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If you follow health trends or try to lose weight, you've probably heard about the ketogenic diet, a diet that involves removing most of the carbs from your diet to induce ketosis and turning your body into a "machine". to burn fat. this metabolic state, devoid of carbohydrates that usually feed its processes, the body begins to burn fat to make it fuel.
What can you eat on the Keto diet?
To achieve this state, the ketogenic diet, or "keto" diet, limits the carbohydrate intake to only 5% of the total caloric intake. In the diet, a person consumes a moderate amount of protein (about 10 to 20% of calories) and a lot fat (70 to 80% of calories) – which means in theory that you can eat all the butter, oil and meat you want. Limiting carbohydrates is the key to potentially reaching the desired metabolic state of ketosis.
"The main macronutrient is fat," says Registered Dietitian Haley Hughes, MS, RD, CDE. To consume the essentials of your calories from fat, you must follow a strict diet with little or no carbohydrates and 'contain plenty of nuts, nut butters, coconut, non-starchy vegetables, avocado, cheese, oils and some protein sources, "says Hughes.
Proteins such as lentils, beans and peas are generally banned in the keto diet because these foods contain carbohydrates.
Other foods to avoid include all types of sugar, fruits, cereals and starchy foods such as potatoes. Berries or other low sugar fruits can be eaten with extreme moderation.
Keto dieters should keep in mind that vegetables such as squash, potatoes and carrots contain carbohydrates and must be extremely limited or entirely avoided.
How it works?
"Body tissues use either carbohydrates, lipids or glucose," says Amy S. Margulies, RD, CDE, LDN. "When food sources and stored glucose become low, the body finds ways to feed its tissues (ie the brain, muscles, organs, etc.). Ketosis is a metabolic condition that occurs when dietary carbohydrates are low enough that the body relies solely on the oxidation of fatty acids and metabolism of ketone to produce energy. "
When the body is rinsed with ketone bodies, this indicates that the body is using fat burning for fuel.
Where does it come from?
Despite its most widespread use today, the keto diet does not originate from the intention of burning body fat. Instead, the diet has been used to treat the disease in patients with chronic disease.
"The ketogenic diet was introduced in the 1920s to mimic fasting diets used to treat epilepsy," recalled Margulies. "More and more research has really focused on the ketogenic diet from the late 1990s to determine whether it would be beneficial in treating all diseases, including cancer, Alzheimer's, depression , polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and metabolic syndrome. "
Are there any advantages?
For people who do not suffer from a chronic illness, it's hard to know if the diet is beneficial.
"Because of the types of foods eaten, blood glucose is lowered and some professionals recommend it as a more effective way to manage and prevent diabetes," says Margulies. "In addition, the brain can work well on ketones; therefore, some people follow a ketogenic diet simply for the sake of clarity and mental focus. "
Margulies also pointed out that those who try to diet have reported an increase in their energy level and a decrease in hunger in the short term.
However, some dieticians are skeptical about maintaining a long-term benefit. "It can have short-term benefits for weight loss," said registered dietitian Jackie Arnett Elnahar, "but it has no long-term sustainability or any health benefit in general.
There is insufficient research to confirm whether the diet has a long-term impact on body weight, cholesterol, blood pressure or risk of disease.
Are there any complications?
In a word, yes. Carbohydrates are the most easily accessible source of fuel for the body. So when you eliminate these foods, your body will experience some side effects.
"A lot of people are feeling changes in their feelings, especially during the first days or even weeks of a ketogenic diet," said Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, Arivale coach. "The symptoms range from lightheadedness, fatigue and headaches to gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea or cramps."
Hultin noted that some people experiencing exercise routines that seemed feasible are beginning to feel more stressful and exhausting.
"This diet can cause kidney damage, nutritional deficiencies and side effects such as constipation, dehydration, fatigue and nausea," Hultin concluded. "Going keto on certain medications or with conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure can be dangerous."
The ketogenic diet is certainly not suitable for everyone – to learn more about why the keto diet may not be right for you, read our guide here.