Advantages and disadvantages of a keto diet
With Instagram trending with keto hashtags and many restaurants coming up with keto menus, it can be said that the keto diet has taken the world by storm. But what is the weight loss strategy with this diet? A ketogenic or keto diet is a form of diet that lets one load up on the fat, and skimp on the carbohydrates to enable weight loss. Though it sounds quite contrary to the more familiar diet plans that place fats on strict restriction, it is similar to the Atkins diet, which also focuses on cutting down on carbs and choosing a high intake of fats and proteins for energy. The weight loss idea behind the keto diet is that when the body doesn’t have enough glucose (from carbohydrates) for energy, it starts converting fats into small molecules called ketones to provide energy. This process, called ketosis takes place in the liver, and burns the fat in the body, enabling weight loss.
A rough calculation for a keto diet would be having 5% intake from carbohydrates, 15% to 25% from protein, and the rest from fat. Some of the most commonly recommended foods that can be included in the keto diet are eggs, fish, meat, poultry, cheese, butter, berries, nuts, and chocolate. Some foods that are a strict “no” include bread, potatoes, soda and any food that’s rich in sugar and starch.
Below are some pros and cons of a keto diet.
Keto diet reduces the risk of various diseases and conditions, some of which are mentioned below:
- Obesity: A keto diet is effective in managing obesity as it helps lose weight, which is one of the main reasons why the diet has become popular.
- Cancer: Recent research has found that a keto diet can be followed along with chemotherapy since it helps treat tumors.
- Epilepsy: Foods included in a keto diet have demonstrated a reduced level of seizures in people with epilepsy, and has been used to treat focal seizures in children as well.
- Brain disorders: Conditions like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and insomnia can be prevented by following a keto diet. It boosts the cognitive functioning of the brain.
- PCOS: Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) in women can be brought under control with a keto diet as it aids hormonal balance.
- Heart disease: While it is possible that higher fat in the body leads to cholesterol and ultimately heart disease, foods included in a keto diet that are rich in HDL or good cholesterol, keep blood glucose and triglyceride levels low. They counter the effect of LDL or bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.
- Diabetes: Since the keto diet keeps blood sugar levels and insulin in check, it is effective for controlling diabetes, both types 1 and 2.
- By following a keto diet, one may miss out on other fibers, nutrients, and micronutrients that are equally important for their health.
- The sudden change in the style of eating and heaping up fatty foods on the plate may cause metabolic changes like nausea, fatigue, constipation, and sluggishness.
- If one makes an improper choice of “fat”, there will be an excess of LDL or the bad cholesterol, which can actually increase the risk of heart diseases rather than preventing them.
- The keto diet is not exactly a great fit for an athlete’s diet since it affects performance.