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The popular ketogenic diet or keto diet for weight loss is a low carb, high fat diet. Harvard Health shares that The keto diet is advertised as a weight loss wonder, but this eating plan is actually a medical diet that carries serious risks.
How the keto diet works
Normally, the body feeds on sugar or glucose obtained from carbohydrates. The diet aims to force your body to use a different type of fuel.
Instead of relying on sugar that comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, vegetables, and fruits), the ketone bodies produced by the liver from fat will be used as fuel, which may explain the effects of the ketogenic diet on weight.
When ketone bodies build up in the blood, this is called ketosis. Ketosis requires depriving the body of carbohydrates.
The ketogenic diet generally reduces your total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams per day. It can be as low as 20 grams or less of net carbs per day, or 5-10% of calories.
How safe is the keto diet?
On the safety of the keto diet “only short-term results have been studied and results have been mixed. We don’t know if it works in the long term, without being safe, “cautions registered dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Nutrition Department at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
A low-carbohydrate diet lacking in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, lentils, and other sources of dietary fiber may not promote health, notes nutritionist Louisa Richards via Medical News Today.
How to go on a not-so-strict keto diet
If you want to go on a less restrictive keto diet, you may want to try the lazy keto diet. This diet requires people to restrict their carbohydrate intake, but you don’t need to include a high proportion of fat as in the original ketogenic diet.
A lazy keto diet only requires a person to limit their carbohydrates to 10% or less of their daily calories without the need to keep track of their fat and protein intake.
By requiring people to limit carbohydrates to 10% or less, the lazy keto diet can help avoid highly refined foods and added sugars. Recent research has revealed that refined carbohydrates are the leading cause of obesity.
Richards advises that someone on a lazy keto diet should make sure to eat enough fruits, vegetables, and dietary fiber, all of which experts list as important for promoting health.
Foods that the lazy keto diet allows include:
Meat and poultry; fish and shellfish; eggs; dairy products like Greek yogurt and cheese; healthy oils like olive oil and avocado oil; non-starchy vegetables, including leafy greens, broccoli, green beans, zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and mushrooms.
Healthy carbohydrates to eat within the 10% include:
Whole grains such as brown rice, rye, barley, oats, buckwheat, and quinoa.
Beans, lentils, chickpeas, and other legumes.
Fruits and some starchy vegetables to choose from are sweet potatoes, squash, corn, and parsnips.
Foods to avoid:
White pasta, bread and rice, sweets, refined flour breads, ice cream and desserts, sugary drinks, cereals with refined grains or added sugar, chocolate, alcohol, processed foods rich in carbohydrates or added sugars, and dressings with high sugar content.
What are the effects on your body of the strict keto diet
The keto diet can make you lose weight, but it can also have negative effects.
Possible symptoms of extreme carbohydrate restriction include hunger, fatigue, low mood, constipation, headaches, irritability, and mental confusion; These symptoms can last from days to weeks.
The ketogenic diet is associated with an increase in “bad” LDL cholesterol, which in turn promotes heart disease.
The keto diet could worsen any existing liver conditions due to the large amount of fat to metabolize. Saving the diet long-term could also increase the risk of kidney stones and osteoporosis, and an increase in blood levels of uric acid.
Your body can also be deficient in nutrients. To avoid this, it is wise to use a registered dietitian to create a ketogenic diet that minimizes nutrient deficiencies.
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