Now, we all know that dietary fads come and go and they have for many years. The keto diet (also known as the ketogenic diet) was actually developed almost 100 years ago in the 1920s, specifically for pediatric patients struggling with epilepsy or seizures. It was found to be remarkably effective when patients follow the diet strictly.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, high-protein, very low-carb diet. The fat to carb protein ratio is typically between 2:1 to 5:1. The caloric intake of fat is typically between 80 and 90%. Carb intake is limited to about 50 grams a day, which is a very low amount.
Fun Fact: The keto diet has been used to help conditions like diabetes, cancer, and schizophrenia.
The keto diet is used for weight loss. It’s used to change body composition, specifically visceral adipose fat around your belly. A ketogenic diet changes the microbes or the bacteria that grow in your gut in a positive manner that helps with weight loss and brain health. Research done on elite athletes showed that being on a ketogenic diet changed their body composition. It changes your metabolism entirely, and it also changes how your brain, heart, and muscles receive nutrients.
But this diet needs to be short-term, because a high-fat, high-protein diet that’s very low in carbs means that you’re missing out on some important micronutrients. Original researchers knew that a diet like this, long-term, may not be sustainable. In fact, they recommended patients be on this diet for only six months up to maybe two years. There are adverse effects with long-term use of ketogenic diet such as liver problems, gall stones, and vitamin deficiencies.
Honest Thoughts & Recommendations On The Keto Diet
A keto diet can certainly be effective for specific conditions. Whether you’re trying to lose weight, change your body composition, or help other conditions, the keto diet could be helpful. But it can only be used short-term. There are some things you can do to improve the effectiveness of it:
- Add MCT or Medium Chain Triglycerides into your diet. Studies have shown that adding MCT with a keto diet can help you lose weight and change your body composition. It can also help
diabetic, cancer, and schizophrenic patients. It’s typically derived from coconuts. You can take MCT oil or an MCT supplement to help boost the effects of the keto or ketogenic diet.
- If you plan on being on a keto diet for more than six
month, take a multivitamin. This will provide you some of those micronutrients and vitamins (Vitamin B, A, K, D, zinc, magnesium, calcium, potassium) that are typicallydeficient in a ketogenic diet and what your body needs to metabolizemost optimally and most effectively.
For a more sustainable option, you could consider a paleo diet. A paleo diet includes the high protein and healthy fats, but it also includes some of those carbs with a low glycemic index and that will provide you with the micronutrients that you need to sustain the diet. The paleo diet is a combination of the keto diet with the addition of some healthy, low glycemic carbs that would preclude you from needing to take extra supplements to provide you with the essential micronutrients and vitamins your body needs.
Ultimately, the keto diet has a place for specific conditions, for example with elite athletes. I think it has an important place, short-term. But something closer to a paleo diet seems to be more sustainable, long-term, without the adverse side effects that can eventually occur with a keto diet.
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