The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular diets at the moment, being on the list of top 10 diets in Google's research report in 2019. There are those who love this fat-free regime and those who avidly oppose it. First, why is it so popular?
This method focuses on minimizing your consumption of carbohydrates and increasing your fat intake so that your body uses fat as energy, according to Scott Keatley, of the nutrition center Keatly Medical Nutrition Therapy, in New York,
While the needs vary from person to person, the standard dietary rules imply consuming 60 to 75% of your calories in fat, 15 to 30% in protein and 5 to 10% of carbohydrates, which is usually equivalent to eating around 50 grams of carbohydrates per day (some more strict followers choose only 20). After two to seven days of following these rules, your body goes into so-called ketosis as it does not have enough carbohydrates to produce energy. This is what happens when it starts producing ketones, the organic compounds that the body uses as a substitute for these missing hydrates. Thus, it begins to burn fat to obtain more energy.
Originally, the ketogenic diet was created to help people suffering from seizures, not to lose weight, as ketones and other chemicals produced by this diet can help to decrease their appearance. However, weight loss happens for a variety of reasons: when you consume carbohydrates, your body retains fluids in order to store them for energy, losing this weight in water when you don't consume them. In addition, since it is easy to overdo carbohydrates, if you replace them with natural fats, it is easier to feel full and avoid cravings. Ketosis also promotes fat burning, which can result in dramatic weight loss.
Therefore, just because you are not consuming your favorite food does not mean that you have to go hungry. Instead, it reinforces healthy fats through foods like olive oil and avocado, accompanied by lean meats like poultry, and plenty of vegetables. Since you're going to focus on fat and protein, while dispensing carbohydrates, you can say goodbye to any type of cereal. The same is true for vegetables with starches, such as potatoes or carrots, and vegetables such as chickpeas, lentils or beans. Kourtney Kardashian, who has been following the regime since 2017, shares some tips on her blog, how to make “rice” from broccoli or cauliflower mixed with grilled vegetables or in salads, giving the impression of eating rice seriously. The same applies to sweets, of course, but also to certain high-sugar fruits like apples, bananas or pears. Alcohol is a gray area in this diet, as many beers and cocktails are banned for their sugar levels. If you are going to follow this diet, seriously consider taking a multivitamin, as you are excluding some groups from the food chain.
It usually takes your body three to four days to go into ketosis, as it has to deplete its glucose stores. It is common to feel very tired at the beginning of the diet, until your body adapts, since your access to carbohydrates (fast source of energy) decreases dramatically. Other side effects can be the so-called “ketogenic flu”, whose symptoms are dizziness, nausea, body or headache, as well as tiredness. Fortunately, this does not last more than a week, which is when most people notice a weight loss.
There are several reasons why the ketogenic diet usually equates to guaranteed weight loss, as most of its followers reduce their daily consumption to 1500 calories per day. This is because healthy fats and lean proteins give you the feeling of being full faster and for longer, coupled with the fact that it takes more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbohydrates, leading to weight loss. However, this is not a miracle solution for burning fat, since the fat consumed also has calories, so physical exercise and portion control at a reasonable level are also important.
Some of the followers of this diet believe that it has multiple health benefits, from curing acne to improving the risk of cardiovascular disease, although many of these claims have not been proven. However, it can be useful to treat or relieve symptoms of epilepsy. A study by the Institute Johns Hopkins Medicine followed epileptic patients who followed the detogenic diet and saw a 50% decrease in seizures in 36% of patients after three months, while 16% completely got rid of seizures. There are also those who guarantee that the diet helped her deal with type 2 diabetes, as is the case with actress Halle Berry, who has been dealing with the disease since she was 19 years old. Berry prefers to see the diet as a lifestyle change, giving him credit for delaying aging and helping her to control her appetite, lose her belly after giving birth and boost her energy.
However, experts are not convinced that it is a good long-term solution since, if you follow the diet incorrectly and, for example, consume saturated fats instead of natural fats, you risk causing problems like cholesterol. Celebrity trainer Jilian Michaels considers this a “bad plan” and recommends following a complete diet, as long as you stay away from processed sugar.
Remember, according to scientific data obtained to date, this diet does not necessarily promote the health of your bones, brain or heart, being better to keep it temporarily, if eventually following.