Contributed by – Preksha Buttan
Keto diet has taken the internet by storm; everywhere you see, there are Keto recipes, Keto transformations and what not. From international celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian to your neighbourhood aunty everyone is swearing by the newest keto recipe that is both delicious and healthy. I am sure you must have also met someone or heard somewhere about this magic diet that can help you lose those pesky pounds quickly. In fact, it seems that the reason Keto has gained such popularity in recent times is because of how drastically it can help you shed weight. But the question remains – is Keto diet really worthy of all the hype? Let us find the answer and also see if it has any kind of side effects.
What is a Keto Diet?
Keto is simply a short term for the Ketogenic diet. It is a low-carb diet that aims at low consumption of carbohydrates and high consumption of proteins and fats for getting required calories. This diet form was originally developed in the 1920’s by physicians as a way to treat epilepsy. However, with the support of many researches, it was discovered that it can also help other people, especially those who are aiming to lose weight.
In this diet form, intake of fats is almost 70-75% and that of proteins is 20-25%. Carbohydrates are limited to 5%. It may not sound good to those who believe in a balanced diet but the main objective of the Keto diet is to bring the body under a metabolic state called Ketosis. It only happens when the body burns fat instead of sugar to produce energy.
Pros of Keto Diet
Helpful in reducing weight
Usually, when you consume carbohydrates, they are converted into glucose which leads to increase in blood sugar levels and production of insulin by the pancreas. This insulin is used by the body to store the excess amount of glucose in the form of fat. And thus you start gaining weight. However, in Keto, when the intake of carbs is extremely low, the body starts burning fat instead of sugar to produce energy. It, thus, enters the state of Ketosis which encourages weight loss in a short span of time.
Keeps you full for a longer time
Major benefit of Keto diet, other than weight loss, is that it boosts your satiety. Keto meals actually keep you satisfied and full for a longer time. Although there is less of fibre-rich food in Keto meals, other recommended food in this diet plan helps stay you full for a long time after you eat. Since the foods with high-fat content provide a sense of satisfaction due to their taste, you may not feel like eating more than required. Moreover, protein-rich food takes a long time to digest and thus, you stay full for longer. Other than this, the Keto diet is also known for its ability to suppress appetite. Due to this, you will not get hunger pangs.
Can help in managing Diabetes type 2
In diabetes type 2, your body becomes insulin resistant. It produces insulin but does not use it effectively. Thus, the pancreas continues to produce more of it to compensate for the loss and eventually glucose levels increase in the blood. There are a lot of factors which can cause your body to react this way, but excess weight and inactivity is the most popular one. So, a Keto diet may help in targeting the root cause of it. The type of food you will eat in this diet form helps you to lose weight. This, in turn, help you to maintain good blood glucose levels.
May improve health markers and certain health conditions
If long term effects of Keto are concerned, following the diet properly may help some people to improve certain health markers. Bodyweight, BMI, cholesterol, blood sugar and levels of triglyceride can be maintained with the help of the Keto diet. Doctors might also use this diet form when the patient with headache, Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer does not respond to medications well.
Cons of Keto Diet
May cause Keto flu and Keto rash
When you start a Keto Diet, you are limiting the carb intake. This causes your body to undergo a drastic change. During the transition period, you may experience Keto flu or Keto rash. In Keto flu, flu-like symptoms are noticed but it is not contagious and absolutely not dangerous. It may last for 3 to 5 days. On the other side, Keto rash is an itchy inflammatory skin condition. Both these situations may cause discomfort and you may feel like quitting the diet. However, they do not last for very long and can be considered as a little test that you have to go through before you actually start benefitting from the diet.
Kidney stones may develop
Development of kidney stones is the biggest side effect of the Keto diet. When following this diet form for several months, there are high chances of getting abdominal pains, nausea, vomiting and developing kidney stones.
A lot of foods are restricted in the Keto diet. Many nutrients like fibre and Vitamin C are eliminated. Dairy products are also a no in Keto. Due to this, your body may not get all the required nutrients and you will end up developing nutritional deficiencies. These deficiencies can further cause a lot of health issues. Thus, it is always advised to consult a healthcare advisor before bring this huge change into your diet.
Difficult to follow
Keto foods are not commonly available. You may find difficult to spot Keto-friendly oils and fruits at every grocery store. And even if they are available, they are not very cheap. Moreover, it will get hard for you to dine out or attend birthday parties as you may not find your food there. Your social gatherings will become unpleasant. Also, due to the side effects it has, following it for a long term is pretty risky. Therefore, consulting a dietician before making it your life choice is recommended.