The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been around since the 1920s.
It came back into popularity in recent years as research shows it helps reduce seizures for patients with epilepsy and can also help people lose weight if they follow the strict guidelines of this plan.
Below you’ll find the advantages and disadvantages of the ketogenic diet. We’ll help you weigh the pros and cons to see if this diet is the right one for you to start.
What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of The Ketogenic Diet?
Let’s break down the keto diet quickly if you’re unfamiliar with how the diet works.
Knowing this will allow you to maximize its full benefits you will need to reach ketosis and avoid making any dietary keto mistakes. The basis of the diet is to cut out carbs and eat lots and lots of fat.
You’re going to want to have an optimal amount of food for your carbs, fat, and protein daily.
Around 5 percent or so of your calories will come from carbs which include leafy greens and non-starchy veggies. You’re going to need to avoid carb-heavy foods to avoid kicking yourself out of the fat-burning stage, like fruits, grains, and vegetables higher in carbs.
Around 20 percent of your calories are going to come from protein. Make sure your protein comes with higher fat content as well, like grass-fed meat and dairy products like eggs and cheese.
The last 75 percent of your daily food intake is going to be from foods high in fat. You’ll be drizzling lots of oil on food and cooking with butter to get your fat numbers where they need to be.
Like a lot of people who’ve tried it can attest, the reason why the ketogenic diet works so well is because your body switches fuel sources to what it burns for energy.
You won’t be burning glucose from carbs for energy anymore. Your body will start burning fat for fuel while your body enters into a state of ketosis. That’s the fat-burning area you want to be in if weight loss is your goal.
Right now, your body is running off of carbs as its main source of energy for both your brain and body. Because cars are restricted on a ketogenic diet, your body is then starved of that fuel source and needs to find another one to survive.
Since fat will now be the main fuel source your body will use for energy, compounds called ketones will be what your body uses for fuel.
Pros of the Ketogenic Diet
Fast Weight Loss
People are hopping on the keto diet due to all the weight loss success stories there are. One of the big upsides to this diet is the fact that people report feeling much more satiated as opposed to other diets they’ve tried where they were hungry all the time.
The reason you will feel fuller for longer is because fat will take the body a little longer to break it down. When your body reaches a state of ketosis, it’ll be in fat-burning mode.
Low Fat Dieting Is Gone
The keto diet has become popular for people who enjoy high-fat foods, such as red meats and butter.
While it tastes great to eat these types of food on the keto diet, many are surprised by how much weight they lose!
The keto diet has a number of benefits for people with epilepsy as it can help reduce seizures in pediatric patients. This is especially important as there are few medications that work well for this disorder.
The other major benefit to the ketogenic diet is its weight loss capabilities. Endurance athletes and bodybuilders use it too because they know how quickly you’ll lose fat on this plan. There have also been anecdotal reports from some neurologists who say their Parkinson’s disease or progressive neurological disorder symptoms improved after following a low carb/high-fat regimen.
Cons of the Ketogenic Diet
If you’re someone who lacks discipline, this diet, or any diet really, will be difficult to adhere to. If you’re able to stick to the requirements, you’ll adopt a healthy eating habit, and eventually, that will trickle down into better health habits overall.
To get into and stay in ketosis, you’ll have to constantly track the food you’re consuming. If you want to take it a step further, there are ways to test if you’re in or out of ketosis as well.
You’re either in ketosis or out of it. There’s no in-between.
If you’re not careful, you can be starving your body by not giving it the nutrients it needs. The keto diet can make you deplete of vitamins and minerals if you’re not following the diet exactly.
Because of these deficiencies, people will feel like they have flu-like symptoms for a week or so. This is known as the keto flu, but it does not happen for everyone. There are ways of keeping the symptoms to a minimum or avoiding them altogether.
The benefits of the keto diet are plentiful, but there is one caveat: you can’t go wild with your fat intake. We’re talking saturated fats here which are the worst kind of fat you can consume.
The American Heart Association recommends limiting saturated fat intake to 5-6% in order to keep heart health and cholesterol levels at healthy levels.
The high-fat nature of this trendy eating plan could also have negative impacts on heart health due to an increase in lipids (or fats) that may build up inside blood vessels over time. The AHA advises keeping healthy amounts not only for lipid profiles but for general cardiovascular support as well.
Having a balanced approach to dieting can be beneficial to your long-term health. Another way to help you reach ketosis faster is through intermittent fasting.
This is a whole other topic where you fast for periods of 12 hours to days in some cases, but you don’t need to be that extreme to get the benefits of fasting. A lot of people fast for 16 hours, usually from dinner until lunch, and eat within an 8-hour window.
If you’re looking to change up your diet, be sure to consult a doctor or a dietician that’s familiar with the ketogenic diet.