Everything You Need To Know About Ketogenic Diet
Today, in the world that is turning around a human, taking care of your body is, without any doubt, a must do, which, however, can be difficult to accomplish sometimes since we all are busy with work, family, hobbies, friends, and not always can manage to find some time for ourselves. Among dozens, if not hundreds, of different diets we always hear, we would like to pay attention to the one called Ketogenic Diet. Mass media encourages us to take care of our body through advertising various remedies that can help us feel and look good. Nowadays a lot of attention is given to different nutrition diets, and one of the reasons for that is statistically, extremely big part of the population of the planet suffers from obesity.
What Is Ketogenic Diet?
Ketogenic diet is a low-carb diet containing high amount of fat and moderate amount of protein. Usually carbs that we consume together with food are processed into glucose, which is extremely important for nutrition and proper functioning of brain. However, if the ration contains small amounts of carbs, then fat is converted into fatty acids and ketone bodies by liver. Ketone bodies are transported to the brain where they serve as a source of energy replacing glucose. The state of increased amount of ketone bodies in the organism is called ketosis.
There are three basic types of ketogenic diet, which differ in their percentage of carbs, fat and proteins, in the impact that they have on human’s body, and in the state of health of a person that indicates which type of ketogenic diet is the most suitable for their body. These types are represented below:
- Classic ketogenic diet: carbs ~5%; dietary fat ~80%; protein ~15%;
- Modified Atkins diet: carbs ~10%; dietary fat ~60%; protein ~30%;
- MCT ketogenic diet: carbs ~10%; dietary fat ~10%; protein ~20%; MCT oil ~60%.
What is MCT?
MCT, or medium-chain triglyserides, are chemicals that are contained in some particular food products and are more ketogenic than long-chain triglyserides containing in normal dietary fats since they generate more ketones per unit of energy during metabolism. Due to their more effective impact on the fat processing, it is allowed to use fewer amount of fat and bigger amount of protein and carbohydrate.
What does dietary fat mean?
We have already mentioned that the basic idea of ketogenic diet is extreme reducing of carbs and replacing them with fat. However, it does not mean that you can just fill your ration with unhealthy fats that are contained in junk food from fast food restaurants. Dietary fat implies that the high-fat food that you are to consume while sticking to ketogenic diet should be healthy and nutritious.
To compare the three above mentioned types of ketogenic diet with the regular American diet, the ration of an average American consists of ~50% of carbs, ~30% of fat and ~20% of protein.
What Are The Advantages Of Ketogenic Diet?
Helps To Fight With Epilepsy
In fact, originally, ketogenic diet was developed in 1920s and was widely used to cure paediatric epilepsy throughout the next decade. However, its popularity decreased after the effectivity of anticonvulsants was scientifically confirmed. In the middle of 1990s, a Hollywood producer Jim Abrahams, whose son successfully got over his epileptic seizures with the help of the diet, established a fund for attracting attention and renewal of scientific interest to the diet.
According to the statistics, ketogenic diet has a 100% effect in half of the cases, and in one-third of the cases gives considerable positive results. A randomized controlled trial in 2008 found an advantage of health of those children who followed ketogenic diet in especially complicated cases of epilepsy. The improvement of health due to this way of treatment during 6-24 months has been noticed in more than 90% of cases.
A proof of a positive effect was already exist in the modified Atkins diet on the adults suffering from epilepsy. However, doctors avoid to use it in their treatment on account because it lacks of scientific proof of all possible impacts that the diet might have on the adults with epilepsy.
Helpful In Some Cases Of Diabetes
In spite of low level of glucose, ketogenic diet is recommended to people suffering from type 2 diabetes. It helps to normalize the level of sugar in blood without using medications.
Has An Effective Impact On Losing Weight
Nowadays, ketogenic diet is widely used as a method of losing weight through losing subcutaneous fatty tissues. Especially it is popular for sports people, in particular to those who are doing cyclical sports that needs endurance, for example, marathons, triathlons, cycling etc. This diet helps the organism to effectively burn fat as a source of energy and at the same time doesn’t destroy muscle mass, unlike many other diets. In the peoples of the far North, men used to consume practically seal fat only while hunting, and still they were able to travel long distances with heavy loads in the harsh and severe climate with extremely low temperatures, that is indeed an incredible amounts of physical work.
