The keto diet is the new diet craze in town. You most probably have heard of it by now, but if you don’t know the ins and outs of it yet, don’t panic. We’re here to tell you all about keto, along with the pros and cons of adopting this diet.
What is a Keto Diet?
A keto diet is a low carb diet that emphasizes fats as a source of energy as opposed to sugar. Normally, an average person will have 50% carbs in their diet, 15% proteins, and 35% fats.
In a ketogenic diet, this is reversed. Instead, you will have a diet that’s 70 to 75% fats, 5% carbs, and 20 to 25% protein.
As much as you might think that the keto diet is new, it has been around for quite a while. In fact, it has its roots in childhood epilepsy. Doctors back in the 1920s found out that when a child’s body is in ketosis, their frequency of refractory seizures was reduced considerably.
Ketosis is a state in which the body shifts from relying on glucose as the source of energy to burning fats as its main source of energy. The fat that’s burned produces ketones that fuel your body instead.
You might be wondering: if the keto diet has been around for that long, why the comeback now? Well, obesity, that’s why. Obesity has become a global pandemic. More people now more than ever are dying of weight-related diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Now that we have looked at what the keto diet is, let’s look at some of the pros and cons of going on the keto diet.
Keto Diet Pros and Cons
Here are some of the reasons you should consider going on the keto diet for yourself.
Helps manage insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is a situation where your body’s cells no longer respond to insulin as they should. As a result, your body cannot properly regulate your blood sugar levels. If this continues, then you end up getting Type 2 diabetes, which means you will need insulin shots to regulate your blood sugar.
Because going into keto shifts your body away from sugar as a source of energy, the keto diet helps a lot in lowering your blood sugar levels.
One of the major reasons why the keto diet is super popular today is that it’s proven to be very effective for weight loss.
This is partly because of ketosis, but there’s more to it than that. When your meals are mainly fatty foods, they take a long time to digest. This means you feel satiated for longer. You don’t feel as hungry as you normally would, and as a result, you snack less.
Also, when your body is using sugar as fuel, you feel hungry every time the sugar levels in your blood go down. When you are burning fat for energy, your body will never run out of fats to burn. In fact, you even burn fat even when your body is inactive, like when you are sleeping.
No need to track your caloric intake
The keto diet is different from other low carb diets because you no longer have to count your calories. If you have been on a diet before, you know how keeping track of calories can be tedious and annoying.
With the keto diet, you can eat as much as you want whenever you are hungry, without worrying about your daily calorie intake.
Helps with cancer
The keto diet has shown a lot of promise with cancer. There is a lot of research that still needs to be carried out as far as this is concerned, but so far, the results are promising.
The argument is that cancer cells use a lot of glucose to replicate, about 200 times more than normal cells. By denying them glucose, you diminish their ability to replicate, which keeps cancer in check.
Cons of the keto diet
Everything so far sounds like sunshine and rainbows, but there are always two sides to a coin. So, what are the cons of the ketogenic diet?
When you decide to switch to the keto diet, your body takes a few days to get into ketosis. During this time, people have reported experiencing some negative effects like irritability, brain fog, and fatigue, among others. This is what many people are referring to as the “keto flu.” During this period, many people relapse into their previous diet.
It’s hard to stick to
Being on the keto diet means you have to give up most of the foods you are used to. For it to work, your body needs to stay in ketosis at all times, which can be hard to maintain. Hidden sugars used in sweetening food, especially in restaurants, can quickly kick your body out of ketosis.
You also need to track your macronutrients, to make sure that the ratios are right. Having too many proteins can kick your body out of ketosis too.
For most people, carbs are cheap and affordable. They are also readily available and more filling in a lot of cases.
Going into a keto diet means you no longer have the convenience that comes with carbs. The foods that you need to eat when in the keto diet are much more expensive for the average person. This makes this diet less viable for some people.
As I have already mentioned, going into a keto diet requires that you cut out a lot of the foods you are used to. This includes some starchy veggies and fruit like bananas. As a result, you are left with a very narrow pool to choose from. This can deprive your body of the essential nutrients found in these fruits and vegetables. You might need to take supplements as a result.
Having a diet with more proteins than the body is used to – like you’ll experience with keto – can add more stress to your kidneys, which may result in problems like kidney stones.
The keto diet has its advantages and disadvantages. If you want to try it, it can be transformative for your life, but you have to adhere to it. We’re here to help you make the right diet decision for weight loss and long-term health!