What I discovered about the Ketogenic Diet

Ketogenic DietI have come to realise that there has been a lot of hype around the Ketogenic diet.  This diet is well-known for being a low carb diet, where your body will produce Ketones in the liver to be used as energy.  Since this is rapidly becoming a popular way of eating around the world, I decided to investigate what it is all about.

Despite the recent hype about the diet, it has been around for longer than you would think.  It has been used to treat children with epilepsy for over 100 years.  In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins was able to popularise the very-low-carb diet for weight loss which was started with a strict two-week ketogenic phase.  Since then it has been incorporated into other fad diets as a fast approach for weight-loss.

What exactly is a ketogenic diet?

To put it simply, a ketogenic diet causes your body to release something called ketones into the bloodstream.  Most of the time, blood sugar comes from carbohydrates, and our bodies use this as the main source of energy.  When we eliminate the carbohydrates, there is an absence of circulating blood sugar from food and our bodies start to break down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies, this is the process known as ketosis.

Once you go through this process, most cells will use those ketone bodies to generate energy until you decide to start feeding your body carbohydrates again.  This process usually takes 2-4 days of eating between 20 to 50 grams of carbs a day!  This is a very individualised process, and for some people, they need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones to make it through the day.

You are essentially starting to eliminate carbs the ketogenic diet is rich in fats and proteins.  You start to introduce plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oil, seeds and fibrous vegetables to your eating habits.  Because carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of any typical diet, this diet can become difficult to stick to long-term. One of the main criticisms I have come across in my research is that people tend to eat too much protein and low-quality fats from processed foods and they tend to forget about the yummy and nutritious fruits and vegetables.  Another important fact I came across is that people who have poor kidneys need to be careful when on this diet as it could worsen their condition.  Other unwelcoming symptoms I have discovered include bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation and sleeping problems.

Are there any benefits to the Ketogenic Diet?

There is solid evidence over the years that show ketogenic diets reduce seizures in children.  Because of these neuroprotective effects, people have started to wonder about the possible positive effects of the keto diet for other brain disorders including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, autism and even going as far as brain cancer.  The main problem is there are no human studies to support the answer if ketosis is the way to treat some of these conditions.

As I understand, weight loss is becoming the primary reason most people are using the ketogenic diet in their lives.  Research has shown that it is a faster way to lose weight when they start out, however weight loss decreases and even disappears over time.  This low carb, high fat diet has also shown to improve blood sugar control for patients who suffer from type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term.  There are even more questions when we start to consider the effect that this kind of eating has on cholesterol levels.  However, even though some people have shown an increase in cholesterol levels with it falling a few months later, there is still no long-term research analysing the effects over time.

Final Thoughts …

Although the ketogenic diet has proven a lot of success in certain areas by treating certain conditions and accelerating weight loss, it can be a difficult change to incorporate over the long term. This diet can also be very heavy in terms of red meat and fatty, processed, and salty foods that are well-known to be unhealthy.  There is also not a lot of research on the long-term effects this kind of eating may have.  It is also important to remember that these “yo-yo diets” and “quick fix” fads that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation have a direct correlation with lifespan.

I am a firm believer that although these popular diets can work for some, living a completely happy and healthy lifestyle requires more than a diet, it requires a sustainable lifestyle change.  A well balanced, natural diet which is rich in colourful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds and lots of water have the best evidence for a longer, happier, healthier more fabulous life.

If you are looking to make this sustainable change in your life, I can help you start making the changes step by step and also help you to learn more about looking after and balancing your hormones – guaranteeing you a healthier lifestyle you can manage easily.

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