Ketos and Low-Carb Diet: Are they bad for your health?
Ketos is quite a popular coinage from the word ketosis, ketos diet is a low carb and high-fat diet. Ketosis is a type of metabolic process that metabolizes or burns stored fats present because of low glucose availability in the body. This metabolic reaction leads to the production of ketones acid in the body.
Many people, in a bid to lose weight or fat, fall to keto dieting, this is where they drastically reduce their carbohydrate food intake and this type of dieting forcefully makes the body use the stored fat in the body for energy to run through day-to-day activities because carbohydrate is absent. Ketosis also naturally occurs in people living with diabetes. This happens because the body has insufficient insulin, this can also be referred to as diabetic ketoacidosis or DKA. However, when people decide to engage in ketosis as a form of diet, they reduce their carbs or carbohydrate intake and increase their fatty food intake. In this article, I will talk about the different types of ketogenic diets their benefits, and the side effects.
- Targeted ketogenic diet or TKD: This type of low carbs and high-fat dieting allows the person to add carbs to their meals around workout sessions or periods
- Standard ketogenic diet or SKD: In this type of dieting, the diet is rationed into about 70% fat, 10% carbs, and 20% protein. Essentially what this means is that the person is allowed to indulge in an average amount of protein, a high fat, and a low carb diet
- High protein ketogenic diet or HPKD: This is almost similar to the rationed dieting I just mentioned but in this case, the protein increases a notch as indicated by its name. The rations include 5% carbs, 60 fatty food, and 35% protein meals
- Cyclical ketogenic diet or CKD: This type of dieting allows the person to alternate days of feeding on carbs and fatty food. What this is means is that the person could eat ketogenic diets for four days and the next three days feed on high carb meals
Before getting into any of these, be sure to speak to a specialist or a medical practitioner because some of these dieting types are quite extreme and only used by athletes and bodybuilders. Common signs that you have entered ketosis are when you have a dry mouth, frequent and periodic urinating, loss of appetite or reduction in hunger, and increase in thirst. Now let us talk about some of the benefits:
Researches have tried to prove that the keto diet or high fat and low carbs diet may be just as effective as a low-fat diet if not more. Ketosis is a very effective way to burn off unwanted fat from the body. The research noted that participants who used the keto diet weight loss lost more weight than participants who used the low-fat intake dieting method. Ketogenic dieting is also noted to lead to a decrease in the levels of triglyceride and diastolic blood pressure.
- Improved insulin sensitivity:
A ketogenic diet for people who live with diabetes has been classified as beneficial because diabetes has the symptoms of very high blood sugar and changes in insulin activities and metabolism in the body. Losing all those body fat due to the keto diet will reduce the likelihood of type 2 diabetes and prediabetes. This improvement is brought about due to a decrement in blood sugar levels and better blood sugar activities or management.
- Decrease epileptic seizures:
Some medical practitioners have recommended the use of ketogenic dieting to dramatically reduce the occurrence of seizures in epileptic patients. However, this is most commonly practiced on children and it is prescribed as a seizure preventive measure. Adults with epileptic seizure episodes are advised to use Atkins type of dieting.
Ketogenic dieting is also said to have a lot of other benefits that surround the treatment of neurological diseases, a common example is the prevention of epileptic seizures I just spoke about and another great example is Alzheimer’s disease.
- Controls symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease:
The ketogenic diet has some research that suggests that the high fat and low carbon diet reduces the spread of the disease in humans and controls the symptoms and defects in patients.
- Controls symptoms of Parkinson’s disease:
This particular neurodegenerative disease does not have a lot of research to back it up but some researchers have mentioned that there are noticeable differences in the control of the symptoms of the disease in patients.
