Recently, the keto diet is gaining popularity among people who want to lose weight and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Often, clients who have previously tried to adhere to a given meal plan or want to learn more about it come to a dietitian consultation. Today we will tell you all about the keto diet, its pros and cons, the risks associated with it, and the effect on the body.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is based on the consumption of some proteins and fats, where the former make up 1/3 of the diet, and the latter 2/3. Carbohydrates are completely excluded. Only the use of green leafy vegetables with a low glycemic index in an amount of no more than 20-50 g per day is allowed (this does not mean the weight of vegetables, but the amount of carbohydrates in them). In addition, to prevent constipation in the absence of plant dietary fiber, it is allowed to add a little powdered pharmaceutical fiber to food.
The main goal of such a nutritional system is to start the process of ketosis – the breakdown of lipids from the body fat and use them as the main source of energy.
When switching to a keto diet, something like the following happens to a person:
• in 2-3 days of complete absence of carbohydrates in the diet, the body consumes all reserves of glucose and glycogen, as a result of which oxaloacetate, a substance necessary for normal fat oxidation in the Krebs cycle and delivering glucose to the central nervous system, ceases;
• after 3 days of such nutrition, the central nervous system and the brain send a signal that the body needs an alternative source of energy, ketosis starts, that is, the breakdown of fat stored in reserves;
• the concentration of ketone bodies in urine and blood increases sharply, which manifests itself in the form of acetone syndrome (the smell of acetone begins to emanate from the mouth and from the body, it is determined by special tests);
• the emerging ketone bodies are used by tissues and organs as a source of energy, a person begins to actively lose weight by reducing subcutaneous adipose tissue.
With a standard diet, the body draws energy mainly from carbohydrates. Part of the glucose obtained from them is spent on human life support, the rest is stored in glycogen depots, and when they are full, it goes to fat accumulations.
However, it should be borne in mind that with a keto diet, you should still adhere to a certain calorie intake, since the main condition for losing weight is a calorie deficit. If you consume 3,000 kcal of proteins and lipids per day, and spend only 2,000 kcal, the rest will still go into fat and excess weight. Here the body cannot be deceived.
Features of the diet on a keto diet
The following foods are allowed on the keto diet:
• Fish and seafood;
• natural cottage cheese;
• vegetable oils (source of unsaturated fatty acids);
• a small amount of green leafy vegetables (no more than 20–50 g of carbohydrates can be obtained from this category per day).The following foods are prohibited on the keto diet:• milk;
• any vegetables and fruits;
• bread and other baked goods;
• sweets and cooking;
• sauces, dressings, ketchups;
• finished products containing carbohydrates;
• sugary drinks, juices, compotes, etc.
Pros of the keto diet
If we talk about the positive aspects of this type of nutrition, then we can highlight the following:1. A large amount of protein and fat in the diet creates a feeling of fullness, which makes it easier to endure dietary restrictions.
2. There is no need to switch to a low–calorie menu, the main thing is to remove all carbohydrates from it.
3. There is no strong appetite due to the absence of surges in blood sugar and a decrease in the production of ghrelin – a hormone that causes hunger.
4. Lipogenesis decreases and lipolysis increases.
5. It turns out to achieve weight loss due to body fat, while the muscle mass remains, as there is enough protein.
6. There is no need to starve or spend fasting days, which makes it psychologically easy to tolerate such a diet, there is no desire to overeat after it stops.
7. If you follow this diet for at least a few months, and then switch to a balanced diet, a long–term effect of weight correction is observed, that is, the extra pounds do not come back, as happens with many other restrictive meal plans (this rule only works when the permissible calorie content of the diet is not exceeded).
Cons of the keto diet
Now let’s talk about the negative aspects associated with this diet:1. Several food groups are excluded from the diet at once, which is not easy for lovers of vegetables and fruits.
2. There may be a lack of vitamins and minerals against the background of the exclusion of almost all plant foods (additional intake of complex vitamin preparations and dietary supplements will be required).
3. Due to the lack of fiber in the menu, problems with digestion may occur, in particular, chronic constipation will appear.
4. A large amount of animal fats leads to an increase in blood cholesterol levels and the gradual development of atherosclerosis with the corresponding consequences.
5. This food system is not suitable for vegetarians and raw foodists.
6. You will have to completely exclude any sweets and pastries from the menu.
7. With the onset of ketosis, acetone is found in urine and blood, and the consequences of acetone syndrome can be very sad, starting with an increase in body temperature, ending with a loss of strength, a complete lack of appetite and thirst, followed by severe dehydration.
8. Lack of glucose from the breakdown of carbohydrates leads to problems with the work of the brain, deteriorates concentration of attention, memory, increases irritability.
9. It is impossible to work mentally with this diet.
10. An additional load is created on the digestive organs, since protein and fatty foods are more difficult to digest, this requires a much larger amount of digestive enzymes.
11. If the drinking regime is not observed (if the volume of water drunk is less than 2 liters per day), the negative effect of ketosis on the body increases, and significant dehydration develops rapidly, requiring immediate hospitalization.
12. Any restrictive diet can affect disruptions in the hormonal system and metabolism.
Who is prohibited from the keto diet?
The described power system is strictly prohibited:• with type 1 diabetes;
• pregnant and lactating mothers;
• people with a diseased thyroid gland;
• those who have disorders in the functioning of the kidneys, liver, and digestive tract organs;
• people with gout and those who suffer from problems with protein digestion.Whatever decision you make, remember that the most ideal way to lose weight is to switch to a correct balanced diet, adherence to the daily caloric intake, regular physical activity, adherence to a clear daily regimen and quitting bad habits, including food. Good luck!