Should I partake in the Keto Diet?
A new twist on extreme weight loss is catching on in some parts of the UK called the "keto diet."
People promoting the diet say it uses the body’s own fat burning system to help people lose significant weight in as little as 10 days. It has also been known to help moderate the symptoms of children with epilepsy. Proponents say the diet can produce quick weight loss and provide a person with more energy. However, critics say the diet is an unhealthy way to lose weight and, in some instances, it can be dangerous.
What is ketosis?
The “keto” diet is any extremely low- or no-carbohydrate diet that forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy. Ketosis is actually a mild form of ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis mostly affects people with type 1 diabetes. In fact, it is the leading cause of death of people with diabetes who are under 24 years of age. However, some experts say ketosis itself is not necessarily harmful.
Some studies, in fact, suggest that a ketogenic diet is safe for significantly overweight or obese people. Whereas other clinical reviews point out that patients on low-carbohydrate diets regain some of their lost weight within a year.
Is it helpful?
The keto diet was created by Dr. Gianfranco Cappello, an associate professor of surgery at the Sapienza University in Rome, Italy.
He claims great success among thousands of users. In his study, more than 19,000 dieters experienced significant, rapid weight loss, few side effects, and most kept the weight off after a year.
According to the reported results, patients lost an average of 10.2 kilograms, or about 22 pounds, after 2.5 cycles of the keto diet. Cappello concluded that the diet was a successful way for overweight and obese people to lose weight, and the few side effects, such as fatigue, are easily managed.
How can it be damaging?
1. The "keto flu"
Some people report that when they start ketosis, they just feel sick. There can sometimes be vomit, gastrointestinal distress, a lot of fatigue, and lethargy. This so-called keto flu usually passes after a few days.
If you find yourself running to the bathroom more often while on a ketogenic diet, a quick internet search will show you that you’re not alone. (Yes, people are tweeting about keto diarrhea.) This is due to the gallbladder, the organ that produces bile to help break down fat, may be overwhelmed.
If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you should not follow the keto diet unless you have your doctor’s permission and close supervision. Ketosis can actually be helpful for people who have hyperglycaemia issues, but you have to be very mindful of your blood sugar and check your glucose levels several times a day.
4. Weight regain
Because the keto diet is so restrictive, health experts say it is not an appropriate plan to follow long-term. But the problem with that, is that most people will regain a lot of the weight they lost as soon as they go back on carbs.
5. Less muscle mass, decreased metabolism
Another consequence of keto-related weight changes can be a loss of muscle mass, especially if you’re eating much more fat than protein. You’ll lose weight, but it might actually be a lot of muscle and because muscle burns more calories than fat, that will affect your metabolism.
6. Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
When done right, the keto diet includes lots of vegetables and lean sources of animal protein. In other words, it is not an excuse to eat butter and bacon, although some people may try to do just that and increase their risk of heart disease and diabetes.