Keto Diet Pros And Cons Webmd

The Proven Health Benefit Of Keto: Treating Epilepsy In Children

The Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet

The keto diet has a massive fan base that has grown at least in part due to the popular Netflix documentary The Magic Pill, which touts a trove of promising keto health benefits. But the fact of the matter is that most of the studies on the keto diet are premature. Meaning: Theyre in small populations of humans, or theyre in rats.

The only clear and proven health benefit of the keto diet is reducing epileptic seizures in children. In fact, doctors have been using keto therapeutically for this purpose since the 1920s.

Benefits Of The Paleo Diet

If youre looking for a diet to help you eat less processed foods, the paleo diet might work. Benefits of trying the paleo diet include:

Eating less processed foods. The biggest selling point of the paleo diet is its insistence on cutting out processed foods. There are negative health effects linked to eating these foods.

Weight loss. One of the main benefits of the paleo diet is fast weight loss. Studies have shown that by following this plan youre likely to see a body mass index decrease and a waist size reduction.

Cardiovascular health. Some studies have shown that the paleo diet lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease. Since the paleo diet helps you lose weight and decrease BMI, your blood pressure and total cholesterol levels are reduced.

Blood sugar regulation. Restricting dairy, refined sugar, and carbohydrates from your diet can help regulate your blood sugar and reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.


Keto Recipes Easy Keto Dinner Recipes

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What Do You Eat

Because the keto diet has such a high fat requirement, followers must eat fat at each meal. In a daily 2,000-calorie diet, that might look like 165 grams of fat, 40 grams of carbs, and 75 grams of protein. However, the exact ratio depends on your particular needs.

Some healthy unsaturated fats are allowed on the keto diet like nuts , seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. But saturated fats from oils , lard, butter, and cocoa butter are encouraged in high amounts.

Protein is part of the keto diet, but it doesn’t typically discriminate between lean protein foods and protein sources high in saturated fat such as beef, pork, and bacon.

What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits in small portions. Vegetables are restricted to leafy greens , cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.

What Is A Keto Diet

Pin by Lottie Sanders on Keto

The keto diet may sound trendy, but it has been around for a while. It first surfaced in the 1920s. Originally, doctors recommended it to help with conditions like epilepsy and diabetes. But today, some people use the keto diet to lose weight.

For many Americans, carbs like breads, pasta, or potatoes make up more than 50% of their daily diet. Your body breaks down the glucose found in carbs to fuel your body with energy.

In the keto diet, the goal is to swap out the glucose calories with fat. In a typical keto diet, your nutrition centers on fatty foods. They’ll make up anywhere from 60% to 80% of your daily calories. Proteins make up 15% to 20%. Carbs are restricted to no more than 50 grams. This makes it quite a restrictive diet.

Studies show that those who follow the low-carb keto diet are more likely to lose weight within the first 3 to 6 months than they would if they followed a more balanced diet. But because the keto diet calls for drastic changes in your daily diet, it’s best to ask your doctor or a nutritionist if it’s right for you before you get started.

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The Short Term Side Effects Include:

1. During the transition phase, when the body switches over its fuel supply from glucose to ketones, it experiences flu-like symptoms, also called Keto-flu.

2. During the first few days, the body loses a lot of water, sodium and other minerals like potassium, magnesium etc. Infact, the initial weight lost is due to water loss and not fat loss. The symptoms are dehydration, frequent urination, excessive thirst, dizziness, drowsiness, headaches and muscle cramps.

3. Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is another side effect. The noticeable symptoms during the transition phase include fatigue, hunger, confusion, anxiety, irritability, tachycardia, light-headedness, shakiness, sweating and chills.

Also read: Exercising On Keto Diet: Do’s And Don’ts To Follow

Other side effects include:

4. Smelly breath – Acetone is one of the ketone bodies and it has a characteristically fruity smell similar to that of a nail-polish remover.

5. Constipation – is a common side effect in the beginning due to dehydration and drastic change in diet composition. Occasionally, some people also experience diarrhea due to high fat diet.

6. Disturbed sleep.

However, there can be some more serious long-term side effects too:

7. The level of lipids and cholesterol in the blood increases due to high fat intake.

8. Acidosis causes the bone to demineralize and erode. It increases the risk of bone injury and fracture.

It’s Advertised As A Weight

In the world of weight-loss diets, low-carbohydrate, high-protein eating plans often grab attention. The Paleo, South Beach, and Atkins diets all fit into that category. They are sometimes referred to as ketogenic or “keto” diets.

But a true ketogenic diet is different. Unlike other low-carb diets, which focus on protein, a keto plan centers on fat, which supplies as much as 90% of daily calories. And it’s not the type of diet to try as an experiment.

“The keto diet is primarily used to help reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children. While it also has been tried for weight loss, only short-term results have been studied, and the results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, nor whether it’s safe,” warns registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

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How The Keto Diet May Help With Weight Loss

But the No. 1 reason people adopt the keto diet nowadays? Weight loss.

Initially, the weight loss comes from loss of water because you cut down on carbs in your diet and your body uses up the carbohydrates stored in the liver, which hold onto water. The diet results in further weight loss because it encourages you to load up on whole, high-fat foods, Nisevich Bede says.

By cutting carbs, youll also cut sugar and simple, refined carbohydrates, which means a steadier supply of energy. Once their bodies are used to the diet, The first thing people report is, Oh my gosh, I have this steady energy and I dont have the need to snack at 3 p.m. because my energy is waning, Nisevich Bede says. Research published in January 2015 in the journal Obesity Review showed that the keto diet may lead to fewer hunger pangs and a lower desire to eat.

