A ketogenic diet is a diet high in fat, low in carbohydrate with adequate-protein. It was originally used in medicine to treat difficult to control epilepsy in children. The diet compels the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates which occurs under normal circumstances. The carbohydrates contained in your food are usually converted into glucose, which is then transported to the cells in your body to provide energy. However, if there is little carbohydrate in the food, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies to serve the same purpose.In general a keto diet involves reducing carbohydrates intake and increasing fat intake,which should be however monitored in people with Type 1 diabetes due to risk of Ketoacidosis which can lead to diabetic coma and death.
In addition, keto diet is only recommended for physically healthy individuals and should not be consumed by persons with high blood pressure or pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Health Benefits of Keto Diet
Significant weight loss in a short period of time – When your body enters ketosis, your blood sugar and insulin levels drop, giving the fat cells the ability to release the water they’ve been retaining. This is why initially, most people see a big drop in weight loss due to water loss.
Increases levels of HDL Cholesterol
HDL is known as the good cholesterol that carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver where it can be re-used or excreted. Keto diet increases your HDL levels significantly, reducing your risk of heart disease.
Helps control High Blood Pressure – High blood pressure is a sign of future heart problems. Keto diet does a wonderful job of helping to lower blood pressure. This effect of keto diet can be traced to its HDL increasing capacity.
Increased Mental Focus and Capacity
The problem with carbohydrates as an energy source is that they cause your blood sugar levels to rise and fall orographically. Because the energy source isn’t consistent, it’s harder for your brain to stay focused for long periods of time. When you are on a keto diet your brain uses ketones as a fuel source which is a more consistent fuel source. This makes you to focus better for longer periods of time.
Side Effects of A Keto Diet
Risk of Liver Enlargement– Because the liver is tasked, keto diet can lead to enlarged liver. A keto diet will do more harm than good for the majority of patients, especially if they have any underlying liver or kidney issues.
Risk of Coronary heart Disease- Extremely high fat diets can lead to coronary artery disease, as well as cerebrovascular strokes. Eating nutrient dense foods as part of a ketogenic diet may lower inflammation, oxidation, arterial plaque and improve metabolic and genetic markers for heart disease.
According to Dr. Francine Blinten a certified clinical nutritionist and public health consultant in Old Greenwich, Connecticut, Keto diets should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods. Read : Types of Diets and Their Functions