Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is a ketogenic diet safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss. In essence, it is a diet that causes the body to release ketones into the bloodstream. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies the process is called ketosis.
The popular ketogenic diet boasts health benefits and rapid fat loss, but new research suggests that it might not be the best for the long term. With its cult-like following and wellbeing advantages, the ketogenic diet has been at the forefront of the health community and health news in recent years. Celebrities like Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow, have all jumped on the bandwagon and flaunt its benefits through their lean physiques. Despite a few known negative side effects like keto breath, keto crotch and keto flu, the diet is usually in the spotlight for all the good reasons. But new research conducted by Yale University on a group of mice, has caught onto some more serious issues. The short term benefits of the diet include boosting metabolism and burning fat, however the study suggests that the keto diet may have negative effects after just one week. In simple terms, the keto diet tricks the body into burning fat – the amount of calories consumed should almost all come from fats and only one per cent from carbohydrates. Due to the low carb style of eating, the body acts as if it’s in a “starvation state”, whereby the body’s glucose levels are reduced, and it begins to burn fats instead of carbohydrates.
The ketogenic diet has been touted as a major weight loss program, where Instagrammers have documented their keto weight loss success stories to encourage others to join in on the craze and tackle their health and fitness goals. Well, it turns out keto is a bit more complicated, and there are a few common mistakes you could be making that would hinder your progress and make you gain weight instead. A keto diet won’t work if you’re not in a calorie deficit. Before starting any diet, it’s best to meet with a dietitian to determine how many calories you should be eating on a daily basis in order to nourish your body. Your best plan of action is to choose foods with very few carbs, like green leafy veggies or berries, when looking for produce. There are ways to check your ketosis state on your own—to some degree of effectiveness.