What is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic or “keto” diet is a
low-carbohydrate, fat-rich eating program that’s been used for centuries to
treat certain health conditions. In the 19th century, the ketogenic diet has
been commonly utilized to help control diabetes. In 1920 it was introduced as
an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was
ineffective. The ketogenic diet has also been tested and used in carefully tracked
settings for diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer care, weight loss, and
But this diet is gaining significant attention as a possible
weight-loss strategy as a result of not just a low-carb diet fad, but increasing research. There are other low-carb
diets such as the Atkins, Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are high in
protein but moderate in fat. By comparison, the ketogenic diet is distinctive
because of its exceptionally high-fat content, typically 75%. The remainder is
broken down to about 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs.
In normal conditions, the body uses glucose as its preferred
form of energy. Glucose can be used to fuel the body or be stored in the liver
and muscles as glycogen. If there is insufficient sugar available to meet
energy requirements, like when doing a ketogenic diet, the body will turn to
stored fats and break down those instead.
Scientific studies reveal that a ketogenic diet generates not only
weight loss and improved vitality, but also other important health benefits
such as reductions in markers of diabetes, chronic pain, and much more.
The Keto diet has taken off in popularity, and there is some
scientific evidence to demonstrate it can be good for preventing and treating a
variety of diseases. But have you ever wondered what ketones are and the way
the ketogenic diet can help with weight loss and general health?
As everyone is different, consult with your physician or
dietitian for tailored recommendations which specifically cater to your health
What are ketones?
The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if
you deprive the body of sugar – the principal source of energy for all cells in
the body, which can be obtained by eating carbohydrate foods- an alternative
fuel called ketones is generated from stored fat. During fasting, or when very
little carbohydrate is consumed, the body pulls stored sugar from the liver and
temporarily breaks down muscle to release sugar. If it lasts for 3-4 days and saved
sugar is totally depleted, blood levels of a hormone known as insulin reduce,
and the body starts to utilize fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces
ketone bodies from fat, which may be utilized in the absence of sugar.
When your body is forced to burn the fat for energy vs. glucose, the liver converts fat into fatty acids. Ketosis simply describes the
metabolic condition where the body converts fat stores into energy, releasing
ketones. Ketones are a byproduct of the process and are acids that build up in
the bloodstream, and are ultimately eliminated in urine.
Advantages of the ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet was studied previously and now for use in
many different neurological disorders, such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease,
Alzheimer’s disease, migraines, narcolepsy, and melancholy, and has shown
Moreover, the clinical use of the ketogenic diet has been tested
in various other ailments such as diabetes, blood glucose problems, obesity,
PCOS, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, metabolic disorders, trauma, and
How to use the ketogenic diet for Type 2 diabetes, PCOS, and
More lately, ketogenic diets have been shown to be promising
for weight loss, and it has emerged as somewhat of a diet fad. The concept is that ketone bodies create more adenosine triphosphate (ATP) energy
than glucose (sugar) or fatty acids by lowering the mitochondrial nicotinamide
adenine dinucleotide few and oxidizing the coenzyme Q couple.
Put simply, the body can produce fuel more effectively in spite of a caloric loss. Ketogenic diets promote weight loss by:
1. Suppressing appetite.
You feel full longer as a result of changes in your satiety
(hunger) hormones such as leptin and ghrelin and an immediate appetite
suppressant activity of ketones.
2. Decreasing fat storage.
During Ketosis there’s a reduction in lipogenesis, a process
in which sugar from carbs and processed foods is converted to fat.
3. Increasing fat burning.
When in ketosis, our bodies increase the amount of fat-burning even during rest. Particularly excess abdominal fat, which can be
inflammatory and raises the risk of metabolic syndrome.
What is ketosis?
When ketone bodies accumulate in the bloodstream, this is
known as ketosis. Healthy individuals naturally experience moderate ketosis
during times of fasting (e.g., sleeping overnight) and very strenuous exercise.
Proponents of the ketogenic diet condition that when the diet is closely
followed, blood levels of ketones shouldn’t reach a damaging level
(called “ketoacidosis”) since the mind will use ketones for fuel, and
healthful people will normally produce enough insulin to prevent an excessive amount of ketones from forming. How soon ketosis happens and the number of ketone bodies
that collect in the blood is variable from person to person and depends upon
factors such as body fat percent and resting metabolic rate.
The first 1-2 months of a ketogenic diet may include a few
unpleasant side effects. It was nicknamed the “keto flu” and while
not everyone experiences it, it’s normally related to your body becoming
accustomed to being in ketosis. You might not feel great in this transition
period, but these are typical signs you are effectively transitioning into
ketosis. The nice part is that they are usually temporary and in a couple of weeks
you’re most likely to notice improvements in a number of health markers.
It is possible to encounter weakness and fatigue, dizziness,
weight loss, brain fog, digestive discomfort, trouble sleeping, low energy
levels, irritability, & sugar cravings.
What is ketoacidosis?
Excessive ketone bodies may create a dangerously toxic
amount of acidity in the blood, known as ketoacidosis. Throughout ketoacidosis,
the kidneys start to excrete ketone bodies together with body water in the
urine, causing a few fluid-related weight reduction. Ketoacidosis most often
occurs in people with type 1 diabetes because they don’t produce insulin, a
hormone that prevents the overproduction of ketones.
