Like the Atkins and Paleo diets, the ketogenic diet (keto for short) is emerging as the latest fad weight loss solution. The basic premise of keto involves forcing the body into a permanent state of “physiological ketosis”, a term coined by Hans Krebs to describe the metabolic condition that occurs when the body shifts from burning carbohydrates (glucose) as its primary energy source, to fat (Delish, 2017). In order to enter ketosis, one must eat very few carbs (5% of total caloric intake), moderate amounts of protein (20-30%), and a significant amount of fat (70-75%).
Keto is not for everyone as it demands a great deal of discipline, self-control, and a significant lifestyle change. This diet won’t work if the body does not remain in a constant state of ketosis, therefore requiring a strict regimen of food management and macronutrient measurement. Unfortunately, this means no cheat days, because If ketosis is broken, it takes one week for the body to re-enter the process. Keto also must be accompanied by a high-intensity workout plan, primarily compromised of strength training and limited amounts of cardio (Delish, 2017).
The most difficult part of this diet to overcome are the “keto flu” symptoms, which occur as the body detoxes from carbohydrates. Many people experience lethargy, impaired mental function, increased hunger, difficulty sleeping, nausea, digestive issues, and mood fluctuations during the first few days of starting.
Although keto may seem menacing, recent studies have found strong evidence that a low-carb diet can lead to cholesterol reduction, reduce risk of cardiovascular disease, protect obesity-caused cognitive impairment, control hunger, improve metabolism, reduce body weight, and improve mood in overweight patients.
Experts recommend dieters download a smart phone app like Lose It! to help track macronutrients and use a food scale to measure appropriate food portions. Finally, prior to embarking on the keto journey, one should consult a doctor to determine whether this is an appropriate diet for the patient.
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health