The ketogenic diet is a fitness trend the world can't seem to stop talking about. And rightly so, it produces astounding weight loss results in a very short time span. The ketogenic diet may be the latest health trend to enter the limelight, but it's actually been around for almost a century, widely used for effective natural treatment of epilepsy, especially in children. Its other health benefits range from increased weight loss to protection against chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Before we go into further detail, let's first understand what exactly is this much talked about trend.
What is the ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet (keto diet) is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It lowers blood sugar and insulin levels, and shifts the body's metabolism away from carbs and towards fat, which puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis, which leads to the bodying burning fat for energy and for ketone formation in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
There are several versions of the keto diet, which include:
Standard ketogenic diet: This is a very low-carb (~ 5%), moderate-protein (~20%) and high-fat diet (~75%)
Cyclical ketogenic diet: This diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days
Targeted ketogenic diet: This diet allows you to add carbs around workouts
High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet, but includes more protein in the ratio of carbs (~5%), protein (~35%) and fat (~ 60%)
However, the most recommended and researched among all is the standard Ketogenic diet. The keto diet is not just an effective way to lose weight; it also lowers risk factors for other diseases. The study suggests that the keto diet facilitates 2.2 times more weight loss than calorie-restricted, low-fat diest. The keto diet also helps improve Triglyceride and HDL cholesterol levels.
Studies suggests that the keto diet can even be beneficial for a wide variety of different health conditions, which are: Diabetes and Prediabetes: The keto diet boosts insulin sensitivity and causes fat loss, leading to drastic improvement for type 2 diabetes and prediabetes Heart Disease: The diet improves risk factors like body fat, HDL levels, blood pressure and blood sugar Cancer: Keto diets are currently being used to treat several types of cancer and slow tumor growth Alzheimer's Disease: A keto diet may reduce symptoms of Alzheimer's and slow down the disease's progression Epilepsy: Studies suggest a keto diet can cause massive reductions in seizures in epileptic children Parkinson's Disease: Research suggests that the diet helped reduce the symptoms of Parkinson's disease Polycystic Ovary Syndrome: It can help reduce insulin levels, which may play a key role in preventing polycystic ovary syndrome Brain Injuries: It is also found that the diet can reduce concussions and aid recovery after brain injury Acne: Lower level of insulin and sugar or processed foods may help improve acne
The keto diet may provide substantial health benefits, especially with metabolic, neurological or insulin-related diseases. However, we should keep in mind that research into many of these areas is far from conclusive.
Going further, few do's and don't's while on this diet: Do's: Plan your diet with the majority of your meals around meat, fish, eggs, butter, nuts, healthy oils, avocados and plenty of low-carb veggies Don't's: Avoid carb-based foods like grains, sugars, legumes, rice, potatoes, candy, juice and even most fruits
The keto diet has been a topic of debate with parties advocating for both sides. On one hand, it can help people who are overweight, diabetic or those looking to improve their metabolic health, whereas on the other hand, the diet may not be very sustainable for elite athletes or for those wishing to gain large amounts of muscle or weight. And, as with any diet, it will only work if you consult your doctor first, are consistent, and stick with it in the long-term.