Updated: May 24, 2019
By Emily Martin
If you've been on Facebook recently, you've probably seen at least one of your friends posting about their weight loss journey & the Keto Diet. If it seems like everyone on your News Feed is partaking in the Keto Diet, you may find yourself wondering if it is safe, healthy & effective for you. Keep reading to find out more about the Keto Diet, and whether or not it is safe and healthy way to lose weight!
What Does Keto Mean?
The word "keto" comes from ketosis, which is a medical term describing what happens when the body experiences low carbohydrate levels and begins to use fat cells for energy. It's called ketosis because as your body breaks down fat, it releases a type of acid called keytones into your blood stream. If the levels of keytones get too high, this can turn into ketoacidosis, which can be very dangerous and even fatal. People with Type 1 Diabetes are most susceptible to ketoacidosis.
What Does the Keto Diet Entail?
The Keto Diet limits your carbohydrate intake and increases your fat intake daily. There is no one right way to eat under the Keto, but a common recommendation is to break up your daily calories by 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. Participants eat healthy fats, seafood, meat poultry, fruits and vegetables; and avoid sugar, starch, bread, pasta, and dairy.
Many people use the Keto Diet to lose weight in a short amount of time. But actually, it was originally developed as a treatment for epilepsy, although scientists aren't exactly sure why it is effective for reducing seizures. Since its development as a treatment for epilepsy, there has been some additional research that seems to show that a Keto Diet can be very effective for treating conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, obesity, cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.
Does the Keto Diet Work for Weight Loss?
There is some strong evidence that Keto, or low-carb, diets are effective for weight loss in the short term. Many studies have shown that the Keto Diet can be used to kick start your metabolism and lead to rapid weight loss in a short period of time. Often, people will adhere to a strict Keto Diet until they have lost their desired amount of weight, and then switch to a more sustainable and balanced diet. Low carb, high fat diets like Keto are often helpful to kick-off weight loss, because you are able to still feel fulfilled by indulging in satiating, high-fat foods while still loosing weight. It also is supposed to specifically target fat loss instead of just overall body mass loss.
Despite this, most studies have concluded that the Keto Diet is just as effective as any other weight loss plan in the long run. Initial spikes in weight loss while following the Keto Diet may be primarily water weight, and will ultimately level off over time. There is very little evidence that it is any more effective than other weight loss programs.
What are the Risks of the Keto Diet?
Because the Keto Diet encourages so much fat intake, it does come with some serious health risks. Unsaturated, healthier fats are encouraged (think avocados, almonds, walnuts, olive oil). However, you are also able to eat plenty of saturated fats (red meat, poultry with skin, butter, coconut oil), which isn't necessarily a good thing. Saturated fats have a direct link to heart disease, and should be consumed in moderation.
When you limit your foods, you are going to be at risk for nutrient deficiency. If you don't keep a good enough variety in your diet, you may not be getting the vitamins and nutrients that you need. The most common deficiencies that occur while on the Keto Diet are potassium, magnesium and sodium. People following a Keto Diet may be at risk for these types of deficiencies.
Other risks associated with the Keto Diet are fatigue, brain fog, constipation, kidney problems, liver problems and more.
A Doctor's Plan for the Keto Diet
Many of us are searching for ways to lose those extra pounds and get into better shape. We all know that being overweight can lead to serious health problems over time. Even still, it can be very difficult to lose weight. The Keto Diet may seem like a quick and easy way to get down to a healthy weight, but is it safe?
While writing this article, I wanted to know what our doctor here at Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic thought about the Keto Diet. I spoke to Dr. Ryan Lee to get his thoughts on Keto Diets, and whether or not they're healthy, safe and effective.
"A Keto Diet can be extremely helpful for increasing insulin sensitivity, aiding weight loss, treating children with epilepsy, and more," Dr. Ryan Lee said, "With the Keto Diet, it is easy to become nutrient deficient, if you're not getting enough vegetables, since it is a high-fat, low carb diet. The Keto Diet is really good as a short-term diet to reach a goal, such as increasing insulin sensitivity or targeting abdominal fat (which Keto Diet is good at doing). But, as far as getting the proper nutrients on the Keto Diet it can be difficult to get the proper vitamins and minerals update from fruits and vegetables due to the nature of the diet. Also, there is a risk of getting ketoacidosis. If you are going to begin a Keto Diet, make sure you are being regularly evaluated by a physician, such as a chiropractor or nutritionist, to monitor you for things such as ketoacidosis, which can be dangerous. Once you reach your goal, it is best to utilize a balanced diet that will help you maintain your weight and health."
In conclusion, there are definitely benefits to a Keto Diet. If you're looking to lose weight or treat conditions such as Type 2 Diabetes, heart disease, or obesity it can be very effective, especially in the short-term. However, there are risks, so it is important to consult with a physician before making any drastic changes in your diet.
Are you interested in learning more about what to expect on your first visit? Click the image below to read our article: What to Expect
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*This content is strictly the opinion of Emily Martin and Dr. Ryan Lee and is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of medical advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Emily and Dr. Ryan do not take responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content, especially those taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, should consult their physicians before beginning any nutrition, supplement or lifestyle program.
Reach Health and Wellness Chiropractic is located in the Chattanooga, Tennessee area specifically in Collegedale, TN, a short distance from Ooltewah, Cleveland, East Brainerd, East Ridge, Ringgold, Apison, and Harrison.