Does The Keto Diet Really Work, And Is it Safe?
The “ketogenic diet” is all the rage nowadays. This high-fat, low-carb diet is hailed for quickly dropping pounds, burning more calories, improving blood pressure, and lowering cholesterol, among other things.
Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, these benefits are very much real.
If you’re wondering whether the keto diet is effective and also safe, you’ve come to the right place. Let us clear your confusion about the keto diet and help you kickstart your weight loss journey.
What Is The Keto Diet?
“Ketogenic” is a term used for a low-carb diet (like the Atkins diet). A “typical” ketogenic diet consists of at least 70 percent of calories derived from fat, less than 10 percent from carbs, and less than 20 percent from protein.
Originally used to treat epilepsy in children, the keto diet has garnered a lot of fame and attention in the past few years, mainly because of its numerous health benefits.
The diet calls for 90 percent of daily calories to come from fat, with no restrictions on the carbs and protein sources as long as it’s 4 grams of fat for every 1 gram of carb and protein combined. This means feasting on a lot of cheese, eggs, nuts, salmon, bacon, olive oil, and non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, greens, and spinach.
Does It Actually Work?
The short answer is yes. You can lose weight on the keto diet certainly in the short term.
Evidence suggests that a very low-carb diet can help you lose weight more quickly than the standard high-carb, low-fat diet in the first few months. However, this advantage lasts for up to 12 months, and after this, the weight loss seems to equalize.
The rapid weight loss people experience with their keto diet results is also partly due to losing water weight. Your body stores carbs with water, so when you decrease your carb intake, you lose water weight. Most people simply don’t burn enough calories to lose more than about two pounds of fat per week, so the keto diet resulting in greater weight loss is likely because of the loss in water weight.
The most important thing to note is that the keto diet results in weight loss and lower blood sugar (if done right), but it’s a quick fix. Weight regain is extremely common on the keto diet, and it’s understandable. Most people can’t sustain this diet in the long term, and once carbs are reintroduced, an increase in weight is inevitable. This weight gain maybe even more than what you lost in some cases.
Is It Safe?
Again, the answer is yes. A diet with high protein/healthy fats and fewer carbs is generally safe. However, it does have a few health risks, including:
- Low blood sugar levels, especially in people who have diabetes and are on medication.
- Increased cholesterol levelsmay lead to a greater risk of heart disease.
- Dangers for those with kidney disease, as the higher amount of protein, may contribute to the progress of kidney disease.
- Risk of nutrient deficiency, as the diet requires eliminating several food groups (fruits and vegetables, wheat, dairy, etc.)
In the first few weeks, you may also experience what’s called “the keto flu,” with symptoms like upset stomach, dizziness, decreased energy, and mood swings caused by your body adapting to ketosis.
Should You Try The Keto Diet?
Yes! We know the keto diet has potential risks, but which diet doesn’t?
Here are some reasons why you should try the ketogenic diet:
Quick Weight Loss
One of the fastest ways to burn fat is to reduce your carb intake, and that’s the model a keto diet follows. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that the keto diet is an excellent solution for those looking for a quick, short-term solution to manage their weight, like fitting in that dress you’ve always loved!
A keto diet increases ketone levels, a chemical in our bodies with anti-inflammatory properties. It also promotes the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods rich in Omega-3 fatty acids that prevent inflammation.
Reduced Appetite and Cravings
Proteins and fats are foods that are naturally more satiating for the body. By eating foods in their close-to-natural form, your body receives more nutrients to keep you fuller. Unlike other diets, you won’t feel hungry on a keto diet all the time.
Improved Blood Sugar & Insulin Levels
According to a published study, a keto diet can improve insulin sensitivity in people with type-2 diabetes. The low-carb nature of the keto diet can also help those with prediabetes manage their sugar intake, hence improving sugar and insulin levels.
Positive Effect on Brain Health
As discussed earlier, a keto diet promotes the production of ketones in the body. Besides having anti-inflammatory properties, these ketones also help protect the brain cells from neurodegenerative diseases and improve brain function, resulting in better concentration.
It is always important to discuss your diet plans with your nutritionist or health care provider to make sure that you meet the nutritional needs on the plan.
A keto diet may not be for everyone, but when it has benefits like those mentioned above, it’s certainly worth a try!