Other health benefits include;
- Reduction in risks of heart diseases:
You must have heard of HDL or not, what HDL means is high-density lipoprotein or as it is also popularly known, the good cholesterol. Or low-density lipoprotein or LDL, also known as bad cholesterol. LDL or bad cholesterol is what causes the risks of having either stroke or heart disease. With ketogenic dieting, the bad cholesterol in the body reduces a great deal thus reducing the risks of heart diseases occurring.
- Reduces cancerous growth:
Just like in Parkinson’s disease, there isn’t a lot of research work on this yet but some researchers have noted that ketogenic dieting can reduce the spread or increment of cancerous or tumor growth.
Ketogenic dieting also has a beneficial impact on reducing the effect of brain injuries, acne, and the occurrence of polycystic ovary syndrome. Now that we have a fair idea of what keto dieting is and the benefits that come along with it, let’s take a look at the side effects because let us be honest, it has quite a lot of them.
Side effects of ketogenic dieting
People who engage in ketogenic dieting may experience all or some of these
- Sugar/carbs withdrawal or sugar craving
- Brain fatigue or fogginess
- Bad breath or what is also commonly referred to as ‘ketosis breath’
- Weakness or tiredness
Some dieticians will tell you that these side effects are only temporary and while I am not here to tell you if that is right or wrong, I would like to reiterate the importance of seeking the assistance of a professional before engaging in any form of extreme dieting.
Keto diet meals include; Eggs, butter, cheese, cream, nuts, avocado, meat, fish like salmon, trout, and tuna, spices.
Meals to avoid while on a keto diet include; Sugary food, beans, sugar-free food, fruits, grains, starchy food, tubers, and roots.
Well, that’s quite enough for the keto diet, let’s talk a bit about low-carb diet.
What is low-carb dieting
A low-carb diet is when the amount of carbohydrate food intake is reduced to a considerable level, however, the reduction is not as significant as the one found in ketogenic dieting. In low-carb dieting, food like starchy vegetables, fruits, and grains that have a high amount of carbohydrate is reduced and food that has high protein and fat content is increased. Just like n keto dieting, different types of low-carbs dieting vary by the different types of carbohydrate rations the person dieting is allowed. What this means is that one person could be asked to take 35% carbs and 65% fats and proteins while another person engaging in a low-carb diet will be required to indulge in 40% carbs and 60% proteins and fat. They all fall under the low-carb type of dieting.
Benefits of a low-carb diet
Generally speaking, low-carb dieting is mostly engaged in by people who want to lose weight or unwanted fat. It could also be because someone needs to change their entire eating habit and it could probably be inspired by health conditions like diabetes. Low-carb dieting leads to a faster form of short-term weight loss than low-fat dieting.
- Reduces the risks of type-2 diabetes:
Due to the reduction in carbohydrate intake and as we all know, carbs are what leads to the production of simple sugar in the body that the body eventually converts to energy. With little sugar in the body, the risks of developing type-2 diabetes are greatly reduced because of the low blood sugar in the body.
- Better heart condition:
Getting rid of all that excess weight and bad cholesterol will reduce the chances of the person having a stroke or getting high blood pressure.
Extreme low-carb dieting can lead to ketosis but as we have learned today there is some difference and just as ketosis or ketogenic dieting has its side effects, low-carb dieting also has its side effects and they include;
- Developing a persistent headache
- Sore muscles or muscle cramps
Also, a low-carb diet requires that you have to supplement your diet with high fat and protein intake, and a lot of medical practitioners have cautioned the high intake of fat and protein especially when the source is either animal fat or animal protein because it could lead to certain types of cancer/tumor growth or heart issues. A long-term form of low-carb dieting could even lead to more severe forms risks like
- Deficiency in minerals in the body
- Deficiency in vitamins in the body
- Gastrointestinal issues
In conclusion, while there may seem to be a lot of benefits, but just like every other thing, there are also side effects, and similar to the case of ketogenic dieting, you’d need to seek the expertise of a specialist especially if you have any pre-existing conditions, are pregnant, or underaged.
BeautyFit® Australia Team