Is the Keto Diet a Safe Way to Lose Weight?
Every time you turn around, there seems to be a new fad diet that is all the buzz leading Americans to fuel a weight loss industry worth $66 billion.1 With so much for this industry to gain, it is wise to consider if a fad diet is really in our best interest before beginning on a new path of cutting carbs, eating only raw fruits and vegetables or whatever the diet’s rules may be.
Some of the unsafe methods to weight loss that actually caught on in past decades may shock you. With individuals willing to consume sedatives to sleep more and avoid eating or consuming tapeworm eggs to decrease the amount of calories absorbed by the body, it is obvious that the nearly 3 in 4 overweight American adults1 are desperate for that quick and magical cure to better manage their weight. Be sure to consult with your physician and ensure the results of a new diet plan do not produce new health concerns.
What is the Ketogenic diet?
If you have enjoyed the bacon loving craze in recent years, you may have been excited to learn of the Ketogenic (Keto) diet. Historically, Keto has been a successful means of controlling drug- resistant epilepsy and seizures in children since the early 20th century. Although, recently it has caught on as a new means to weight loss.
Keto is a high fat and very low carb diet. It encourages its followers to consume fewer than 50 grams of carbs a day (less than four slices of bread). Normally, the body burns carbs to produce energy. Since the body has few carbs available for energy when following a Keto diet, the body is forced into a state called ketosis and burns fat. Using ketosis to amp up weight loss is not a new concept. Atkins, the popular diet of the early 2000’s, is another method which consists of a period of ketosis.
What are the benefits or side effects of the Keto diet?
As with any popular diet, research of the benefits and side effects of following the Keto diet are sure to continue for years to come. Although, such research is often difficult to conduct since many individuals will not stick to the diet long term. Current research by the Mayo Clinic reports that there is little evidence to show that this type of eating is safe or effective long term unless the benefits of preventing epilepsy or seizures is a factor.2
Patients of kidney disease in particular are discouraged from following this diet as it may worsen their condition. Very low carb diets also have higher rates of side effects such as headaches, constipation and bad breath as well as vomiting, tiredness when beginning the diet, and difficulty sleeping.3 To meet Keto’s requirements, many healthy foods are eliminated such as root vegetables, fruits, and legumes, making it difficult to meet daily nutritional needs.
It will be interesting to see if the ketogenic diet is a common alternative to treat certain medical conditions in the future. Generally, the diet is not recommended by practitioners as it is hard to follow and heavy on notoriously unhealthy foods such as red meat, fatty, processed, and salt-filled foods. Until a quick and magical alternative emerges that is also healthy, the same rules for weight loss apply that practitioners have been recommending for decades. To lose weight, individuals should consume a balanced diet of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water while exercising regularly. This seems to be the best tried and true method to maintain a healthy lifestyle while controlling weight.
If you’re struggling to manage your weight, we want to help you achieve a healthier lifestyle. You can find out more information at mmgbariatrics.com. You may also call Dr. Sawyer’s office at (580) 510-7042 to learn if you are a candidate for weight loss surgery.
1 Time Magazine. 5 June 2017. The Weight Loss Trap: Why Your Diet Isn’t Working.
2 Mayo Clinic. 8 March 2018. The truth behind the most popular diet trends of the moment.
3 Harvard Health Publishing. 6 July 2018. Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you?
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