As we all know, the keto (ketogenic) diet has been taking the internet by storm. When the Keto Diet first started getting public recognition, a lot of people were skeptical, saying that it’s harmful without any true scientific research to back it up. However, as more and more people hear about it, the initial skepticism and fear of it being a fraud diet slowly changed into curiosity and a lot of people started giving it a try.
And lo and behold, they started seeing results. Even with only a week of being in a keto diet, some claim to lose up to 3 pounds, other even more. With more people coming out with their weight loss claim, this slowly but surely divided the people into two teams. The pro-keto and the anti-keto.
So with that, today, we will once and for all debunk what it is about keto that brought such a hype into the health & nutrition communities and also decide if this is a diet of the decade.
This is what we will be discussing in this post today :
- What is Keto Diet?
- How Healthy is it?
- Foods to Eat
- Foods to Avoid
- Side Effects of Keto
- Is It Sustainable?
- Personal Keto Experience
What is Keto Diet?
Keto diet is most known as a low-carb, high-fat diet. Most of the cells in our body prefer to use blood sugar as the body’s main source of energy; which comes from carbohydrates. In a ketogenic diet however, instead of fueling the body with carbs like rice, noodles, or bread, dieters consume foods with high fats such as : bacon, butter and cream. This results in the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, hence, the body will start breaking down stored fat molecules called “ketones”. This is what most dieters call “entering ketosis state”.
How Healthy Is It?
There has been researches shown that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes even just as effective as medication. It has also been proven that the keto diet has show short term improvement on blood sugar control for people with type 2 diabetes. There has been a controversy about this however, with some research showing that the cholesterol levels increases in the beginning, and to slowly fall over the course of a few months. Despite the amazing short term results however, there is no long term research analyzing the effects of keto diet over time on people who suffer from diabetes and high cholesterol.
Another major reason why so many people choose to try out the keto diet however, is weight loss. There have been up to 50 studies showing good evidence of a quick weight loss when a person goes on a ketogenic diet. However, unless you keep yourself on a strict amount of carbohydrate intake, low-fat diets tend to backfire.
Foods to Eat
- Meats & seafoods : fish, beef, lamb, eggs, poultry, etc.
- Above ground veggies : broccoli, cauliflower, paprika, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc.
- Leafy greens : lettuce, spinach, kale, etc.
- High Fat Dairy : cheese, cream, butter, yogurt, etc.
- Nuts and seeds : macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, etc.
- Avocados and berries : blueberries, strawberries, raspberries
- Other fats : coconut oil, olive oil, etc.
- Shirataki noodles
- Dark chocolate or cocoa powder
Foods to Avoid
- Grains and starches : wheat, corn, rice, cereal, oats, etc.
- Sugar : honey, maple syrup, agave, etc.
- Chips and crackers
- Root veggies : potato, yams, carrots, beets, etc.
- Fruits : bananas, watermelon, apple, grapes, etc.
- Some oils: sesame oil, canola oil, sunflower oil, etc.
- Alcohol : sweet wine, beer, cider, other sweetened alcoholic drinks.
Side Effects of Keto
Common but easily treatable short-term side effects of being in a ketogenic diet includes constipation, sweating and chills, fatigue, anxiety, excessive thirsts, lightheadedness, low grade acidosis –– increased acidity in the blood, and low blood sugar.
For children who are in longterm keto diet, seems to have increased risk of stunted growth, bone fractures and kidney stones. Research has shown that about one in 20 children on the ketogenic diet develop kidney stones.
Long-term adult keto dieters should be cautious the possibilities of developing kidney stones and increased level of cholesterol and triglycerides. Women who does this long-term, may also experience disruption to menstrual circles.
In order to manage these side effects, supplementation of vitamins and minerals are routinely administered to patients following the ketogenic diet. This commonly comprises of a multivitamin, calcium and vitamin D supplements.
Is It Sustainable?
Presently, there hasn’t been a lot of research showing the long-term sustainability of a ketogenic diet over the course of years. One of the reasons to this was partly because the diet has only gained popularity in the last few years, and also because staying in keto diet for a lengthy amount of time is difficult since the diet itself is so strict, which made it hard to do a long-term nutrition research on humans.
With that said though, there isn’t any evidence that suggests long-term keto is a bad idea.
Personal Keto Experience
Of course, seeing how it took the internet by storm and with how much it was talked about, you already know that my curious self needed to jump in on the hype train and gave it try.
I will hereby let it be known that I only did it for a week before i changed it to dirty keto, since for me personally this diet just wasn’t sustainable for someone who likes snacking of food as much as i do.
At the time when i heard about the ketogenic diet, i was at a place where i wasn’t quite happy with the tummy fat that i have accumulated over the years of eating out and not exercising. So when I started, I went cold turkey. I didn’t even try to test the waters, i just went full out into cutting all carbs from my diet.
One Week of Keto Diet
For the first and second day, i felt hungry most of the time. Even after i ate, i would crave more foods. And not just any other foods, i was craving sweets. It was a craving like never before. When i went to the supermarket to get groceries –– as i needed to start cooking cause the foods around me are all carb based –– i kept wanting to grab a chocolate cake, or even an energy bar. But alas, my self control was strong enough to resist, barely.
Third to fifth day, my body started to settle. I didn’t really feel all that hungry anymore, actually, i barely even had any appetite at all. I ate because i knew that my body need the sustenance to keep me going, but that’s about it. The cravings were faint by now. In this stage, truly i don’t care for food.
Fifth to seventh day is where the lightheadedness started to kick in. Since i am the kind of person who grew up eating a bunch of fruits, suddenly having to restrict all of it down to berries had me in a knot. I constantly feel parched, it was as if no matter the amount of water i drank, i kept feeling thirsty. And i could still remember at the time that all i wanted was to feel the juice of an mandarin orange burst in my mouth. But of course, i didn’t break. I kept on with the carb fast.
By the end of the week, i felt pretty listless and a little tired. Not too much where it hindered my daily activities, but it was as if there was this fog in my brain that made thinking and concentrating difficult. So in the end, i decided to call it quits, and stick on dirty keto instead. And found that doing dirty keto, with the side of daily exercise works the best for me and my body.