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What is Keto Diet and its Health Benefits

What is Keto Diet

Health

What is Keto Diet and its Health Benefits

What is Keto Diet: Your Detailed Guide to Keto

The ketogenic diet, popularly known as the keto diet, is a high-fat and low-carb meal plan that offers a great range of health benefits. It majorly focuses on getting more calories from healthful fats than carbohydrates. From supporting weight loss to reducing risks of cancer, a keto diet is healthy in many ways. However, it also has some severe side-effects, such as keto flu, heart damage, etc.  Is it safe for you?

Eating low-carbohydrate diets have been a matter of debate since the days of Atkins. But now a stricter-version of a low-carb diet called a keto diet is gaining popularity among health-conscious individuals. The rising trends of the keto diet are also due to the best-selling food books promoted by celebrities and renowned social media influencers. They say the diet can help lose weight, improve the levels of blood sugar, and treat symptoms of Type 2 diabetes. 

Supporting the claims, several studies in the recent past noted that people who followed a ketogenic diet lost more weight than those who consumed low-fat foods.  

 

 

What is a Keto Diet

Similar to the Atkins and low-carb diets, a keto diet is low in carbohydrates and high in healthy fat. But while people having the Atkins diet gradually increase their carb intake over time, followers of the keto diet limit carbs and protein for a long time. 

A typical keto diet may have only 10% calories from carbohydrates, while the rest is fulfilled through fat. The drastic reduction in carbohydrate intake puts the body in a metabolic state, which is known as ketosis. In this situation, your body depends on fat for energy. 

 

History of Keto Diet 

Fasting and dietary regimens have been used since 500 BC to treat conditions like epilepsy. To support these practices and offer an alternative to non-mainstream fasting, the ketogenic diet was created during the 1920s by modern physicians. The technique to control the intake of carbohydrates and fats was widely used for around two decades. However, the revolution in antiepileptic drug treatment affected the popularity of the ketogenic diet for a long time. 

In the last three decades, an explosion has been noticed in the use of a keto diet.  

 

Types of Keto Diets

There are four main versions of the ketogenic diet. They include:

  • Standard ketogenic diet: Also called SKD, it is very low in carbs, high in fat, and moderate in protein. The diet ratio can be 5% carbs, 75% healthy fat, and 20% protein. 
  • Targeted ketogenic diet: TKD is combined with a workout routine to consume a desired proportion of carbs.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet: Known as CKD, the keto diet involves a low-carb plan for five days, followed by two days of high-carb meals. 
  • High-protein ketogenic diet: As the name suggests, the diet includes more proportions of protein than a standard keto diet. Here, the ratio can be 5% carbs, 60% healthy fat, and 30% protein. 

 

Where is Keto Diet Helpful 

Earlier, the keto diet was supposed to support treatment for epilepsy. Over time, researchers found that the approach had properties to help in various kinds of health conditions. 

In 2012, Dr. Gianfranco Cappello from the Sapienza University in Rome studied the effects of ketosis on weight loss. The researcher noticed that a ketogenic diet could be a helpful approach for overweight individuals to shed some pounds with minimal side effects. His research included  19,000 obese or overweight participants. 

Apart from weight loss, a keto diet can be beneficial for health in numerous ways. 

  • It Helps Treat Acne

If acne has been a long-term problem for you, try a keto diet. There could be many reasons behind acne, and diet is one of them. Consuming a meal that contains refined carbohydrates can imbalance gut bacteria and affect the blood sugar levels, which results in poor skin health. 

A study in 2012 noted that a ketogenic diet could significantly decrease carbohydrate intake and treat the symptoms of acne.  

  • It Reduces Seizures

The ratio of carbs, fat, and protein in a keto diet decides how the body gets the required energy. A ketogenic diet results in ketosis, which makes the body use ketone bodies for energy.    

As per a report by the Epilepsy Foundation, ketosis metabolic process effectively reduces seizures in individuals with epilepsy.  

  • It Improves Heart Health

A person who follows a keto diet replaces unhealthy fat sources like pork rinds with healthy fats, such as avocados, that help reduce cholesterol and improve heart health. 

In 2017, a review of multiple studies on a keto diet concluded that people who decreased bad cholesterol and increased high-density lipoprotein in their diet had dropped levels of total cholesterol. High cholesterol levels are associated with cardiovascular disease. The review also stressed the importance of a healthful, nutritionally balanced diet for a healthy heart. 

  • It May Reduce Risks of Cancer

Researchers have examined the effectiveness of a ketogenic diet in preventing or treating certain cancers. A study in 2018 discovered that the diet approach reduced the levels of blood sugar and insulin complications in participants. Insulin controls blood sugar that is a primary cause of some cancers.  

Another study suggested that a keto diet could be used as a complementary approach to use with standard cancer treatments to increase their effectiveness.

 

Foods to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

It is a low-carb, high-fat diet that limits the daily intake of carbohydrates to as low as 20 grams. There are several nutritious foods that help control your carb intake and supply energy to the body.

Here are healthy foods to eat on a keto diet.  

  • Low-carb vegetables
  • Cheese and cottage cheese
  • Seafood
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Berries
  • Avocado
  • Egg
  • Olive oil, coconut oil

 

Ketogenic Diet Risks 

The ketogenic diet offers a wide range of health benefits. However, it has its fair share of risks and complications. Some health problems associated with the low-carb diet are:

  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Fat buildup in the liver
  • Kidney stone

 

Takeaway

The ketogenic diet can support your weight goals, protect your heart, and decrease the risks of several ailments. However, it is necessary to ensure that you do not have health complications that restrict your body to follow a low-carb diet. Consult your doctor before going on a keto diet!

See Related Article: Foods to eat while dieting

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