KETO DIET 101 – A GUIDE TO THE PROS & CONS

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I'm Dr. Anne Truong, MD

Dr. Anne Truong is a highly respected physician, best-selling author and internationally sought-after speaker on the topics of regenerative cell medicine, pain management, and applications for aesthetics and sexuality.

The ‘keto’ diet or ‘ketogenic’ food and its health benefits is all the rage. It’s all over social media each and every day with recipes, food packaging and advertisements for this latest diet craze.

With celebrities endorsing it through all fanfare and display, it’s no wonder the keto diet has gained sufficient ground as the new ‘it-thing’ in the world of health, fitness, and wellness.

And why not? When nutritionists back up this claim with health results, everyone wants to do it.

All we can say is it’s too early to decide. You need to know the bigger picture. While the term ‘keto’ sounds oh-so-chic and trendy, there’s more information you need to know before jumping into this diet.

There are pros and cons to the keto diet and the effectiveness depends on your body’s nutritional level and your physical fitness goals.

The ketogenic diet – Its composition and nutrition

Keto is a diet that comprises low to no carbohydrates. This stimulates the natural process of ketosis (acid state) to provide your body with the required energy.  The consumed calories come from the fat in your food. Here’s a break-up of the nutritional count that your body undergoes when it’s on a keto diet.

— Fat – Up to 75%
— Protein – Up to 20%
— Carbohydrate – Up to 5%

This nutritional mix allows your body to start with the ketosis process, whereby the food fat is burned to produce energy instead of the carbs.

Advantages of a ketogenic diet

It aids in weight loss
With the consumption of a ketogenic diet, your body enters into the process of fat burning, thus promoting the loss of fat. Long term consumption results in weight loss.

It leads to the enhancement of satiation and suppresses  appetite
Remember the carb-cravings that you have in the middle of the night? Well, it’s mostly because your body lacks the required energy at the time.
With keto diet rich in fat, the body gets a consistent supply of energy that results in the feeling of satiation and resists sudden cravings.

It results in cholesterol reduction
As per the studies, the keto diet boosts the production of good cholesterol (HDL) in the body and results in the reduction of bad cholesterol (LDL). It has also been found to result in the conversion of bad cholesterol into a benign one. A boost in HDL thus leads to the protection against heart diseases as well and reduces their risk.

Your body’s blood pressure can be maintained
Maintaining a diet low in carbohydrate results in a positive effect on blood pressure.

Its consumption leads to increased cognitive function
Improvement in cognitive function is one of the best perks of adopting a ketogenic diet in your daily life. With fat being converted into ketones and transported to the brain, the ability of this compound to breach the brain-blood barrier enables it to provide the brain cells with energy, thus boosting cognitive function.

It leads to the enhancement of sleep, energy, and mood
People who have been on a keto diet for a long time have also experienced improved sleep, enhancement in mood, and the overall energy level of their body. It has also been found to improve a person’s alertness.

A ketogenic diet however also comes with a few disadvantages. As people are less aware of its cons, it becomes necessary to know the ‘other’ aspect of this well-acclaimed diet to make an informed decision.

Disadvantages of a keto diet

It may lead to nutrient deficiency
As the diet entirely excludes the group of whole foods, it leads to a lack of nutrients specifically present in these foods. So, if you are following a keto diet plan, it is essential to go for the right mix of food groups that provide the maximum of a nutritional blend.

It becomes difficult to sustain this diet for long
As keto diet follows strict adherence to specific foods, people often find it challenging to stick to it in the long run.

Not following its adaptation process can lead to discomfort
Unlike other diet plans, shifting to a ketogenic diet can be quite discomforting for individuals if they do not follow the adaptation process designed for it. It is because the body may not be able to adjust to a sudden change in available nutrition, which results in flu-like symptoms such as –

— Fatigue
— Headache
— Muscle ache
— Nausea

It may result in gastrointestinal irregularity
Irregularity in gastrointestinal functions is another disadvantage of switching to a keto diet. It is primarily because of a dramatic influx of fat and a sudden decrease in carbohydrate level in the body, which may also result in diarrhea or constipation.

As you see, although the cons do not outweigh the pros of a keto diet, they can still have a significant impact on the body. The good news is that these aspects can be brought well under control by following a smooth process of transition from your daily food habits to a keto diet.

So, give it a shot and adapt the uber-cool ‘ketogenic foods’ in your daily life to achieve your health goals!

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