You may have heard the recent buzz about the Keto diet, however it has actually been around for a long time! The Keto diet was originally created as a treatment to help children with epilepsy. The diet is quite simple, consisting of very few carbs, and a four-to-one ratio of fat-to-carbs and carbs-to-proteins. General recommendations for calories consumed through carbs range from 40-60% for normal nutrition which differs while on the Keto diet of roughly 2-4%!
If you are looking to possibly shed some pounds and improve your overall health, the Keto diet may be the one for you! While considering the Keto diet, keep in mind some of the challenges. Every diet has pros and cons, so make sure the pros of eating in this specific way will outweigh any personal cons you may find. Every body is different so this diet may affect you differently than another person, keep this in mind when reviewing the plan to see if it will be best for you. In any case, take away some ideas this diet provides to improve your nutrition, even if you don’t follow the diet extremely closely!
- Your plate on the Keto diet is loaded up with fatty foods from butter and cream cheese to oils and avocados.
- The diet is moderate in protein including eggs, fish, poultry, red meat, and you may enjoy some low-carb veggies like peppers and leafy greens as well.
- Foods like pasta, bread, grains, beans, and fruit are off limits. That also means desserts like cookies, sweet drinks such as lemonade, and alcoholic beverages are a major no-no!
The Keto diet puts the body in a state of Ketosis where the liver turns fat into ketones which are used by the body for energy instead of glucose from carbohydrates (of which there are no ketones)1, 2. There is some research to support the Keto diet in promoting weight loss, preserving lean body mass, and for improving both blood sugar and insulin control in diabetics 2, 3. In addition, it can help reduce seizures in children with epilepsy, and may slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and certain brain cancers 4, 5, 6.
Although the Keto diet may be beneficial for certain people, it does require a strict approach to eating that can turn out to be quite challenging to adhere to. Keeping your body in a state of ketosis requires a lot of discipline. The metabolic shift to get to ketosis can be even more difficult as most people feel fatigue, nausea, and forgetful for the few weeks during the transition. Needless to say, this can make daily life difficult. Further, avoiding carbs can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies making a multivitamin an absolute must for any Keto followers.
- Hartman, A. L. and Vining, E. P. G. (2007), Clinical Aspects of the Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsia, 48: 31–42. doi:10.1111/j.1528-1167.2007.00914.x
- Fukao T, Lopaschuk GD Mitchell GA. Pathways and control of ketone body metabolism: on the fringe of lipid biochemistry. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids.2004 Mar;70(3):243-51. PMID: 14769483 DOI:10.1016/j.plefa.2003.11.001
- Westman EC, Mavropoulos J, Yancy WS, Volek JS. A review of low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets. Curr Atheroscler Rep. 2003 Nov;5(6) 476-83. PMID: 14525681
- Gasior, M., Rogawski, M. A., & Hartman, A. L. (2006). Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural Pharmacology, 17(5-6), 431–439.
- Papandreou, D., Pavlou, E., Kalimeri, E., & Mavromichalis, I. (2006). The ketogenic diet in children with epilepsy. British Journal of Nutrition, 95(1), 5-13. Doi:10.1079/BJN20055191.
- Zhou, W., Mukherjee, P., Kiebish, M. A., Markis, W. T., Mantis, J. G., & Seyfried, T. N. (2007). The calorically restricted ketogenic diet, an effective alternative therapy for malignant brain cancer. Nutrition & Metabolism, 4, 5. http://doi.org/10.1186/1743-7075-4-5