Not only is the diet good for sports people, but also for those who are not really into having an active way of life. Ketogenic diet does not starve you and does not take calories away from you. Basically, the decrease of amount of carbs is compensated with the increase of amount of fats and proteins. Obviously, that doesn’t mean that, after reducing the consumed amount of carbs, you are allowed to overeat fat and protein food. Calorie amount should not be beyond the normal.
Another undoubted advantage of ketogenic diet is the control of appetite. It is connected with the fact that, when a person is on a diet, the level of insulin in blood is low. Apparently, insulin is responsible for feeling hunger. Fat and protein food, that is the basis of ketogenic diet, allows you not to suffer from hunger and, at the same time, will get you thinner.
Often after finishing a diet, people complained that they gained their kilos back. The point is, most of the diets that you can find these days are giving a constant stress for the body, when there are few nutrients, metabolic processes slow down; when there are many of them, the body is not able to process all of them and tend to turn extra ones into fat reserves. Ketogenic diet does not imply the appearance of this effect since it does not starve you to death..
What Should And Shouldn’t You Eat On A Ketogenic Diet?
What you should remember about ketogenic diet is the fact that both amount and composition of consumed products really matters. In case you decide to replace brown rice with a product similar in composition, it will not change anything.
List Of Recommended Food
- Meat (beef, lamb, pork, chicken, turkey)
- Seafood (mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, shellfish, shrimp, haddock, lobster, herring, cod)
- Dairy products: (cheese, full-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt, heavy cream, milk)
- Nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts, hazelnuts, Macadamia nuts, cashews, coconuts, pistachios)
- Vegetables (be careful because not all vegetables are low-carb, some of them like potatoes and sweet potatoes are high in carbs; however, these are the vegetables allowed in ketogenic diet: tomatoes, onions, spinach, eggplant, broccoli, cucumber, green beans, mushrooms, asparagus, cabbage, zucchini, bell peppers, cauliflower, kale, brussels sprouts, celery)
- Fruits (the same with vegetables, be careful in your choice of fruits since many of them are full of carbs; the low-carb fruits are grapefruit, avocado, orange, kiwi, apricot, lemon)
- Berries (strawberry, raspberry, mulberry)
- Beverages (most sugar-free beverages; water, soda water, coffee, tea)
- Fats and oils (butter, coconut oil, avocado oil)
- Dark chocolate (with 70% cocoa content or higher)
List Of Forbidden Food
- Cereals and grains
- Sugary products: sugar itself, soft drinks, bakery, honey etc.
- Rice, pasta
- Root vegetables: potatoes, sweet potatoes, topinambur, carrot, beetroot etc.
- Fruits: apples, peaches, pears, plums, bananas etc.
Disadvantages Of Ketogenic Diet And Contraindications
Despite the undoubtful benefits of ketogenic diet that we have mentioned before, let’s be realistic and study some of its disadvantages and risks that the diet can cause.
Considering the fact that the basis of the diet is fatty and protein food, there is a probability of digestive disorders, for instance, bloating or constipation. This can be caused by the ration that lacks dietary fiber which is contained in products like bread, potatoes, some fruits and vegetables. To avoid troubles with digesting, it is recommended to consume small amount of such food like apples or sour grapes.
Another disadvantage of ketogenic diet is unpredictability of the reaction of the body to the shortage of glucose which is an important source of energy. The organism will need some time to get used to ketone bodies instead of glucose. During the first couple of weeks you might possibly feel common weakness, vertigo, indisposition, but after the third weak positive results of the diet will reveal themselves.
Ketogenic diet is strictly contraindicated for people suffering from diabetes (except those with type 2 diabetes): an excessive amount of ketone bodies in blood might lead to sharp deterioration of health. Moreover, it is not recommended to use ketogenic diet for people who suffer from kidney, bowel or digestive system diseases.
Are you For Or Against?
On the other hand, ketogenic diet is not so complicated. But you really never know how your body will react to it. Naturally, everything depends on the form of the diet that you have chosen for yourself, as well as on the characteristics of your body. Some people, for example, become extreme in chasing their goal to lose weight, and in such cases the diet may do some serious harm to them.
It is important to remember that you should a strong will power and discipline to follow all the rules of the diet without cheating. Also, make sure that you listen to your body, to its reactions, give it some time to have rest if needed, be flexible enough to change your daily ration if you feel uncomfortable in any way. Finally, almost remember that the most important thing is your health, so take care of it properly.