The Ketogenic diet or the famously known “keto” diet has become a discussion among many, including celebrities and other lifestyle change gurus who have caused the diet discussion to explode and become a trend. But what is this Keto diet? Is it a new term that was coined recently? Is it helpful when choosing a better lifestyle or rather in the weight loss journey or is it simply a fad?
First of all, you will be surprised to know that the Ketogenic diet is almost 100 years old! This means that it was long discovered before the millennial era! By then, the ketogenic diet was designed to treat seizures in epileptic children through fasting. According to studies, it was documented that after a few days of fasting, the bodies of the epileptic children started to breakdown fat to fuel their body processes thereby minimizing seizures.
In essence, the scientists concluded that when the kids were fasting, it was as if they were eating a high fat diet, only that the fat was coming from the body storage and not from food! After testing the diet for a while, the scientists came up with a formula that incorporated 10% carbohydrates, 30 to 35% protein and 55 to 60% of fat. Which in essence mimics the modern-day keto diet.
Simply put, the ketogenic diet usually works by forcing the body to go into a process known as ketosis. This refers to a metabolic state in the body that involves the breaking down of fat into by products that are known as ketones. The body can use these ketones as fuel. While a normal diet would comprise of a fair share of carbohydrates among the proteins, vitamins and fat, the keto diet capitalizes on having more protein and fat. This only means that since you are not consuming a lot or any carbohydrates, you cannot make enough glucose to meet the energy needs. At this point, your body turns around and begins to look for fat to break it down to ketones to fuel you up and provide the energy that you need. Taking up a ketogenic diet therefore, means that you are forcing your body into constant ketosis thereby, producing a significant number of ketones in the blood, which in serious cases could lead to diabetic ketoacidosis which is a complication of diabetes, and can cause a coma or even death!
But why then is there such a craze to take up the keto diet? The major reason for the keto diet is simply the faster weight loss and the claim that people “feel better” when they take up the diet. Scientifically, keto has been tested to aid people with metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance. That said, it should only mean that if you are taking the diet as your lifestyle, you must be battling a metabolic disorder, otherwise you might be doing yourself a disservice!
The reality of things is that there are side effects and some grim risks as much as you might find yourself losing weight fast. There have been documented reports of fatigue, gastrointestinal disorder and ketoacidosis especially for people taking medication with the diet all in the name of losing weight. In which case, caution and moderation here is key! You need to seek the advice of a doctor and a nutritionist before taking up the diet!
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