11/12/2020, Chicago // KISSPR //

This question is on the minds of many these days. The answer to this question is not a simple yes or a no. It depends on many things, from your biology to other external factors like the climate you live in, your genetic inheritance, and your previous diet experiences. So, is a ketogenic diet for weight loss worth the effort you have to put into it? Let’s take a look.

A ketogenic diet is often referred to as the keto diet. A keto diet is one in which healthy fat-rich foods, along with low carb vegetables, are the staple to the diet. This form of intake is said to treat various medical issues and was long the center of eating practices in the past. But is it effective at weight loss? And how effective and healthy is this form of eating? 

Keto diets are based on the principle that if your body is consuming low carbs, it gets less glucose (our primary form of energy), and the lack of glucose persists. In contrast, energy usage remains the same or increases due to exercise. The body starts using the extra fat stored as an alternate fuel source. Using unwanted deposited fat is an effective way of reducing unnecessary weight.

The process of using fat as the energy source is known as  ketosis, and it is a natural phenomenon that occurs every day when you sleep or do an energy-intensive exercise program. The main difference, however, is the amount of ketosis happening. The natural everyday ketosis is not significant enough to affect your fat mass and overall weight. By going through a ketogenic diet, you are forcing your body to have this process turned on 24 hours a day, every day.

The research so far clearly shows that consuming low carb foods results in a noticeable positive change. Your body goes through improved metabolism, fat reduction, and weight loss. This weight shift subsequently improves other conditions caused by obesity, such as high blood pressure, insulin resistance, and elevated cholesterol levels. Reduced glucose levels also cut down the chances of getting type two diabetes in the future.

One thing to know about the keto diet is when in ketosis, your body rids its self of fat, but you are gaining lean muscle mass. This form of dieting is a very healthy way to get into shape. However, because your body gains muscle mass, it may look as if you are not losing weight on the scale. Due to the lack of seeing the scale numbers going down, many do not consider it a “weight-loss” program.

The currently available research on a ketogenic diet is still limited when it comes to weight loss. Most studies so far were determined by the number of participants and had no control groups. These studies also lasted for a short time, some less than 12 weeks. The positive effects on the user’s body for the short term may not show outcomes like low blood pressure, lower blood sugar, and overall lower cholesterol levels in the long duration. 

Ok, so what, if any, is the downside to a keto diet? The main complaint is that following a strictly fat-filled diet can be difficult and, at times, an agonizingly dull task, but is that all? Many suggest taking it slow. The sudden lack of carbohydrates in the body can introduce unintended side effects such as low mood, fatigue, headaches, cravings, or sometimes even lack of appetite. Most of the time, these symptoms only last a few weeks, but working into a full-blown keto diet should be done in deliberate introductory steps. 

It may be possible that a ketogenic diet lacks essential nutrients in a young growing or healing body and should be questioned when applied to the elderly—replacing lost nutrients should be considered whenever starting any diet plan along with a physician’s recommendations. Other than just focusing on low carb foods, focus on healthy foods with low-carb and good fats. Introducing healthy fats slowly and limiting high carbohydrate foods will help lessen unwanted side effects. Expert Dietitian Maggy Doherty has published a list of healthy low-carb foods which are thought to be keto-friendly foods.

The positive results, studies, and long-term benefits of the ketogenic diet against other weight loss methods are still out. However, when equipped with all the facts on healthy fats vs. saturated unhealthy fats, what nutrients might be missing with a low carb diet, and properly evaluating your body type and health, a keto diet might be just the diet you’ve been looking to start. 

Do your research on any new diet plan and understand every aspect of the lifestyle you are thinking about adopting. Look at every bit of information with a critical eye to find your lifestyle’s best weight loss method.

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