Different diets have been around since the 15th century with the goal in mind to slim down and to live a full and happy life for as long as possible. While exploring different ways of eating is nothing new, in these modern times, it does seem that everywhere people look, there is a new diet popping out of the woodwork. And one that is a hot topic as of late is the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet was first implemented in the 1920s as a way to mimic fasting as a treatment for epilepsy. Nowadays, it has grown in popularity as a weight-loss method and things like aiding those who suffer from type 2 diabetes. This form of eating works by reducing the number of carbohydrates that are consumed, forcing the body to go through a metabolic change, one of which is known as ketogenesis and the other is gluconeogenesis.
This essentially means that the body is starved of glucose resulting in low insulin secretion which can go on to reduce the stimulus for fat and glucose storage. Furthermore, fatty acids are converted to ketone bodies known as beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetone which accumulate in the body as the ketogenic diet is sustained. As obesity continue to be a worldwide health hazard that contributes to many chronic illnesses and diseases, this post will explore the ketogenic diet for those who may be interesting in its benefits.
What exactly is involved in the ketogenic diet?
The general rule of thumb when it comes to the ketogenic diet is that people eat less than 50g of carbohydrates a day and that fats are the primary source of fuel. More specifically, people generally break up their macronutrients so that they are consuming approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. The reason why there are only approximate percentages is because one person may have to consume fewer carbohydrates than another person to get into a state of ketosis.
On a regular day following this type of eating, someone may consume eggs for breakfast (or no breakfast at all), a burger for lunch with lettuce as the wrap instead of bread, sausages and cauliflower rice for dinner, followed by a low carb piece of fruit such as a peach. Many people will use apps to track their macronutrients to ensure that they aren’t going over their carb limit, and some will even purchase expensive equipment that is designed to read ketone levels in the body. And while the short-term effects of this diet are generally positive, there are some concerns about the long-term effects of eating this way.
Areas of concerns when it comes to the ketogenic diet
One of the first things that can occur when someone is starting the ketogenic diet is that they can experience something known as the ketogenic flu. This is when the body is adjusting to its new state and people may begin to experience symptoms such as nausea, constipation, fatigue, insomnia, and headache. As for the long-term effects, these are still relatively unknown.
The effects of having ketones in the body for a long period of time (over 2-years) is currently unknown and more research is needed in this area. This is especially the case as ketones are known to be quite acidic which may go on to cause issues in the body. The diet also heavily relies on eating meat which can be questionable when it comes to not only the environment but also heart disease and high cholesterol. In conclusion, it is up the individual to weigh up the pros and cons to decide if this is something that they want to try whether that be for a short period of time or on an ongoing basis.