The Ketogenic Diet: Definition, How It Works, and Adverse Effects
Every year, hundreds of new trends about nutrition and fitness come out, only to discover that they’re totally ineffective.
Most Diets Target One or More of The Following Food Intake Items:
In this article, we will focus on the ketogenic diet, its benefits, and the purpose of the modified version of this diet.
Before we dig in any deeper, let’s consider the macronutrients found in our diet and their respective ratio:
Generally speaking, an average human consumes these macro-nutrients at the following ratio:
As you can see, the vast majority of your caloric intake comes from carbohydrates. More specifically, glucose is the major source of energy used by the cells to produce adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which mediates the millions of biochemical reactions that occur every day.
In the past, this ratio did not cause any damaging effects since our ancestors did not have the luxury of overeating.
Unfortunately, one of the major drivers of the obesity epidemic we see today is the excessive intake of sugar that gets transformed into glycogen and triglycerides, increasing the risk of obesity and its related complications.
Additionally, the frequent intake of sugar-rich foods stimulates the secretion of insulin, leading to recurrent spikes that significantly increases the risk of type 2 diabetes.
With that out of the way, let’s see what the ketogenic diet is all about and how it can improve your health.
What is the ketogenic diet and how does it work?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb eating pattern that targets the ratio of macronutrients to increase fat intake and decrease sugar in the diet.
The suggested ratio of carbs during the keto diet ranges between 5% to 10% of the total caloric intake. However, some people decrease their sugar intake to significantly lower levels (1%-3%) to optimize their results.
For those who are not familiar with this diet, it may seem paradoxical that loading up with fat would help burn the adipose tissue in your belly and love handles; however, the scientific community supports the effectiveness of the keto diet, and the physiology involved is quite fascinating!
Here’s how it goes:
The physiological mechanisms that make the ketogenic diet effective include:
When you deprive yourself of sugar, hepatocytes (i.e., liver cells) start utilizing triglycerides to produce energy. As this process takes place, the by-products of these metabolic pathways get released into the bloodstream, which are known as ketone bodies.
If the body keeps using these metabolic pathways for some time (between 7 to 10 days), it will automatically enter a state referred to as ‘ketosis’.
Consequently, your primary source of energy will be switched from glucose to the triglycerides stored in your adipose tissue, leading to substantial weight loss.
What the side effects of the keto diet?
Most experts consider the keto diet to be safe without any serious side effects that disrupt the physiology of the human body.
However, a number of patients may experience some annoying symptoms. During the first few days of the diet, their bodies are still getting used to the carbohydrate-deficient metabolic state.
More rarely, hypoglycemia may set in, manifesting as confusion, cold extremities, and trembling. If you experience any unusual symptoms, make sure to contact your primary care physician.
The keto flu
The keto flu refers to a collection of signs and symptoms that resemble the common cold and seasonal flu. These symptoms are typically present during the first few days after starting the keto diet.
Sadly, many people stop their journey once they experience the keto flu. This is a shame since this syndrome has no serious complications and quickly resolves after proper hydration and electrolyte consumption.
According to researchers, the keto flu occurs because of the abrupt elimination of glucose from the diet. This is exacerbated by dehydration and electrolytic imbalance.
Can I cheat while on the ketogenic diet?
When you’re in the ketogenic diet, the liver starts using fatty acids to produce energy, putting you in a state of ketosis.
Each time you switch from a regular diet to a low-carb diet, it takes approximately 7-10 days for the transition to occur.
This means that having a cheat day will put you back at the starting line.
When should I stop the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet can be thought of as a way to rapidly lose weight or be adopted as a wholesome lifestyle.
For the first group of people, they often stop the keto diet and get back to their regular eating habits after achieving their goals. They typically switch to a new eating pattern (e.g., intermittent fasting).
On the other hand, the second group believes that the keto diet offers too many health benefits to be summarized in weight loss. This is what motivates them to keep following this diet for years.
A classic example of famous people who swear by the keto diet is Halle Berry. She has been on this diet for more than 15 years. It has helped her control her blood sugar levels after being diagnosed with diabetes.
However, if you started the keto diet and you want a way to swiftly get out of ketosis, the next section will be very helpful for you.
The ketogenic diet is a fantastic approach to optimize your health and reduce your body mass index (BMI).
Hopefully, this article managed to shed some light on the value offered by the ketogenic diet. It can truly help your organs function more optimally.
If you still have questions about anything that was discussed above, please don’t hesitate to ask in the comment section below or reach out to us by clicking on this link.