The Ketogenic Diet
There’s not one “standard” ketogenic diet with a
particular proportion of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The
ketogenic diet generally reduces overall carbohydrate intake to less than 50
grams a day–less than the amount found in a moderate plain bagel- and may well be
as low as 20 grams each day. Normally, popular ketogenic sources suggest an
average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20%
protein. To get a 2000-calorie diet, this equates to approximately 165 g fat,
40 g carbohydrate, and 75 g protein. The protein level on the ketogenic diet is
kept moderate as compared with other low-carb diets because eating too much
protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein could be converted into
sugar, thus a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to maintain lean body
mass including muscle, but that will still result in ketosis.
Many variations of ketogenic diets exist, but all prohibit
carb-rich foods. Some of these foods may be evident: starches from both refined
and whole grains such as bread, cereals, rice, pasta, and biscuits; berries,
corn, and other starchy vegetables; and fruit juices. Legumes and many fruits might not be so
apparent. Most ketogenic plans make it possible
for foods high in saturated fat, such as fatty cuts of meat, processed meats,
lard, and butter, in addition to sources of unsaturated fats, like nuts, seeds,
avocados, plant oils, and fatty fish. Based upon your source of advice,
ketogenic food lists may vary.
Scientific studies for Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet has been shown to produce beneficial
metabolic changes in the short term. Together with weight loss, wellness
parameters related to carrying extra weight have improved, such as insulin
resistance, higher blood pressure, and elevated triglycerides and cholesterol. There
is also increasing interest in using low-carbohydrate diets, including the
ketogenic diet, for type 2 diabetes.
Cleveland Clinic researchers directed the research of a
fertility treatment tailored to PCOS patients who targeted one of the principal
causes – insulin resistance. Patients with insulin resistance have elevated
levels of insulin, which suppress ovulation. The intention of the study was to
see whether the ketogenic diet would improve the results of fertility therapies
by considerably reducing insulin levels and their detrimental consequences to
the ovaries. All four patients successfully adhered to the keto diet and could
get rid of weight (between 19 and 36 pounds). All four patients had
intermittent periods before starting the diet. Within only four to eight months
of beginning the diet, they resumed regular menstruation. Two women could
conceive spontaneously without childbirth.
“Previous data in medical literature clarified how
weight loss helps manage PCOS. However, nobody identified the superior weight
reduction program to make this happen,” explains Dr. Abed Alwahab, who led
the research. “While this analysis is only the start, our initial results
are very promising, indicating the capability of the keto diet to solve the
symptoms of PCOS sooner than other procedures.”
The following is a list of study findings:
– Possible Pitfalls
Following an extremely high-fat diet could be difficult to
maintain. Possible indicators of intense carbohydrate restriction that may last
days to weeks include appetite, fatigue, low mood, irritability, constipation,
headaches, and brain “fog.”
Some unwanted side effects of a long-term ketogenic diet
have been suggested, such as the increased risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis,
and increased blood levels of uric acid (a risk factor for gout). Potential
nutrient deficiencies may arise whether a wide variety of foods that are
recommended on the ketogenic diet aren’t included. Because whole food groups
are excluded, the aid of a registered dietitian may be beneficial in making a
ketogenic diet that reduces nutrient deficiencies.
Who must try the ketogenic diet?
There are several precautions with adhering to a rigorous
ketogenic diet, and it is important to talk to your physician for specific
recommendations that specifically target your entire body.
You can try a ketogenic diet under the supervision of a
health expert and a dietitian. They can monitor certain biomarkers to
follow your progress, and track metabolic changes like fasting, and making up
for nutrients needed with other suggestions for complications of this diet.
The Keto diet isn’t necessarily right for everybody. It’s
not suggested for individuals with cardiomyopathy, hypotonia, exercise
intolerance, easy fatigability, myoglobinuria, and specific metabolic
The ketogenic diet may cause many side effects, including
constipation, dehydration, acidosis, slowed height speed, dyslipidemia, kidney
stones, and bone fractures. New research also shows that it could put people at
a higher risk for type 2 diabetes.
Choose high quality ingredients for keto diet
If you decide the keto diet is ideal for you, choosing high
quality fats from foods such as avocado, unrefined coconut or MCT oil, chia or
flax seeds and grass-fed dairy products are the healthiest way to do your diet. Keep in mind that:
· The keto diet isn’t for everybody and can be tricky to do
right by yourself.
· Working with a physician can help you do the keto diet
more efficiently and make certain that you’re in ketosis.
· Aim for high-quality sources of fats, including a lot of
Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is
still restricted. The majority of the research so far have experienced a few of
participants, were short-term (12 weeks or less), and didn’t include control
groups. A ketogenic diet has been proven to offer short-term benefits in
certain people including weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol,
blood glucose, and blood pressure. But these effects after one year in
comparison with the effects of conventional weight loss diets aren’t
Eliminating several food groups and the possibility of
unpleasant symptoms can make compliance difficult. An emphasis on foods high in
saturated fat also counters recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans and the American Heart Association and might have adverse effects on
blood LDL cholesterol. However, it’s possible to alter the diet to highlight
foods low in saturated fat such as olive oil, avocado, nuts, seeds, and fatty