The ketogenic diet, more commonly known as the keto diet, is becoming very popular among people trying to lose weight. The diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that drastically reduces carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat and puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. On the keto plan, the diet is composed of 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrates. Healthline, a health and wellness website, states, “the body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy,” and “can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.”
There are multiple versions of the keto diet, however the standard (SKD) version is the most researched and most recommended. The diet also may provide various health benefits, especially with metabolic, neurological, or insulin-related diseases. Keto is also a highly effective method of losing weight by boosting metabolism. Mrs. Provenzano, an English teacher at Battlefield High School who has been on a keto diet for around a year and a half, says, “I lost 20 pounds on the diet.” The diet can also promote heart health by reducing cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol levels can increase the risk cardiovascular diseases, and the keto diet’s cholesterol-reducing qualities may result in decreased risk for heart complications. However, reaching these low cholesterol levels can only be achieved by maintaining healthy eating habits, making eating healthful, nutritional foods very important.
On the contrary, the ketogenic diet does have its drawbacks. One side effect of the diet is referred to as the “keto flu”. The symptoms of this sickness can include vomit, gastrointestinal distress, and substantial levels of fatigue. Kristen Kizer, RD, a nutritionist at Houston Methodist Medical Center, explains, “Some people report that when they start ketosis, they just feel sick.” 25% of people who try a keto diet experience these symptoms, fatigue being the most common. Another negative impact of the keto diet includes weight regain. With the diet being so restrictive, health experts do not recommend this diet for the long-term. Most people will regain all of the weight back when they begin to eat carbs again. Another weight-related consequence of the keto diet can be loss of muscle mass, and decreased metabolism, especially if the body is taking in a significant amount of fat related to protein. The weight being lost could actually be muscle, not fat.
It is important to discuss any intended diet plan with a physician or dietitian. The ketogenic diet is very effective in aiding one on the journey of weight loss, but experts only recommend the diet for the short term. The ideal amount of time for the keto diet plan is around 30-90 days. To get the most healthful and most effective results, consuming nutrient-rich, fibrous carbs such as fruits and vegetables, along with nutritious protein sources and healthful fats is essential.