The Ketogenic Diet: The Benefits and Disadvantages
The ketogenic diet was made popular throughout the world for its incredible benefits to lose weight fast. This diet existed over 30 years ago. However, the popularity has returned today due to testimonials that have proven its effectiveness.
This program promotes a type of diet that reduces or completely eliminates sources of carbohydrates to force the body into ketosis, a metabolic state that uses fat as the principal source of energy. By increasing the concentration of ketones, weight goes down in an amazing way in less time than a traditional diet.
Initially, this treatment was recommended for patients with epilepsy. Today, it’s one of the favorite go-to diets for those who want to lose weight.
However, due to the restrictions, it’s not appropriate for everyone. It should be followed very carefully and only for a few days.
What does this diet consist of and how do you follow it in a safe way? What are its disadvantages? In this article, we’ll go over the details to answer these questions.
Read: The Ketogenic Diet, Help for Epilepsy but Also Risky
What is the ketogenic diet and what are the benefits?
The ketogenic diet is a food plan that increases the consumption of proteins and healthy fats. It decreases the amount of carbohydrates so that the body goes into ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which there is an increase in the concentration of ketones that cause a rapid loss of weight. By depriving the body of carbohydrates, the body naturally obtains energy from fat.
Once the reserves of fat are used up (obtained from the carbohydrates), the consumption of fatty acid increases. During this process, the presence of ketones increases. This is where the name comes from.
Benefits of the Ketogenic diet
The main benefit of the ketogenic diet is weight loss. The difference from other diets is that the results are faster and more noticeable.
• The consumption of animal fat is restricted and sources of healthy fats are increased. Another benefit is that this diet reduces high levels of cholesterol and triglycerides.
• The release of ketones produces a decreased appetite, which tends to lower the consumption of calories. Because of this, there are no food cravings.
• Finally, and no less important, the weight loss consists of fat. Thanks to the protein content of this diet, muscular mass stays intact.
Following the ketogenic diet
Following the ketogenic diet means eliminating or decreasing foods rich in glucose and carbohydrates. At the same time, it means increasing foods rich in protein and fatty acids.
It includes the following foods:
- Chicken, turkey or lamb
- Fish and seafood
- Vegetable oils
- Dried fruit and seeds (small portions)
- Fruits and vegetables (only in some cases, in small portions)
Prohibited foods are:
- Grains and refined sugars
- Sauces and dressings
- Whole dairy products
- Cereals and legumes
- Sweet fruits
Disadvantages of following a ketogenic diet
The ketogenic diet creates controversy, which also occurs in other restrictive diets. While some people consider it appropriate and effective, others point out the side effects that can happen,
- The percentage of carbohydrates is a lot lower than the recommended levels for a healthy diet. It’s about 10% lower than what is advised.
- In addition, there is a reduction in the sources of vitamins and minerals, which can produce nutritional deficiencies and compromise the body.
- This diet causes a reduction in fiber, which can cause digestive problems and constipation.
- The increase in ketones can cause bad breath, so it’s important to have good oral hygiene.
- It can overload liver functions and is not healthy for people with fatty livers or heart problems.
- In certain cases, it can affect memory and concentration.
- If ketones greatly increase in the blood, it can cause ketoacidosis, a complication that can harm vital organs.
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To follow a ketogenic diet, it’s important to first evaluate the person’s state of health.
Having a particular health condition can increase the risks of this diet plan.
Even though the results are outstanding, it’s not a good idea to prolong this type of diet for more than 30 days, as it can cause nutritional deficiencies.
If your goal is to lose weight and keep the weight at a healthy level, the best alternative is to follow a balanced diet. This will fulfill all of the requirements of the body. Remember to consult with a specialist before trying any diet.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Roberts J., Zinchenko A., Mahbubani K., Johnstone J., et al., Satiating effect of high protein diets on resistance trained subjects in energy deficit. Nutrients, 2018.
- Westman EC., Tondt J., Maguire E., Yancy WS., Implementing a low carbohydrate, ketogenic diet to manage type 2 diabetes mellitus. Expert Rev Endocrinol Metab, 2018. 13 (5): 263-272.
- Mounsey A., Raleigh M., Wilson A., Management of constipation in older adults. Am Fam Physician, 2015. 92 (6): 500-4.