The title of this post says it all. We will discuss the benefits and risks of the ketogenic diet, which will give you a better idea of whether or not you should try it. We will provide you with the facts, but the decision is ultimately yours and should be in line with your goals and your lifestyle. Let's dig in a bit deeper into the world of ketosis.
What Is A Keto Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that aims to replace sugars with fats as the primary energy source our body uses. When you reduce carbs, which are our body's primary fuel, as they are easily utilized, our body needs to go to the stored fat and burn it for energy. During this process, our liver creates unique molecules called ketones, hence the name of the diet. Ketones are used as an energy source too and are great brain fuel, but are used in other processes around the body.
5 Benefits Of The Keto Diet
Benefit #1: Become A Fat-Frying Machine
The primary reason why you would consider switching to the keto diet is burning fat. When you cut carbs, the body will start using fat as energy, as we explained above. But, in your normal diet, carbs are a huge source of total calories, and cutting them will result in a caloric deficit.
Caloric deficit alone will cause you to lose weight, and when combined with the added fat loss caused by the diet shift to keto, you can see why this type of dieting is very popular, as it helps people lose enormous amounts of fat in a very short time.
Benefit #2: Mental Boost
When you reduce carbohydrates, your body can no longer rely on glucose as the primary energy source, so it has to turn to fat. At the same time, when the fat burning process begins, the liver starts producing ketones.
These molecules are then used in muscles, but also organs, and especially the brain. In fact, ketones are preferred by the brain, and people who are into ketosis report increased mental performance, focus, and productivity. That is also boosted by a higher intake of fatty acids, which are known to provide cognitive benefits.
Also, because of its effects on the brain, the ketogenic diet has some benefits in treating some serious diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, seizures, but also sleep disorders and even mood disorders. Keep in mind that this doesn't mean the keto diet should replace therapy. If you have any type of health condition, please first consult your doctor before starting a new diet plan.
Benefit #3: No More Energy Highs And Lows
Our body prefers carbs as the primary energy fuel as they are easily absorbed, and end up in the bloodstream quite fast. However, while this provides an advantage as they can get your energy levels high quite fast, the issue is what follows, and that is a "crash." A few hours after eating a meal based on simple carbs, you will suddenly feel hungry again. This will often lead to overeating,
When you cut carbs, you will rarely experience these energy rollercoasters. Most of your diet will be based on fats, about 75-80%, with only 5-10% coming from carbs, and the rest from protein. Fats and protein are metabolized much slower than carbs, and won't cause blood sugar spikes. So, you will feel full for longer, and your energy levels will be more stable during the day. You will eat less, feel fuller, and feel energized, and this is what makes keto unique.
Benefit #4: Reduced Blood Sugar And Insulin Levels
When you eat carbs, your blood sugar rises, and your body needs to release insulin in order to push that blood sugar into the cells, where it gets used or stored. However, if you continue eating more cabs, this process repeats over and over again, and the mechanism might start malfunctioning, leading to insulin resistance.
When this happens, the body will need to secrete even more insulin in order to clear the blood sugar and push it into cells. This vicious cycle continues, and more sugar leads to more insulin, which can lead to diabetes.
When you go keto and cut carbs, this no longer happens. Your blood sugar levels will be very low, which means your insulin levels will drop too. Therefore, the keto diet is exactly the opposite of the high-carb diet, which leads to insulin resistance, and if you are having issues with blood sugar, it is a good idea to talk to your doctor about keto.
Benefit #5: A Very Flexible Diet
Don't get us wrong, restricting carbs is not a small thing. Carbs are a macronutrient, and reducing them will take a lot of adjustments. However, this is the only thing you need to adjust, which makes keto quite flexible.
On keto, you can eat whenever you want, as long as you are still losing fat. Also, you can eat whatever you want, as long as it is low or no carb. But, the rest is completely yours.
You get to choose your own ingredients, recipes, meal frequency. Some people combine keto with a carnivore diet or intermittent fasting. The choice is yours, and as long as you are eating low-carb, you are good.
Keto Diet Risks And Drawbacks
Drawback #1: Keto Takes Time
While it is true that you will start losing fat fast once you get to ketosis, getting there takes time. But, that's not the only issue, the problem is that keto-adaptation is not very pleasant.
Keto adaptation is often followed by a series of symptoms described as keto flu. Headaches, weakness, cramps, irritability, loss of energy, these are some of the common symptoms that can last from a few days to several weeks. They will pass, but are all but pleasant.
One way to speed up the process is to take our Keto Boost, which will help you get to ketosis faster. It will also help you stabilize energy levels, which will help your performance too.
Drawback #2: Keto Is Not For Everyone
While controlling blood sugar levels sounds pleasing, people with diabetes shouldn't follow the keto diet on their own and should consult their doctor.
The issue is that if your pancreas is not functioning normally, or if you have insulin resistance, often a result of diabetes, ketosis can trigger something very dangerous, and that is ketoacidosis. This condition means you have too many ketones in your blood, and it becomes acidic, which can damage organs and cause severe issues.
It is worth noting that ketoacidosis can happen in people who do not have diabetes, but that happens extremely rarely.
Drawback #3: Keto Might Be Too Restrictive For Some
While keto is a great way to lose fat, it is not exactly easy to follow, especially for a long time. Some people just like carbs too much, and living without sugar is impossible for them. This is entirely understandable, as carbs are the default way of operating for many of us.
So, unless you are willing to do it forever, drastically cutting carbs is not the best idea for you. The reason why is simple—when you re-introduce carbs back into your diet, you will start gaining weight again, and you would accomplish nothing. Therefore, it is essential to find something sustainable long-term and stick to it. If that is keto, awesome and good for you. If it isn't, that's OK too, just keep looking.
Bottom Line: Keto Is A Great Diet, But Is Not Miraculous
People, any diet is a great diet if you can stick to eat. Keto is not miraculous and won't accomplish anything overnight. Sure, it does provide some significant benefits and is very effective when it comes to fat loss. But, that doesn't mean it is guaranteed to work for everyone. Is it going to work for you? Probably, but you will have to try it yourself and see how it goes.