Let’s Talk The Keto Diet

This popular diet has taken off like so many others. Maybe you have a neighbor or a family member who swears by it or you’ve seen the many “keto friendly” products in the store.   In short, the Keto diet is a very low carb, high fat diet like the Atkins diet that was popular in the late 1990s. It focuses on eating very low amounts of carbs and high fat.   The Keto Diet (KD) was created as medical diet therapy for epilepsy in the 1920s. It has also been shown to be useful in the treatment of diabetes. There are multiple versions of the Keto diet, usually people try the Standard Keto Diet (SKD).   The basis of the diet is that it replaces carbohydrates with fats (not necessarily protein) which then sends the body into a state of “ketosis”. Ketosis is when your body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates (glucose). The diet is often paired with intermittent fasting to get the body into a state of ketosis more quickly which can take a few days.   In the beginning one may feel irritability, fatigue, headaches, amongst other things (the “keto-flu”, Campos, 2018).   Benefits to this diet: it is an effective diet for short term weight loss and improved insulin resistance.   Downsides to the diet are that it is restrictive, not meant for long term, regain weight quickly once off the diet. If your goal is to build long lasting healthy habits, this is probably not the best choice due to its restrictive nature and focus on food choices versus holistic lifestyle choices.   Potential side effects of staying on the Keto diet long term are: increase in LDL cholesterol, macronutrient deficiencies, kidney stones, fatty liver, and low protein in the blood.   As with any eating plan or diet, do your research and think through how your lifestyle and goals will work with the plan. And most importantly, be sure to check with your doctor before starting anything new.   Resources: Wheless JW. History of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia. 2008 Nov;49 Suppl 8:3-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01821.x. PMID: 19049574. Masood W, Annamaraju P, Uppaluri KR. Ketogenic Diet. [Updated 2021 Jun 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK499830/ https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet https://charliefoundation.org/diet-plans/ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ketogenic-diet-101#diabetes