss, you just have to eat right.

Keto diet, short for the ketogenic diet, is the word that each one of us has heard recently. People are approaching keto diet for weight loss and many other conditions. I came across this word when I was learning my medical nutrition therapy lessons in my masters. We were taught about the keto diet for certain medical conditions like seizures, epilepsy, etc. Never did it occur to me at that moment that this diet will gain its publicity for weight loss as well. Nowadays, normal people without any medical condition are actually following it without gaining an in-depth knowledge of the same. So here I got a thought of sharing my knowledge on the ketogenic diet with you.

Theoretically, the ketogenic diet is used for the treatment of all types of seizures in children in whom drug therapies have failed. The diet is designed to create and maintain a state of ketosis.

Okay, so what exactly happens in keto diet?

In simple words, keto diet is a low carb, high fat and moderate proteins diet that is approximately 65-70% fats, 20-25% proteins, and 5-10 % carbs.

On a regular day, we generally follow a pattern of moderate carbs, adequate proteins, and fats. Here your body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose, which is the source of energy for your body. On the other hand, the fats that are taken are stored in the body as the energy needs are met through carbs. Our body follows a pattern where it first approaches carbs for energy, then proteins and lastly fats are used.

Now, in a keto diet, since the intake of carbs is low and proteins are moderate, the body’s energy requirements are met by using or breaking down fats. This state of the body where energy needs are dependent on fats instead of carbs is known as Ketosis.   In ketosis, your body goes into a fat burning stage, where the liver converts fats into ketone bodies for energy.  This understanding leads us to a more interesting question – why is the liver not burning fats in the normal state? Here is where insulin comes in the picture. Insulin present in your body prevents the stored fat from entering your bloodstream as a backup during starvation.  On the other hand, in a keto diet, carbs are limited resulting in low blood sugar levels, which in turn drops insulin levels, making fats available for break down.

Social media is trending with keto diet everywhere for weight loss. Most people are following the keto diet for weight loss and have found results as well. This happens, because first since you reduce your calorie intake, weight loss is bound to happen. Also, the fat burning process that is happening in your body aids in weight loss. But always remember that these results are temporary. Once you start taking your normal amount of carbs, weight spikes back with double speed. Also following a keto diet for long-term is difficult due to its restrictiveness for certain ingredients.

Why is the keto diet controversial?

Now, the ketones that are produced are actually emergency fuel used by our body during starvation.  Also, these ketones are negatively charged molecules which make our body acidic. More ketone bodies present in our blood relates to more acid content building which is not healthy. Also when ketone bodies become too high, it may cause ketoacidosis, which is a life-threatening condition. Other common complaints observed are muscle cramps, dizziness, headache, and dehydration.  Apart from this, the fat intake plays a major role. People eat any fats to meet the requirements which in long run may cause heart diseases. Researchers have shown an increase in LDL cholesterol after following the keto diet for 1 year.

Bottom line

 I personally still can’t connect keto diet with weight loss and don’t recommend it either. Everybody is different. Each one of us requires a diet that suits your body. Keto diet being an extremely strict diet in regards to consumption of ingredients and maintaining the perfect composition of nutrients is difficult to follow for life. Once you stop this and resume your routine, the spike that follows is really hard to digest along with the hard work that got wasted.

I would always recommend readers here to think twice before you say yes to the keto diet. Get an in-depth knowledge along with its hazards on your body. Anyways, if you are really looking for only weight loss then why not achieve it through a healthy approach.

I would end this by quoting “To eat is a necessity, but to eat intelligently is an art”.

 

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