The ketogenic diet uses a low-carbohydrate, high-fat menu to push the body into a metabolic state called “ketosis.” It is a metabolic process in which fat stored in the body is converted into “ketones” that are used for energy. The ketogenic diet has been touted to be the fastest way to weight loss, as well as having a number of other beneficial effects, such as lowering blood glucose levels. A closer look will help you decide if the keto diet is right for you.
The ketogenic diet was first developed in the 1920s as a treatment for epilepsy. The ketones produced by the restriction of carbohydrates in the diet successfully reduced the number of seizures in patients. Further studies suggested other benefits for brain and neurological functions. In addition, the lower levels of carbohydrates also resulted higher production of natural insulin in the body and lower blood glucose levels. This evidence expanded the use of the diet to aid in blood glucose level management in diabetics. The diet also has a beneficial effect on heart disease and tumor growth in cancer.
Foods You Can Eat
On the keto diet, you must limit the amount of carbohydrates you consume to under 50 grams per day. You must also limit proteins, concentrating mainly on fats to provide the bulk of calories. Meat and dairy fats are permitted, as well as healthy monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil and in avocados, or polyunsaturated fats, such as those found in walnuts, fish and sunflower seeds. The diet focuses on meat, fish, cheese, eggs, non-root vegetables, berries and yogurt. All sugar is eliminated from daily consumption.
Benefits for Men
The keto diet can benefit men by lowering bad cholesterol and raising good cholesterol, reducing blood glucose levels and managing weight. The diet can reduce the risk for many cancers, because cancer appears to require sugar for tumor development. Once sugar and other carbohydrates are reduced, insulin levels improve, blood sugar decreases and the individuals enjoy higher energy levels and better brain function.
Benefits for Women
Women are often the first group to discover the benefits of new diets, and this has also been true with the keto diet. Weight loss is faster and with fewer feelings of deprivation. The emphasis on consuming more fat helps women master those sugar cravings that are so common during menstrual cycles. This effect helps to lower blood glucose levels to reduce the risk of developing metabolic syndrome and type-2 diabetes. In addition, consuming less sugar can also reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer.
Side Effects Associated With Ketogenic Diets
Some people may require a period of physical adjustment to the components of the keto diet. They may experience constipation, diarrhea, nausea, headaches and bad breath. Fitness enthusiasts may see a short-term drop in their performance. These also may be some short-term fatigue. However, these effects resolve after a few weeks. Individuals with type-1 or type-2 diabetes should talk to their doctors before going on the keto diet, which can cause unusually high blood glucose levels. Careful monitoring of glucose levels may be necessary for these individuals.
The keto diet offers a number of benefits for those who want a diet that is both effective for weight loss and reasonably easy to sustain. The foods allowed provide the feeling of fullness and satisfaction that keeps you from snacking on high-sugar, high-carbohydrate snacks. Weight loss begins quickly, which gives you the motivation to continue on the diet. These positive aspects are making the keto diet a popular choice.