What is the keto diet, or ketogenic diet? This diet produces rapid weight loss. It is something extreme so it is convenient to know its benefits and drawbacks and do it under supervision. Keto diet is one in which the food must be low in carbohydrates and very high in fat , which induces a change in the main source of energy and in the metabolic state.
Their goal is to create a ketosis-like state of fasting, which can be achieved either by a reduction in food intake or by a reduction in carbohydrate foods. This last situation is what the ketogenic diet (keto diet) pursues.

The body, in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates as fuel (glucose), will deplete glycogen stores and the main source of energy will become the burning of fats in the liver.

You will get as a result the so-called ketone bodies (ketones) that will distribute, as a nutrient, to the brain, muscles and other organs. It will have caused you to go into ketosis.

Ketogenic Diet Menu

When preparing a keto menu, your food should contain: carbohydrates (5-10%), fats (60%) and protein (30-35%). If we consider that in a normal diet almost half are usually carbohydrates, the change of diet is important. You should avoid bread, potatoes, rice, pasta and fruit as much as possible.

Food Allowed

The foods allowed on the keto diet, or keto diet, will be mostly fatty and with some protein . The list will be as follows:

  • Vegetables with few carbohydrates : spinach and in general green leafy vegetables, avocado, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, asparagus, cabbage, tomato, onion.
  • Blue fish, rich in polyunsaturated fats : salmon, sardines, anchovies, mackerel, trout, tuna, palometa, mackerel, bonito, swordfish.
  • Meat and sausages : chicken and turkey, but you can also eat fatty meats.
  • Eggs and mayonnaise.
  • Fatty dairy products such as cream, butter, goat cheese, cheddar, mozzarella, or unsweetened yogurt.
  • Nuts and seeds : walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds.
  • Oil  virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
  • Salt, pepper, spices, mustard …
And since in the keto diet the important thing is the type of food consumed (mainly fat, and some protein ) and not so much the total calories, it is not so necessary to have examples of 30-day or 50-day ketogenic diets, which they are rigid and make compliance difficult.
You can combine these foods as it is most convenient or appetizing for your menu, but yes, keeping in mind to diversify enough during the days or weeks that it takes you to practice.

Prohibited Foods

The following carbohydrate-rich foods should be limited in the keto diet :
  • Fruits: they contain sugars, in the form of fructose, which is a carbohydrate.
    • The ones that have the most and should avoid: dates, figs, grapes, mangoes, cherries, bananas, tangerines and apples.
    • The ones that have less and can eat from time to time (from fewer carbohydrates to more): lemon, blueberry, raspberry, strawberry, watermelon, grapefruit and melon.
  • Bread, pasta, flour, rice.
  • Cereals: The ones that contain the most carbohydrates are puffed wheat, muesli, wheat bran, rice flakes, wheat and barley, Corn Flakes, and oat flakes.
  • Potatoes.
  • Legumes (lentils, chickpeas, beans, peas, beans, beans, beans)
  • Sweets and cakes, pastries.
  • Soda, sugary drinks and juices.
  • Processed foods and prepared meals (often with high levels of unhealthy fats and carbohydrates)

Benefits of The Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic diet have a huge benefit. People who love healthy foods and fit lifestyle keto diet is ultimate favorite for them. Regarding the results of the ketogenic diet, it should be noted:

Lose weight and Slim down

  • You don’t need to count calories, and this low-carb diet is much more effective at losing weight than low-fat diets.
  • Many people who follow this type of diet to lose weight lose more than twice as many pounds as those who only follow a low-calorie diet. And it allows them to eat and maintain a healthy weight.
  • It can be combined with intermittent fasting , which accelerates and intensifies weight loss.
  • It is faster to lose weight than those other diets based on eating foods rich in protein and little fat.

Ketogenic Diet in DIABETES

People who have diabetic ketogenic diet is need to keep in their everyday meal. Diabetic people usually can’t take fat and sweet foods so the keto diet give a huge benefits to diabetics (Diabetes Mellitus type 2) because:
  • It lowers your blood sugar levels and stabilizes them.
  • Reduces your weight and body fat.
  • Improves insulin sensitivity.
  • Reduces the level of glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c).
  • Reduces your risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.
In type 2 diabetes, overweight and obesity, in addition to being a drawback, are often the cause.
And blood glucose is high because it cannot be used conveniently by cells because they have insulin resistance, resistance that improves a lot with this diet.

Ketogenic Diet in CANCER

Some studies have attempted to assess whether reducing sugar in the diet could positively influence cancer control. And it seems so.
In cancer, tumor cells:
  • Multiply with greater speed,
  • Have an accelerated energy metabolism, and
  • Your glucose (carbohydrate) intake is also higher.
  • And they hardly use fats or proteins to obtain the energy necessary for their growth.
Consequently the ketogenic diet:
  • It would be a support measure for cancer treatment,
  • It would never be a substitute for medical treatment because cancer cells can adapt to adverse metabolic conditions better than normal cells.
In fact, the prestigious scientific publication «Nature» published a study, carried out in rodents, which concluded that the keto diet combined with cancer treatment could improve its response by enhancing the efficacy of the PI3K enzyme inhibitor drugs.
And PI3K is a kinase that seems to facilitate the growth of some cancers, such as breast cancer, in such a way that achieving its inhibition is part of the therapeutic target of some tumors because it could contribute to their self-destruction.
On the other hand, there are no studies that indicate that this diet can prevent cancer.

