Over the past few years, the keto diet has gained massive popularity due to its weight-reduction effects. Additionally, the fact that you don’t need to starve yourself has made this diet even more popular.
If you’re not familiar with the keto diet, here is a brief introduction:
The ketogenic diet is a metabolic state that involves switching the body from using glucose as a primary source of energy to using ketone bodies, which are the metabolites of fatty acids. In other words, you will be constantly burning fat that is stored in your adipose tissues.
In order to reach this state, you need to restrict your carbohydrate intake to a minimum and increase your fat intake. I know this sounds paradoxical, but it is just how our marvelous body works.
Benefits of the ketogenic diet
When it comes to weight loss, the ketogenic diet is considered superior to other diets.
In a 2003 study, researchers found that the individuals following the keto diet lost 2.2 times the weight when compared to people on a calorie-restricted diet.
This effect is attributed to “ketosis”, which is the metabolic pathway that leads to burning fatty acids for fuel. However, some new evidence suggests that the keto diet may reduce weight by the production of hunger-suppressing hormones, such as leptin and ghrelin.
Decreases the risk of several diseases
Paradoxically, the keto diet may decrease LDL and increase HDL levels, which reduces the risk of coronary artery disease. Moreover, the low carb, high fat diet has been shown to reduce blood pressure.
These findings may theoretically decrease the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and neurodegenerative diseases (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease).
Side effects of the ketogenic diet
While the ketogenic is considered to be relatively safe, there are still some side effects of this diet. One of the classic adverse effects of the keto diet is the appropriately named, the keto flu, which presents with signs and symptoms similar to those you would expect when dealing with the regular flu; these include fever, runny nose, chills, headaches, muscle pain, and arthralgia.
Other symptoms that may be linked to the hypoglycemia caused by the ketogenic diet include:
- Excessive thirst
- Frequent urination
- Confusion, anxiety and/or irritability
- Lightheadedness and shakiness
- Sweating and chills
The long-term side effects of the ketogenic diet have not been studied sufficiently, and further research is warranted.
Many people around the world swear by the ketogenic diet and its effectiveness in weight loss and other health benefits, including Hollywood celebrities, such as Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian, and the basketball megastar, Lebron James.
However, the possible long-term side effects are still unknown and more caution should be taken.
If you have ever been on the keto diet before, feel free to share your story in the comment section below. We would be thrilled to read it.