WHAT IS KETO-DIET
In recent years, this diet has gathered and continues to gather a lot of supporters worldwide. What exactly is it? For those who do not know, a ketogenic diet is a diet in which fats predominate and most of the daily calories are consumed by them, followed by protein and lastly, carbohydrates.
The classic version of the ketogenic diet was created back in 1921, when scientists at “Mayo Clinic”, USA examined scientific papers on the link between starvation and epileptic seizures. Even at this time, science has found that patients with epilepsy experience improvement in symptoms and a decrease in seizures after going through a phase of complete hunger. Trying to explain this, scientists have found that with prolonged fasting or a low-carbohydrate and high-fat diet, the liver secretes water-soluble compounds called ketones. In practice, this happens when blood glucose levels are too low and our body starts producing ketones as an energy source.
In the same year (1921), Dr. R. Wilder tested this method of eating on several of his patients and named it the “Ketogenic Diet”.
The ratio of macronutrients in the classic ketogenic diet is as follows:
About 80% of your daily energy intake is in the form of fat, 15% is protein and the remaining 5% is carbohydrate.
There are also several modifications, the most famous of which may be that of Dr. R. Atkins
In this modification the ratio of macronutrients is: about 70% fat, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates. This makes it less restrictive and easier to follow.
WHAT WE CAN AND WHAT WE CAN’T EAT
Foods that are consumed during a high fat diet are:
– Meat and fish (mostly oily)
– Dairy products, like cheese and milk
– Sources of fat such as oils, olive oil and mayonnaise
– Vegetables such as asparagus, cucumbers, broccoli, kale, etc.
– Starchy vegetables like potatoes
– Fruit juices
– Legumes such as beans, lentils and peas
– Sugar in any form
BENEFITS OF THE KETO-DIET
- There is a huge amount of carbohydrates in the diet of the average modern person, especially the simple carbohydrates (sugars), which along with immobilization is one of the main causes of mass obesity worldwide. By eliminating a large portion of carbohydrates (especially refined white sugar), we are actually optimizing our health while losing some pounds.
- As mentioned earlier, the diet is designed to help patients with epilepsy to reduce seizures and improve their health. A meta-analysis of total 38 medical studies confirmed the efficacy of KD in patients with epilepsy, with success rate of approximately 58%.
- KD may also have a beneficial effect on type 2 diabetic patients, since high carbohydrate diets do not contain many carbohydrates (especially those with high glycemic index-GI), suggesting lower blood glucose levels and therefore insulin secretion . Weight loss with this type of diet is also an additional criterion for improving the condition.
- Many adherents to the diet report that they experience more satiety in comparison with some other diets, which can help us maintain lower calorie intake and optimize the process of losing subcutaneous fat.
- A ketogenic diet can also have a beneficial effect on autoimmune diseases, such as Hashimoto’s desease, as it directly affects the mechanisms responsible for chronic inflammation in the body. When we enter into ketosis, we start using ketones as an energy source, and these substances have a strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Basically, most foods in nature contain smaller or larger amounts of all three types of macronutrients – fats, proteins, carbohydrates. Even though one of these macros predominates in a particular food, it is usually present in the other two main types of food, even in minimal quantities.
- For example, in the nuts, fruits, vegetables, seeds and cereal varieties we can find all three types of macronutrients and limiting some of them for a long period of time can cause deficiency of certain nutrients such as vitamins of group B, Magnesium. , Zinc and Copper, although there are not many researches in this field.
- KD is poor in dietary fiber. They are carbohydrates that has significant health benefits for the body by reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, stimulating the digestive tract, reducing the risk of certain cancers, etc. This is a serious disadvantage in low-carbohydrate diets, because the amounts of dietary fiber taken is very limited and does not meet the daily needs of the body.
- This diet is not appropriate for people suffering from Type 1 Diabetes because they are at risk of cetoacidosis (medical condition of excessively high levels of ketones in the body, which can be life-threatening if the patient does not inject insulin on time).
- When entering ketosis (let’s not mistake it for cetoacidosis), it can cause temporary symptoms such as low energy and mental function, fatigue, irritability, dizziness, muscle cramps, etc. This is a condition known as “Keto flu” and some of the symptoms such as impaired mental function are due to the fact that our brain uses glucose as a major source of energy. Despite the symptoms mentioned above, this is not real flu and the symptoms disappear within a few days.
- During the adaptation to ketogenesis, some side effects such as constipation and discomfort may occur in the body.
- Other serious disadvantages are: increased risk of kidney stones, increased triglyceride and blood cholesterol levels, elevated uric acid levels, hyperlipidemia, etc., which is the cause of heated debate among doctors about whether high-fat diets are healthy at all.
- Also, high dynamic sports require adequate carbohydrate intake and this type of diet maybe is not the best choise for a high-level performance.
Adhering to a ketogenic diet can help you lose weight, it combines well with fitness workouts and it can positively affect some medical conditions, but its not the most appropriate diet for everyone and the diet is not sustainable enough in my opinion. That’s because, it is difficult to comply with for a long period of time. Of course, all this depends on your personal characteristics, preferences and of course – your health.