Ketogenic Diet in EPILEPSY

Cases, especially of childhood epilepsy , in which antiepileptic drugs are not effective, are those in which the keto diet seems more convenient, as complementary therapy, to reduce the frequency of seizures.
The influence of fasting in the treatment of epilepsy was  known since ancient times, but it  was around 1920 when its relationship with the keto diet was scientifically described.
They observed that when a child diagnosed with epilepsy fasted, the frequency of epileptic seizures decreased, or even disappeared, which is why it was implemented as a treatment.
However, and despite the appearance of antiepileptic drugs, the use of the ketogenic diet was relegated, it was recovered mainly to treat epilepsy refractory to medical treatment.
The keto diet could be effective in approximately 60% of epileptic patients. However, the result is not uniform in all of them, in such a way that, while in some it seems to make the crises stop, in others it manages to reduce them by half, or in others by a quarter.
And on some occasions the benefits of the keto diet are more immediate, and on others they take weeks to appear. However, it seems advisable to keep it for 8 to 12 weeks before considering that it is not effective.
Also above all, keep in mind that even if it did not reduce the number of crises, it could contribute to reducing the dose of antimicrobial drugs with the consequent benefit by reducing the possibility of side effects.
The exact mechanism by which the keto diet reduces seizures in epilepsy is not entirely known. However, it seems to be a consequence of the metabolic and energetic change produced in the brain by ketone bodies, which would stabilize their electrical activity.

Ketogenic Diet In Alzheimer’s

The prestigious Johns Hopkins Medicine conducted a study in older adults with mild cognitive impairment that concluded that the ketogenic diet could improve brain functions and memory.
However, the results have not allowed considering that said mild cognitive impairment will not evolve into Alzheimer’s disease with the keto diet, although they were promising enough to justify carrying out more ambitious studies that allow us to assess whether changes in diet they can moderate mild cognitive impairment in the early stages of dementia.
In addition to the diseases described, low-carbohydrate diets  , such as ketogenic diets,  appear to also benefit people with acne, heart disease, and other disorders.

Disadvantages

  • No specific side effects have been identified in this type of diet.
  • Some symptoms may appear in the first days, although they usually disappear quickly.
  • To reduce them, it is convenient to start the diet slowly, gradually adding more fats to your keto recipes, while reducing carbohydrates at the same time.
  • It should not be strictly followed indefinitely.
People with high cardiovascular risk might think that since the keto diet is based on a high fat intake, if they already have high cholesterol levels, they could increase even more, aggravating their cardiovascular problems.
But the reality is that the keto diet normally has a positive effect on the LDL / HDL ratio, in such a way that LDL (bad cholesterol) tends to decrease in this ratio, and HDL (good cholesterol) increases. However, your cardiologist, with regular analytical measurements, should have the last word.
  • Likewise, those who have high uric acid in their blood should keep in mind that it increases the risk of gout attacks.
  • A common drawback to all weight loss diets is the “yo-yo” effect when the diet is finished.
  • It is better for a correct nutrition, to plan from the beginning the dietary changes in the medium and long term.
  • And complement them with regular physical exercise, so that the benefits on your health are lasting.

Consequently, it would not be appropriate to speak of the dangers of the ketogenic diet, but rather of inconveniences, generally moderate or slight, or precautions.

Phases of The Ketogenic Diet

During the initial phase of the keto diet, when the body enters a state of ketosis, some mild symptoms can be experienced, although they disappear quickly:
  • Indigestion,
  • Constipation,
  • Fatigue,
  • Difficulty concentrating,
  • Headache, or
  • Insomnia.
The breath can smell acetone from the exhalation of its toxins, but it is an effect of the keto diet that will last only a couple of weeks and that can be neutralized, for example, with chewing gum. It is characteristic of ketosis and ketogenic diets.

How Can I Measure Ketosis?

Ketosis can be detected in the blood, urine, and even air. The cheapest and simplest way is in the urine through test strips that are sold in pharmacies. However, the concentration of ketone bodies and their elimination in the urine will tend to decrease with the passage of days, on the average that your body uses them better as an energy source.
So the most accurate way is through blood tests. Blood test strips similar to those used by diabetics are also sold.
To avoid the reduction of muscle mass that can be produced by weight loss when following a diet to lose weight, it is necessary to maintain the intake of protein foods and that they represent a level close to 35%, and that you perform physical exercise.
In this way you will maintain the muscle mass of your body, and could even increase it unlike what happens with other diets.
Occasionally, with the periodicity suggested by the specialist (doctor or nutritionist), the amount of carbohydrate food should be increased , but taking into account that the first two or three months the diet should be more strict.

Wrap-Up!

However, the questions what is the keto diet? simply keep in mind that in a healthy and balanced keto diet you do not have to suffer from a lack of nutrients because you can eat many vegetables accompanying fish, meat or eggs, as well as naturally high quality oils and fats.
And don’t forget that severe food restriction could reduce your quality of life, and that you shouldn’t prolong the keto diet indefinitely because the answer to some questions like long-term side effects is unknown.

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