Following a Ketogenic Diet

In the world of weight loss diets, low carbohydrate, high protein diet plans often grab the attantion.  Diets such as the Paleo, South Beach and the Atkins diets will all fall into this catergory.  These diets and many like them can sometimes be referred to as ketogenic or keto diets.

Although a real ketogenic or keto diet is different.  Most other low carbohydrate diets, which focuses on protein, a ketogenic diet centers around fats.  Fats, which normally supply up to 90% of a persons daily calorie intake.  The keto diet is not the sort of diet to test as a personal experiment.  It is a very big change in lifestyle.

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How do ketogenic diets work?

Here are the basics to a ketogenic diet.  The diet has the aim of trying to force your body to use a different type of fuel.  Normally the body would rely on sugar/glucose that comes from you eating carbohydrates (such as grains, vegetable and fruits).  The keto diet relys on ketone in the body.  This is a type of fuel produced in the liver and taken from fats stored in the body.

Although burning fat can seem like the best way to get rid of thos extra pounds.  Getting the liver to produce ketone is actually quite tricky:

  • The ketogenic or keto diet require you to deprive your body of carbohydrates.  This can be fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates each day.  Keep in mind that a medium banana has approximatley 27 grams of carbohydrates.
  • It will take a few days approximatley for your body to reach the metabolic state of ketosis.
  • If you eat too much protein, this can also interfere with the state of ketosis.

What do you eat?

Because the ketogenic or keto diet has such a high fat content,  Followers must eat each meal to include this fat content.  In a standard daily diet containing 2000 calories, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates and 75 grams of protein.  These are not exact figures and can vary depending on your different dietary needs.

Some types of healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet.  Some foods such as nut, seeds, avacados, tofu and olive oil.  Saturated fat from oils, lard and butter (including cocoa butter) are encouraged on the diet in high amounts.

Proteins are a big part of the keto diet.  The keto diet does not particularly discriminate between proteins such as lean protein, or proteins sources that are high in staurated fats such as pork, bacon and beef.

All types of fruit are rich in carbohydrates.  You can have certain types of fruit such as berries, but only in small portions.  Vegetables, which are also rich in carbohydrates are restricted to the basic leafy greens.  Leafy greens (such as kale, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, brussle sprouts, asparagus, peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber and celery.  Take in mind that one cup of chopped broccoli contains about 6 carbohydrates.

Ketogenic diet risks

Following a strict ketogenic or keto diet comes with a number of health risks.  The number one risk is that the diet is very high in saturated fat content.  Most dieticians recommend that you keep your intake of sturated fats to no higher than 7 percent of your daily calorie intake.  This is due to the link between saturated fats and heart disease.  The ketogenic diet is also linked to an increase in LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol).  This also can be linked to  heart disease.

Keto can cause other potential health risks, such as:

  • Nutrient deficiensy.  If you are not eating a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and grains, you may be causing your body to be deficient in micronutrients, including slenium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitmins C and B.
  • Liver problems.  With the body having so much fat to metabolze, the keto diet could cause any existing liver problems to get worse.
  • Kidney problems.  The kidneys help the body to metabolize proteins.  A ketogenic diet can cause the kidneys to be overloaded with the amount of protein you eat with each meal.  The recommended daily protein intake is approximetley 46 grams for women and 56 grams for men.
  • Constipation.  The ketogenic or keto diet causes you to eat very low amounts of fibre such as grains.  This can cause the body to become less regular with getting rid of watse.
  • Mood swings.  To maintain a healthy brain the body needs sugars or glucoes from carbohydrates to function properly.  Low carb diets can cause mood swings because of the low carb intake while on the diet.

Other low carb diets

So, what about the other low carbohydrate diets?  The most popular low carb diets for example Atkins or Paleo, are basically a modified ketogenic or keto diet.  They all come with similar health benifits, for example weight loss.  They also have the same sort of health risks.  If you overdo it while on fats and proteins but, lay off the carbs.  So, why do people in general follow diets?  They do it because they hear that they work.  People theorise that short term low carb diets create success in weight loss.  These successes include, a lower appetite and that fats burn slowr then carbs.

Conclusion

In this article I have explained both the positve and negative sides of the ketogenic or keto diet.  The diet itself is in fact very successful at helping you to lose weight in the short term.  However in the long term there has been no real study to show the long term effects of the keto diet.

Everything in moderation I feel is the key to success.  You don’t have to follow any diet to the letter.  Try to adapt it to suit your body and your lifestyle.  Remember following a diet no matter which one is only half of the battle.  You need to follow an exercise programme too.  The two factors must also work well together.  If you have any helth concerns please consult a doctor before any major lifestyle changes.

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