Keto Diet Uncovered

The Keto diet is basically the Atkins diet to the next level, low carb, high fat and moderate protein. Did you try the Atkins diet? Did it work for you? (if yes, then why are you still looking for a new diet?) Obviously, if you're looking for a new diet to lose weight then the many diets you've tried before didn't work. If you dropped a lot of weight just to regain it, then it wasn't a successful diet. When you go on and off diets your body learns to store more and more fat as a natural reaction to survive. Also when you go on crash diets that promise fast weight loss your metabolism slows to a screeching halt in order to preserve energy. This is why you gain more weight than you lost after the diet is finished and you return to your previous eating habits. I like to think of the low carb diet as a gift that no one wants and keeps trying to repackage and regift. When people mention that they are going to "start" a diet, does that mean at some point you're going to "stop" doing the diet too?  If so, then it's better is some regards to never start it in the first place.

The Keto diet may seem like a new thing but it’s really been around since the 1920s. It full name is the ketogenic diet and is used to treat people with uncontrolled epilepsy. This treatment requires a team of highly trained professionals monitoring the ketone levels of the patient. This diet has been a great thing for those who can’t control their epilepsy with medications. For the rest of the population the cons definitely outweigh the pros. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not do the ketogenic diet. 

From those who promote this diet I continually read that you need to take a multivitamin on this diet. Considering that you're taking out a major food group that supplies B-vitamins and that calcium is pulled out of your bones due to your acidic blood, I would agree that you definitely need a multivitamin.  Whole grains are a major source of B-vitamins. B-vitamins play a major role in your metabolism. This can also be a reason that your metabolism takes a huge hit during low carb diets.   Taking a multivitamin can be a good thing to help fill in the gaps of anyone's standard diet. If the diet you’re on requires that you take a multivitamin because the diet does not provide all that your body needs, its time to reevaluate.  

The keto diet tricks your body into thinking that it’s fasting and starts to release fat stores and turn them into ketones in order to provide food for your brain. Ketosis is a mild form of ketoacidosis. While ketosis is generally safe, if taken to the extreme it can turn to ketoacidosis and cause damage to your body. This typically happens with alcoholics and diabetics because their metabolic mechanisms don’t work properly. For the average healthy person ketosis is generally safe. That being said, ketone levels should be closely monitored.

Many people report fast weight loss on the ketogenic or low-carb diet because their body quickly dumps glycogen and water in the first few days of the diet. Unfortunately, this comes back just as fast when normal diet resumes. If you're still contemplating trying the Keto because you've heard that so many people have dropped a ton of weight, read the Pros and Cons list of the Keto Diet and make an informed decision. If on the other hand you're ready to read about what a health diet is, then check out my nutrition philosophy here. 

Cons

  • Weight loss
  • Frequent urination
  • Dizziness and drowsiness
  • Lightheadedness and shakiness
  • Sweating and chills
  • Excessive thirst
  • Low blood sugar
  • Decreased concentration
  • Cravings for sugar
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle cramps
  • Flu-like symptoms “Keto flu”
  •             Headaches
  •             Tiredness or lack of motivation
  •             Lethargy
  •             Brain fog or confusion
  •             Irritability
  • Sleep Issues
  • Smelly Breath
  • Heart Palpitations (Tachycardia)
  • Blood acidosis

Long term side effects

  • Weakened bones
  • Kidney stones
  • Increased cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Disrupted menstrual cycle in women
  • Growth retardation in children
  • May damage the metabolism
  • Not sustainable long term
  • long term deficiency of selenium, copper, and zinc

Pros

  • Weight loss
  • Controlling epilepsy
  • Small case studies showing improvements in certain medical conditions
  • Possible benefit in cancer patients (clinic trials still in progress) (not an alternative to chemotherapy)

If your objective is to cure a specific medical condition, get medical approval and supervision. Don't try ketogenic diet just to try and cure stuff, or to randomly "get healthy." “Medical supervision” does not mean Dr. Google or asking your friends on Facebook. And just to be sure we're clear, your personal trainer at the gym should not be giving you nutrition advice or trying to cure your diseases. 

If you’re a science nerd and want more detailed information about what the ketogenic diet actually does to the molecular make up of your body, I recommend an article by two doctors, Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD and Helen Kollias, PhD. http://www.precisionnutrition.com/ketogenic-diet

 

Other Resources

http://www.news-medical.net/health/Ketogenic-Diet-Side-Effects.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4211915/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4215472/

 https://sciencebasedmedicine.org/ketogenic-diets-for-cancer-hype-versus-science/