The Diet Series: Keto Diet

Happy Wellness Wednesday! I hope everyone is doing well. The Diet Series is officially underway. As mentioned in the introductory post we will begin with the Ketogenic Diet. As we go through this series, exploring different diets, we will go through the details of each diet. Those details will include the following:

  1. History
  2. Explanation
  3. Benefits
  4. Adverse Effects
  5. Sustainability

Let’s get to it!

Ketogenic (Keto) Diet

The History of Keto

The “ketogenic diet” coined by Dr. Russel Wilder was developed in the early 1920’s  as a treatment for his patients with epilepsy. His basis for the ketogenic diet, as a therapy, was built on prior research. That research detailed the suppressing of epileptic seizures as a result of fasting and also examined the production of ketone bodies in healthy individuals that were in fasting.

Over the past decades variants of the ketogenic diet have been used as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes and other neurological  disorders. In recent years it has resurfaced as a popular diet for weight loss. The keto diet is currently the focus of many research initiatives, one being cancerous tumors.

What is Keto?

The Keto Diet is named for its production of ketone bodies in the blood. Ketone bodies are the product of a coerced metabolic adaptation initiated and maintained by the keto diet. This  is made possible through the consumption of very low amounts of carbohydrates, moderate protein, and significantly high levels of fat.  As an individual changes their consumption of macronutrients and remains consistent a depletion of the bodies primary source of energy, glucose, takes place forcing the liver to metabolize fat and amino acids for fuel. Thus, instead of the body breaking down carbohydrates to produce energy, it adapts to metabolizing fats through gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis. Fats are composed of two subunits, glycerol and fatty acids. Gluconeogenesis uses the glycerol and amino acids, found in protiens, to produce the bodies necessary glucose. Ketogenesis uses the fatty acids to produce ketone bodies. Those ketone bodies are beta-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. Acetone is mostly eliminated as waste through the urine,  while beta-hydroxybutyrate and acetoactate are used by the body for energy transport. It is through the consistent maintenance and production of  these ketone bodies in the blood that one goes into nutritional ketosis which is the purpose of the keto diet. 

There are many variants of  the keto diet and many stages of nutritional ketosis. In each of these variations the bulk of daily nutrition is consumed, as mentioned before, through substantially high fat intake, moderate intake of protein, and very low intake of carbohydrates.  When keto is done properly the macronutrient ratio ranges are roughly 65-90% Healthy Fats, 6-30% Proteins and, 4-10% Carbohydrates. There are many arrangements of these macronutrients, but the majority of the consumption for each diet should always be healthy fats.

Benefits 

There are many advantages to the keto diet when practiced correctly with necessary precautions and mindfulness. All of these benefits are possible results from maintaining a consistent keto diet.  Here are just a few:

  1. Weight loss due to fat loss
  2. Type 2 Diabetes Reversal
  3. Inflammation Reduction
  4. Increased Heart Health
    • lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure
  5. Improved Mental Health
  6. Increase in Energy
  7. Decrease in Appetite

Adverse Effects 

Many of the disadvantages of the keto diet are either preventable or can be maintained. Here are a few:

  1. Very restrictive
    • possible binge eating as a result
  2. Initial Symptoms
    • “keto flu”, dehydration, change in bowel habits, headaches, etc.
  3. Increase in Cholesterol
    • for individuals with genetic cholesterol disorders
  4. Electrolyte Deficiencies
    • especially Sodium
  5. Micronutrient Deficiencies
  6. Menstrual Irregularities in Women
  7. Possible Hepatic Steatosis
    • Fatty Liver Disease

Sustainability

It’s important to remember that wellness is all about sustainability. It is also necessary to know that sustainability varies from person to person. When considering keto and sustainability, Keto is simply not for everyone. It is a diet that should not be approached without the proper consideration and support. Keto is sustainable for those who have a true purpose for it, such as a medical disorder that can be alleviated or reversed as a result of the keto diet. The research I’ve read on the reversal of Type 2 diabetes is absolutely remarkable.

Through research I’ve found there are a few concerns about the keto diet. Most of the concerns that come from keto are due to an inaccurate practice of  the diet. These habits are most often found with those using keto solely for weight loss. A common concerning area when practicing keto, especially in the most recent fad terms of the diet, is the over consumption of protein. In many cases protein and fat consumption are almost equivalent, which is actually not keto. Another issue is the large consumption of unhealthy fats. Both of these inaccuracies can lead to cardiovascular concerns.

Other concerns are based on the lack of knowledge pertaining to the long term effects of keto. The long term effects of maintaining a keto diet have not yet been determined. There have been many personal testimonials on the long term results of keto, but research, although in progress, in not yet conclusive. So, while this diet maybe sustainable for the an individual we are not “science” sure yet if the body can sustain proper and ideal function on a keto diet longterm.

Thank you for your time. I hope you found this informative. Please feel free to make comments below about your journey, information you would have added, or thoughts in general. Next we will examine the Whole 30 Diet.

XO,

Courtney

 

Sources:

  1. History of the Ketogenic Diet- News Medical
  2. Variations of the Keto Diet – Charlie Foundation
  3. Ketogenic Diet- Mindd Organization
  4. β-Hydroxybutyrate A Signaling Metabolite-NCBI
  5. Ketogenic Diet Risks: Is Keto Worth It?- ruled.me
  6. Ketogenic Diet-NCBI
  7. Pros and Cons of the Keto Diet-ProMedica Health Connect
  8. Reversing Type 2 Diabetes With Nutritional Ketosis – Virta Health
  9. Ketosis, Ketones, and How It All Works – ruled.me
  10. Ketogenic diets: Boon or bane? – NCBI

 

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