The ketogenic diet: pros and cons

20 years ago, dietetics preached to avoid fat. 10 years ago, carbohydrates were declared the main enemies. Either way, it has been speculated that the amount of calories and nutrients the body receives from protein foods. Both methods are effective and still apply. But more recently, fats have begun to be rehabilitated, becoming part of a new diet.

ketogenic diet foods

This method of feeding requires the elimination of most carbohydrates from the diet (including fruits and vegetables) and a focus on fatty foods and, to a lesser extent, proteins. The number of calories consumed daily is not higher than in other diets. The trick is that with a ketogenic diet, satiety lasts longer, appetite is reduced, and hunger lasts longer. Recommended for a ketogenic diet: fatty meats and fish, lard, eggs, nuts, animals and coconut with olive oil.

There are studies that suggest that it not only allows you to lose weight quickly, but also prolongs life and even inhibits the growth of cancer cells. However, there are other studies that warn of the dangers of this way of eating. Hollywood stars Kim Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow played a significant role in promoting the ketogenic diet. Men will be more interested in the fact that famous basketball player LeBron James, a man with the ideal physique of an athlete, has declared his adherence to this diet.

The ketogenic diet is extremely popular with programmers and managers in America's Silicon Valley. It is generally accepted that this is a necessary component of intelligent biohacking. This expression is understood as a system that combines special brain training, a special diet and "smart pills", which become more and more every year.

How does it work?

The main source of energy for cells is glucose, which enters the body with carbohydrates. It is stored in the muscles and liver as a substance called glycogen. If there are few carbohydrates from food, glycogen is consumed quickly and glucose begins to be produced from proteins and fats.

Fats are oxidized to form ketone bodies: acetone, acetoacetic and beta-hydroxybutyric acid. With a lack of glucose, they act as an alternative source of energy for cells, including brain nutrition. Subsequently, the ketone bodies are easily excreted in the urine, taking away many calories from the body. This forced adaptation of the body is called ketosis.

Short-term weight loss with this diet is greater than with other diets. Depletion of glycogen stores results in less water retention in the body. The calorie content of food is also lower due to a decrease in appetite. But the diet has enough contraindications.

Why is it dangerous?

It is unbalanced: it excludes the intake of a number of nutrients, vitamins and microelements in the body. It requires motivation and responsibility - you have to give up your favorite dishes, regularly calculate the number of calories. The diet lasts for several years and requires constant supervision by a nutritionist. It has many side effects: constipation, nausea and vomiting, reduced growth, kidney stones and changes in blood lipids.

In a few months, a ketogenic diet provides a lot of weight loss. But if it lasts a year or more, it offers no advantage over balanced diets. The lack of some B vitamins and fiber, necessary for the nutrition of the intestinal microflora, can affect health.

The consequences of long-term adherence to this diet for healthy people are poorly understood. Nutritionists advise you to choose a diet that can be sustained throughout life. And following a ketogenic diet for years is next to impossible.

The short-term effect may be successful, but the method may not work for everyone. Diet recommendations are individually selected for everyone and we do not recommend following the next trend without consulting a doctor.