Facts about the Fat burning Ketogenic Diet, that you should be aware of
The first thing we should ask ourselves is “What is Ketosis”?
I guess you must have heard of the word Ketosis or Ketogenic Diet:
There is a lot of misconception on this subject. So, let’s see the facts and clear up some doubts as we go along the way.
Even if you do not know about this, stick around as I have tried to explain this so that anyone can understand.
Let’s see how our bodies use up what we eat on a daily basis.
Firstly, let’s check out a high carbohydrate diet:
When carbohydrates are freely available to the body, this forms the first energy source. The carbohydrates are converted to glucose, where it is used by our bodies to complete all our daily activities.
Whatever glucose is left over, is stored in our muscles and liver as glycogen. But, this storage is limited, which is about 500 gms in a man. The rest is converted into fat and stored in our body.
Now, we will see a diet where carbs are restricted:
Here the storage of glycogen in the liver is used up, your body will be looking for alternative sources of fuel. This is when fat is metabolized into ketones. Ketones are used up by the body for fuel, just as we have seen glucose being used up above. Thus, this sends our body into a fat burning mode.
This is the basis of a Ketogenic Diet.
So, why doesn’t everyone start doing just this and staying off carbs. Let’s evaluate the pros and cons of this type of diet on our health and well-being.
Talking about the pros first:
1) Ketogenic Diet known to control seizures:
From Biblical times, it was known that fasting controls seizures. In a study conducted, it was found that 54% of the patients had complete control over seizures and 26% showed a marked decrease in seizures while on a Ketogenic Diet. (1)
2) Ketosis helps in Weight Loss:
In one study of over 400 individuals over a period of a year, it was found that Low-carbs diet was as effective as low-fat diets in weight loss. In the short term of six months, the individuals on a low carb diet had even lost on a average of 3.3 kgs greater than those on a low fat diet.
3) For the Diabetes and prediabetes treatment
As discussed before, the Ketogenic diet reduces the blood sugar and thus it is an effective option in treatment and control of Diabetes.
From one study on Type 2 diabetes patients, after following a low-carbs diet, it was found that the insulin sensitivity improved by about 75% (4)
In another study the patients even reduced or discontinued their diabetes medication. They found that their glucose came under control after following the low carb ketogenic diet. (5)
4) The Ketogenic Diet protects the brain:
Also, as discussed before, some children can have a condition where the glucose receptors in the brain are disrupted. Thus, getting energy from glucose might become an issue. Here they might go into seizures. Ketogenic diets bypass this mechanism and prevent this condition.
A lot of research also has given rise to possibility of treatment of Alzheimer’s and dementia, by inculcating a ketogenic diet. (8)
5) Protecting the heart, to an extent:
As seen earlier, on a high carb diet, excess glucose is stored in the muscles and liver. Additional glucose is stored in the blood. High blood glucose along with inflammation has also been known to damage proteins in arterial cell walls and cause thickening. This escalates plague build up.
Low carb diet like keto diets have been known to reduce the blood glucose levels and thus protect the heart, to a certain extent. This being said, please read the cons part of this article for the full picture on this subject. (9)
6) Prevention of certain types of cancer:
The ketogenic diet has been used in the treatment of certain types of cancer.
KetoCal, which is a new nutritionally balanced high fat/low carbohydrate ketogenic diet was used to study malignant brain tumors. It was found that, in the experimental mouse and human brain tumors, KetoCal was effective against the tumors. (10, 11, 12)
7) Help treat acne
As per one study a Ketose diet might even help treat acne. (13)
Where there is good there has to be evil:
So, lets look at the Cons:
1) Heart failure is severe Ketogenic state:
There are two cases of sudden death due to heart failure, in children on ketogenic diets for the control of seizures. Both cases showed selenium deficiency. Thus, the hearts condition on prolonged Keto diet needs to be monitored closely. (14)
In another study, thirteen patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and 11 cardiac patients without CHF took part in a study. It was found that in a ketosis-prone state severe CHF occurs. (15)
So, basically in patients with a heart condition, the Ketogenic diet should be undertaken after consultation with your doctor. Thus, it can be monitored for adverse symptoms.
2) Deficiency in Macronutrients:
Now, Ketosis can cause macronutrients deficiency if not monitored properly. (16)
3) Various side effects:
When used in the treatment of children with epilepsy, it was found that the side effects include “dehydration, kidney stones and constipation”.
Other side effects that might be apparent with the Ketogenic diet are too much water intake, dizziness, nausea, headaches, etc. (17)
Another related article: Benefits of Drinking water and how to stay Hydrated?
Now, there are various Types of Ketogenic Diets:
There are various types of Ketogenic Diets, as follows:
Standard ketogenic diet, Cyclical ketogenic diet, Targeted ketogenic diet.
They all have their own pros and cons. If you need some more information about the various ketogenic diets you can consider reading this article “The 3 Ketogenic Diets Explained: SKD, CKD & TKD”
The Ketogenic diet can be used effectively in controlling body fat. But taken to an extreme it can be dangerous. Moderation is thus the key.
Thus, the final idea is to get your body used to ketosis, intermittently.
Hence, cutting down entirely on carbs might not be the wisest way to go.
If you liked this article, kindly comment, share or like.