- Posted by AM
- On September 20, 2014
The Keto diet has become quite popular recently as one of the hottest weight-loss plans around. It involves consuming very few carbohydrates and getting 70% or more of your calories from fats instead. A Keto diet typically limits carbs to 20-50 grams per day.
But can eating so much fat every day really help you lose weight? And even if it does, are there risks that might outweigh the benefits?
Read more to know what it’s all about.
What is the ketogenic diet?
“Ketogenic” is a term for a low-carb diet. The idea is for you to get more calories from proteins and fats and less from carbohydrates.
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrate eating plan, which varies from general, healthful eating recommendations.
How does it work?
When you follow the keto diet you condition your body to use an alternate source of fuel for energy which comes from the fat you consume.
Instead of depending on glucose that comes from the carbohydrates you consume (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the keto diet is dependent on ketone bodies, a type of fuel that the liver produces from stored fat.
When you eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) it can use quickly. This usually takes around 3-4 days. Then, through a process called ketosis, your body will start to break down protein and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight.
What do you eat?
Since the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, it’s essential for keto dieters to eat fat along with every meal.
In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbohydrates, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your body’s needs.
Does it help you lose weight?
There is strong evidence that ketogenic diets are very effective for weight loss.
Going on this diet can help you lose fat, preserve muscle mass, and improve many markers of disease. Many studies have compared the recommended low-fat diet to a ketogenic diet for weight loss.
Findings often show that ketogenic diet to be superior, even when total calorie intake is matched in one study, people on a ketogenic diet lost 2.2 times more weight than those on a low-calorie, low-fat diet.
You can see the typical weight loss results on this graph.
Here’s how ketogenic diets promote weight loss:
Apart from these short-term benefits, it is said that keto diet may not be effective in the long run.
Wellness Dietitian Mary Condon, RN, LDN, said the keto diet may result in weight loss and lower blood sugars, but it’s a quick fix. “More often than not, it’s not sustainable. Oftentimes weight gain may come back, and you’ll gain more than what you lost,” Condon said.
What are the risks?
The keto diet could cause:
Low blood pressure
Increased risk of heart disease
Strict diets like keto could also cause social isolation or disordered eating.
The keto diet is not safe for those with any conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid, or gallbladder.
Someone new to the keto diet can also experience what’s called the “keto flu” with symptoms like:
Mood swings caused by your body adapting to ketosis