The ketogenic diet refers to a diet that is high in fat, sufficient in protein, and low in carbohydrates. The goal is to get more calories from protein and fat than carbohydrates. When there is a shortage of carbohydrates (glucose) for fuel, the body’s glycogen stores are depleted and the main source of energy is fat burning in the liver. There are many studies that prove the benefits of this diet, from weight loss to diabetes control. Here are some of the benefits and side effects of the keto diet:
Support weight loss
Converting fat to energy requires more work than converting carbohydrates to energy. A keto diet with low carbohydrates, the energy that the body needs will be taken from the fat. Because of this, the ketogenic diet can help you lose weight fast. Also, because this meal is high in protein, it won’t leave you hungry like other meals.
Improve heart health
There is some evidence that if you follow a healthy ketogenic diet, with healthy fats like avocados or nuts, your diet may lower cholesterol and improve heart health. Also it’s an increase of levels of HDL “good” cholesterol significantly in people following the ketogenic diet. Just like LDL, “bad” cholesterol is significantly reduced.
It can reduce seizures
The combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates is thought to change the way the body uses energy, leading to ketosis, which is high levels of ketone bodies in the blood. Ketosis can lead to fewer seizures in patients with epilepsy. It appears to be most effective in children with focal seizures, but experts don’t yet know how effective it is. The history of the ketogenic diet began with neurological studies about seizures.
Increase the antioxidant power of the body
Another benefit present in ketogenic diets is their ability to increase the antioxidant power of the body, because ketone bodies favor an antioxidant state in the mitochondria. Their antioxidant capacity allows them to inhibit the formation of oxidant products inside the cells that cause aging and a lot of pathologies.
Protective effect against Covid
It is known that excess weight is associated with a higher risk of both becoming infected with SARS-CoV-2 and developing complications in case of infection. Experts have investigated the relationship of the keto diet with the immune system. As is known, the immune system plays an important role in covid-19, so a keto diet has an important influence on the evolution of this disease.
The results of the investigations show that the ketone bodies present in people who follow the ketogenic diet are immunomodulators, that is, they can help during the SARS CoV-2 infection that causes COVID19.
Insulin levels drop
If you eat a normal diet, eating glucose-containing foods raises your insulin levels, but if you’re in ketosis, your insulin levels drop, says physician and nutrition scientist Steve Hertzler. “It is believed that when insulin levels are low, fatty acids are more easily released from the body’s adipose tissue and converted into fuel,” explains the expert.
You may have discomfort
This diet has some nasty side effects, one of which is known as the “keto flu.” Symptoms usually appear in the first few days. This is because your body gets used to eating fewer carbohydrates. The most common complaints were headache, nausea, numbness, muscle spasms, and fatigue. These symptoms can last up to a week, but there are ways to ease the pain. Drinking enough water and getting enough sleep can help reduce fatigue and cramps.
You may have to carry gum all day. Some people notice changes in their breathing when on a ketogenic diet. One of the ketone bodies produced by the liver is acetone, which has a very strong odor. However, many people with nutritional ketosis do not notice a change in their bad breath, so you can be sure that this is not a guaranteed side effect.
If you don’t monitor your intake of fiber and other nutrients, you may experience digestive problems while on the ketogenic diet due to low intake.Try to take high-fiber, low-carbohydrate supplements to reduce symptoms and avoid these foods that cause constipation.
You will have sugar cravings
Reducing carbs means reducing sugar and natural sugars in foods, so be prepared for sugar cravings, which vary from person to person.
Kidney stones may form
Some doctors believe that following a high-fat diet can promote kidney stone formation. However, not all doctors believe that the ketogenic diet is the only culprit. One of the reasons kidney stones form may be due to a lack of water. Some people can get this disease if they don’t drink enough water and eat a lot of meat. So remember that hydration is important when following this diet.
We have shown you the main benefits and side effects of the keto diet, so you may decide if you are a good candidate to start or not.
“Disclaimer: This article is just information and was not written to give any advice or replace any professional indication. Any doubt you have please consult a doctor”