Low carbohydrate (keto diet) for weight loss: The good, the bad and the ugly

For some weight watchers, the term Keto diet is pretty familiar but in case you don’t know about it, let’s break it down.

Keto diet 101:

  • Let’s assume you eat yam, rice and other carbohydrate foods. These foods are broken down into glucose which is the body’s primary source of energy.
  • But when you eat no carbs or very little carbs, the body has to find an alternative source of energy.
  • It’s a lot like taking like PHCN taking the light and we have to turn on the generator because life must go on.
  • In the absence of carbs the body converts stored body fats into energy. This process releases ketones into the blood (Ketosis)

In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss

The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Meals in a Keto diet

Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats.

It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.

Most fruits are not allowed in a strict Keto diet. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run.

So does the Keto diet work?

The good:

  • Induces Rapid weight loss because the body converts stored fat into energy
  • It can be used to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children.
  • A ketogenic diet also has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes.
  • Because of these neuroprotective effects, questions have been raised about the possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer.

 

  • The Ketone diet is an appetite suppressant, this is especially beneficial to weight watchers.

 

The bad

  • One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables
  • Bad breath is a common side affect
  • nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems

 

The Ugly:

  • Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition.
  • Megan Hefford, a 25-year-old bodybuilder, was found unconscious on June 19 in her Mandurah, Western Australia, apartment, Days later, Hefford was pronounced dead. Only after her death did her family learn that had a rare genetic disorder that prevented her body from properly metabolizing her high-protein diet.
  • Urea cycle disorder, which causes a deficiency of one enzyme in the urea cycle, stops the body from breaking down protein, according to the nonprofit National Urea Cycle Disorders Foundation.
  • Excessive buildup of Ketones in the blood when the body converts stored fat for energy can lead to Ketoacidosis. This condition can cause a coma or death.

 

So Keto diet: Do or not

I personally would take this advice from Dr. David Ludwig MD, PhD, and a professor in the Department of Nutrition at Harvard

“The key public health challenge today is to reduce intake of all highly processed carbohydrates in favor of whole carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables, legumes and minimally processed grains) and healthful fats (like nuts, avocado and olive oil).”

Replacing added sugars and refined starchy foods with unprocessed carbohydrate, healthful fats and proteins may provide many of the benefits of a very low carbohydrate diet, without having to eliminate an entire class of nutritious (and delicious) foods.

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