In general, it is accepted that our bodies are potent carbohydrate burners, that they use glycogen stored in the liver and muscles as fuel for our lives, and we are really good at doing it! But what happens when the consumption of carbohydrates is so low that our bodies turn to the burning of fat as fuel? Well, our brain, which is quite selfish when it comes to the use of energy, goes into starvation mode in the absence of sugar and depends on the liver to get the energy it needs to function from fat. This is the basis of the keto diet.
The ketogenic diet is more of a lifestyle than one of those fad diets. Your supporters may have better performance, an improvement in several health indicators -such as blood sugar levels-, and maybe even weight loss. But, why a sudden and significant change in eating habits? Is the ketogenic diet really all that is believed to be? Let’s learn more about it!
Although it may seem new and modern, the ketogenic diet, also known as the “keto” diet, has existed for many years. It is based on following a diet that is very low in carbohydrates and high in fats and proteins. You may be thinking, “this sounds quite familiar” and that’s the way it is. The Atkins diet , introduced in the 70s, and the ketogenic diet share many of its principles: they push the body into a state of “ketosis”, that is, the decomposition of ketone bodies (fats) to obtain energy.
How to change to a keto diet ?
The body usually goes into a state of ketosis within a few days of consuming a very low carbohydrate diet. What is considered “very low”? According to Dr. Marcelo Campos, a professor at the Harvard Medical School and Clinical Assistant Professor at the TUFTS School of Medicine, 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrate consumption per day, depending on each person, can produce ketone bodies and, for Therefore, a keto diet.
Benefits of a ketogenic lifestyle.
- The keto diet is recommended by the Epilepsy Foundation for children with seizures that do not respond to medications. Studies have shown that more than half of children who follow a ketogenic diet experience a 50% reduction in seizures, while a small percentage even get rid of seizures.
- A keto diet can induce weight loss more quickly and significantly than a traditional low fat diet, helping those who are overweight or obese. According to Antonio Paouli in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, “ketogenic diets have been shown to be effective, at least in the short and medium term, as a tool to combat obesity, hyperlipidemia and some cardiovascular risk factors.” However, he points out that while it may have benefits, the keto diet raises some concern among doctors.
- The keto diet may offer better blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes, mostly attributed to significant weight loss, but also to a high glycemic index. However, the keto diet is not safe for all people with diabetes and, therefore, you should consult a doctor before changing your eating habits.
- Followers of the keto diet tend to develop bad breath and sweet mouth taste caused by the breakdown of fatty acids. This side effect in no way endangers life, it is just a warning to take into account in your social relationships.
- Because the keto diet focuses on a very low intake of macronutrients – carbohydrates – some dietitians warn that it is relatively easy for certain deficiencies of essential nutrients to occur if diet followers do not have a great knowledge of nutritional, vitaminic values. and minerals from the foods that are included in it.
- While the keto diet may be good for losing weight and lowering blood pressure in the short term, an analysis in the British Journal of Nutrition in 2013 that evaluates ketogenic diets against low-fat diets for long-term weight loss, He found that these keto diets can also increase LDL cholesterol. Dr. Marcelo Campos questions this assertion in a review of the keto diet in the Harvard Health blog, saying that the predominance of fats and proteins over carbohydrates may encourage greater consumption of less healthy oils and red meats, generally high in fat. saturated, which can lead to potential complications related to heart health.
- The keto diet may result in significant weight loss or better health parameters in some people, however, we are all different and the effects may vary from person to person. In addition, because this diet is very low in carbohydrates, this diet may not be sustainable for people with a very active lifestyle or elite athletes.
In general, more research is needed on the long-term effects of the keto diet, especially in adult humans, since much of the research currently available is based on studies in animals or children with epilepsy.
As we always say: listen to your body and put yourself in the hands of professionals who can give you all the information you need because the best diet for you is undoubtedly the one that best fits your body and lifestyle and, of course, the one that you can continue
A healthy and balanced diet should be based on a wide variety of different foods, rich in nutrients; that is, they provide a large amount of nutrients in exchange for few calories.
Finally: remember that all meals can be incorporated into a healthy diet as long as you do it in moderation and, if you have spent a day, come to burn extra calories to your gym.
Eat healthy, live healthy!
Note: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat overweight or any other disease. Please consult your doctor, inform him of your medical history and if you take medication, before making drastic changes in your diet.