So What Is Keto Anyway

Keto Diet Pros, Cons And Tips For Making It Work

The keto diet is a very low- or no-carb food plan that forces the body into a state of ketosis, which is when your body burns fat for energy instead of carbohydrates. Many keto diets limit the amount of food you should eat, like any other weight-loss plan, but with keto the type of food you can eat is just as important as the quantity.

So what can you eat on the keto diet? Get ready to feast on fish, other seafood, low-carb vegetables , cheese, meat, poultry, eggs, plain yogurt, and of course fats. The foods youll be forgoing include fruits, grains , legumes and anything with added sugar.

On a standard ketogenic diet, your calories should be made up of 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrate. This is unlike most typical American diets, and can be a hard adjustment for many people.

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The Pros And Cons Of The Keto Diet According To Doctors And Nutritionists

No doubt youve already heard about the ketogenic diet, also known as keto. Whole Pinterest boards and Instagram accounts are dedicated to the trend, and it has some pretty famous followers, including Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian.

Before you give it a go, youll want to know what it involves, how it works and, most importantly, what nutritionists and doctors think about the keto diet.

What To Consider When Choosing Between Paleo And Keto Diets

When deciding on the best diet for you, think about whats sustainable. You should talk to your doctor or nutritionist about the right diet plan for you.

The paleo diet can be healthy by getting you to focus on the current processed foods youre eating. However, its a starting point. Eating a lot of fatty meats can have the opposite effect.

If the keto diet interests you more, make sure youre keeping your doctor in the loop. You should focus on a healthy balance of the foods available to you.

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Make Certain Your Keto Diet Is Well Formulated

While like any diet, you need to find the right proportion and balance of macronutrients in order for your body to begin burning accumulated fat rather than stored glucose.

The amount of fat you eat when following a keto diet is quite a bit higher than on most other diets. Youll want to aim to consume about 60 to 75% of your calories come from dietary fat and 15 to 30% protein, with the remaining calories for carbs, says Sharon Zarabi, RD, director of the bariatric program at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“There is still some debate on the effects of saturated fats and what constitutes a healthy dose. There has been quite a bit of buzz around grass-fed cows producing cream, dairy, and butter. Ghee has been popular on the market as well, as a clarified form of butter,” Ms. Zarabi says. “It’s really the trans fats that I think people need to understand and the harmful effects on the heart and cholesterol.”

It’s really the trans fats that you’ll want to avoid completely. “Trans fats are highly processed, and heated to a point where they create free radicals in the body, which increase your risk of cancer.,” she says, “Trans fats are found in hydrogenated oils , and these are mostly used in the preparation of processed crackers and packaged foods.”


Once youve reached ketosis, you will gain the benefits and be able to take a keto holiday , which is necessary to manage for as long as you need to.

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The Possibility Of Low Blood Sugar Can Make Keto Risky For People With Diabetes

Carbohydrates help control blood sugar levels, which are of particular importance for people with diabetes. A study published in May 2018 in the journal Diabetic Medicine shows that while a keto diet may help control HbA1c levels , the diet may also cause episodes of hypoglycemia, which is a dangerous drop in blood sugar. Echoing many registered dietitians, the Lincoln, Nebraskabased sports dietitian Angie Asche, RD, says she is hesitant to recommend a ketogenic diet for individuals with type 1 diabetes.

The same goes for people with type 2 diabetes. While some preliminary research suggests the keto diet may be safe and effective for certain people with type 2 diabetes, theres still the risk for low blood sugar, especially for those on insulin, and the keto diet omits certain food groups known to benefit those with this disease. For example, a study published in September 2016 in the journal Nutrients highlights the importance of whole grains for helping to control weight as well as episodes of high blood sugar. Whole grains are off-limits on the ketogenic diet.

The best course of action is to proceed with caution and consult a professional before diving in. If you have a medical condition or are on medications, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning a ketogenic diet, Asche says.

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The Bad News: The Keto Flu

As with any health trend, especially one that can seem restrictive, there have been some specific concerns raised by the medical community that the keto diet might not be a safe or realistic long-term eating plan.

Dr. Amnon Beniaminovitz, a board-certified cardiologist from Manhattan Cardiology in New York City, told HuffPost that some people can feel unwell when they first start the keto diet, a phenomenon known as the keto flu.

It is common for people starting the diet to experience symptoms such as headaches and fatigue, dizziness, light nausea, difficulty focusing , lack of motivation and irritability, Beniaminovitz said.

These are the same sort of symptoms people experience when they wean themselves off caffeine or soda, leading some to suggest the diet is a period of detox.

Kristin Kirkpatrick, a registered dietician and Lose It! nutrition expert from Denver, has tried the keto plan herself, so that she knows firsthand what some of her clients are experiencing. She told HuffPost the keto flu is real, but you need to stick with the diet to see results.

The beginning of the keto plan can be overwhelming, Kirkpatrick said. Hangry doesnt even begin to describe it. But once your body gets used to a low glucose supply, theres almost a sense of euphoria.

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What Everyone Should Do Before They Attempt The Keto Diet

The bottom line? If youre thinking about trying the ketogenic diet, run it by your doctor first regardless of any preexisting health conditions. And consult a registered dietitian nutritionist to find a nutrition professional who can work with you to create a meal plan you can stick to. People with kidney disease or a history of disordered eating should avoid the diet, and people with type 1 diabetes may want to avoid it, as well. If you have risk factors for heart disease, youll want to speak with your doctor before considering the diet.

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