It seems like there’s always a new diet trend that becomes the talk of the town, and then just as quickly as that one comes, it’s replaced with another. These diets also tend to be controversial, with people claiming each one is the ultimate way to lose weight and others saying that they’re dangerous. This holds true for the newest diet to be sweeping through society: the ketogenic, or keto, diet. We’re breaking down the facts about the keto diet so you can stay informed.
The keto diet focuses on high-fat foods and an extremely limited amount of carbs. Participants should eat non-starchy vegetables, a moderate amount of fatty proteins, and a lot of healthy fats, including nuts, avocados, and coconut and olive oils.
In a traditional diet that contains carbs, the body converts carbohydrates into glucose to use as a fuel source. This fuel gives the body energy to function as well as perform physical and mental tasks. When the body isn’t getting enough carbs to create energy for itself, such as with the keto diet, it looks for another type of fuel. The body will enter a state of ketosis, where fat is the substance used for energy rather than carbohydrates or glucose. In short, this diet causes your body to switch into a fat-burning mode.
A study published in 2004 illustrated that obese people who followed a long-term keto diet lost weight, increased their levels of good cholesterol, and decreased their levels of bad cholesterol. However, the dietary choices a person makes while on the keto diet can have a negative impact on their health. If someone on the diet were to skip over the non-starchy vegetables and eat a substantial amount of processed foods and meats, they wouldn’t be doing their bodies any favors. Instead, they would be increasing their risk of heart disease. Due to the restrictive nature of the keto diet, it also puts people at a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies and constipation, among other side effects.
In addition, certain people shouldn’t attempt the keto diet, including pregnant and nursing women, people who have kidney, liver, or heart conditions, and those who have experienced an eating disorder.
Before starting a new diet, always be sure to speak with your Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group primary care physician to see if it’s a safe and healthy option for you. If the keto diet isn’t for you, your primary care physician can work with you to develop a customized weight-loss plan to help you reach your goals and achieve better health. If you’re unable to attain a healthy weight through diet and exercise alone, you might qualify for bariatric surgery. Learn more about the weight loss procedures offered at St. Luke’s Health.
Healthline | 16 Foods to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet
U.S. News and World Report | What is Keto Diet?
U.S. News and World Report | Does Keto Diet have any health risks?
Harvard Health Publishing | Should you try the keto diet?
Healthline | The Keto Diet Is Gaining Popularity, but Is It Safe?
NCBI | Long-term effects of a ketogenic diet in obese patients
Harvard Health Publishing | Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?
Everyday Health | The 11 Biggest Keto Diet Dangers You Need to Know About
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