Keto Diet Benefits for Weight Loss: Throughout history, people have been finding creative ways on how to lose weight. Today’s generation is no different. Diet plans like the paleo diet or the raw vegan diet are a few that people have come up with and have created a significant following.
One of these diets that have gained popularity is the ketogenic diet, or more commonly known as the keto diet.
The history of the keto diet goes back to the 1920s when the diet was introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in children. It was said that a diet low in sugar and high in fat alters the ‘excitability’ of the brain, thus reducing the chances of seizures.
The diet was successful as it reduced the occurrence of seizures by 50% in half of the children who partook in the keto diet.
Asides from treating seizures, the keto diet was used to monitor patients with cancer, polycystic ovarian syndrome, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Keto exploded in popularity as a mainstream diet around the late 2000s, but unlike other fad diets, the keto diet has scientific research done to see the results of this diet on the body.
There are several versions of the keto diet, but the most well-known and well-studied is the Standard ketogenic diet (SKD). This diet typically consists of 70% fat, 20% protein, and 10% carbs.
To understand why the keto diet is so effective in losing weight, we must first discuss what ketosis is and what it can do to the body to make it lose weight.
Keto Diet Benefits for Weight Loss: What is Ketosis and Its Effects?
The keto diet is known to induce a metabolic state in the body called ketosis. In a normal diet, sugar, or glucose, supplies energy to the cells in our body.
Glucose is found in carbohydrates. But because the keto diet eliminates carbs as much as possible, the body undergoes a state of ketosis. Instead of using sugars, the body will use the stored fat as a source of energy.
Ketosis is the state that people want to achieve when doing a keto diet. Blood, urine, and breath tests are ways to find out if your body is undergoing ketosis.
When a person wants to achieve this metabolic state, they usually have to consume a lot of fat. While protein is advised in a keto diet, it also must be limited because the protein in the body can turn into glucose.
Intermittent fasting, which is limiting the window of time for when you can eat in a day, is also effective in achieving ketosis.
Symptoms of ketosis include:
Short-term fatigue and decrease of energy
Thirst and frequent urination
Muscle cramps and spasms
While the symptoms sound worrying, they usually go away when the body adjusts.
Keto Diet Benefits for Weight Loss: The Keto Diet and Weight Loss
Studies about the keto diet have shown that it is effective in losing weight in the short term. There are theories as to why a person loses weight when doing the keto diet.
Some studies suggest that because carbohydrates are linked to sugar, increase insulin resistance, and diabetes, eliminating them can help the body become insulin sensitive and cause weight loss.
People who undergo ketosis also claim that they have a decrease in appetite, thus leading to a calorie deficit. Finally, there have been theories that ketone in the body naturally reduces hunger, so people eat less and lose more weight.
Foods to Eat and Foods to Avoid
Generally speaking, the keto diet promotes healthy fats and proteins while slashing out carbs and simple sugars.
Foods that are included and promoted in a keto diet include meat rich in protein, foods like fish, nuts, and seeds that are rich in omega-3, eggs, dairy products, healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil, avocados, low-carb vegetables, and spices.
On the other hand, foods that are loaded with carbs and sugar should be limited. These include desserts, sodas, wheat-based products, rice, pasta, carb-rich fruits, root crops, processed food, alcohol, and ‘sugar-free’ diet foods.
The keto diet has plenty of benefits. The diet can help lower the risk of different diseases and can assist in weight loss. Studies have shown that a keto diet is more effective than a low-fat diet when it comes to weight loss, with people doing the former diet losing 2 pounds (0.9 kg) more than the latter.
The keto diet has also shown to be beneficial for people who are diabetic and prediabetic. The diet helps control blood sugar and insulin sensitivity because it slashes out carbs from the food choices.
Keto also improves symptoms of PCOS, helps fight off cancer, improves heart health, and lowers risks of Alzheimer’s.
However, there are pitfalls when it comes to following the diet. A keto diet can be hard to maintain due to the extreme symptoms of ketosis. A keto diet can cause digestive issues like constipation and the occurrence of ‘brain fog.’ A strict low-carb, high-fat diet is also difficult to maintain in social settings.
Not a lot of restaurants cater to keto diets and people, in general, can have different diets and restrictions from you. And while keto can improve your health and help avoid illnesses, there are also risks for other issues like kidney stones, osteoporosis, and an increased level of uric acid.
Not to mention that since you are cutting out a whole food group, you can lose a lot of important nutrients such as vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Keto Diet Benefits for Weight Loss: Conclusion
The keto diet is an effective way to lose weight in the short term. It has evidence to suggest that it can help cut calories, improve insulin levels, and lower risks for different diseases. However, a keto diet is not an advisable lifestyle to stay on for the long term.
A person may have deficiencies if they only rely on fats and proteins and the symptoms of ketosis may affect a person’s day-to-day life.
Everybody’s body is different, so while a keto diet may work for one person, it may not always work for someone else. Talking to a dietitian before starting a diet and lifestyle change is important to gauge how many calories and nutrients you need in a day.
Swapping to a less restrictive diet like a Mediterranean diet can also be helpful. Overall, the keto diet is good under the surveillance of a health expert, and its benefits for weight loss can be reaped if done correctly and in moderation.