The ketogenic diet is currently a more fashionable way to lose weight. It uses a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet to “burn” fat to achieve weight loss. But is the ketogenic diet really healthy and effective?
Principle of ketogenic diet
Our body keeps burning energy and keeps working. Carbohydrates are the first substances that the body burns when it needs energy. When carbohydrates are low, the body uses fat as an alternative energy source.
In the process, your body produces ketones – which is why it is called ketosis. These chemicals are made in your liver and sent to your blood so your muscles and tissues can use them as fuel.
For people who are not diabetic or not pregnant, this often occurs after three to four days of eating less than 50 grams of carbohydrates.
When your body produces ketones, it breaks down your fat storage and promotes overall weight loss.
Does the ketogenic diet cause weight loss?
The ketogenic diet helps some people lose weight over time because:
- Increase protein intake
- Overall reduction in calorie intake
The ketogenic diet may be a short-term weight loss strategy
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that increasing calorie burning, reducing fat, and even losing weight are short-term side effects of starting a ketosis diet.
Participants in this study did burn more calories and lost weight. But only lasted for a few weeks. Eventually, their calorie expenditures and everything else returned to normal.
Keto symptoms and side effects
When you start a restrictive diet for the first time to reach ketosis, you may encounter what people call “ketosis flu”. You may feel tired, drowsy, sick, insomnia, and digestive problems.
If you have diabetes, ketosis may develop into ketoacidosis. This is due to excessive ketosis and increased blood acidity to dangerous levels. People with diabetes should not follow a low-carb diet.
Is the ketogenic diet safe?
Some studies have found that people who follow a ketogenic diet sometimes develop kidney stones and have vitamin and mineral deficiencies. There are also people who misunderstand the “rules” of diet and end up consuming dangerous amounts of saturated fat (because not all fat is “good” fat). This increases the risk of heart disease.
Ketoacidosis is a normal metabolic process that usually does not cause problems for most adults. But it is not a miracle weight loss strategy. If you can handle the side effects and think it is worth it, you can try it properly.
But if certain symptoms start to interfere with your daily activities, talk to your doctor about a more sustainable weight loss program.