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Ketogenic diets are all the rave nowadays, so if you are looking to embark on one right now, here is the complete information so you can decide whether it’s the right journey for you.

The what

A ketogenic diet is basically about decreasing carbohydrate consumption and increasing fat consumption with minimum or little protein intake. The point of consuming a high-fat diet is to enable the body to achieve a ketosis state in which our bodies will burn fat as ther main source of energy. The fat will be transformed into ketones, supplying enough energy for the brain. Ketosis is a mild condition of ketoacidosis, a dangerous condition that happens to type 1 diabetes patients. Although there are many pros and cons to this diet, several studies have shown that a ketogenic diet is considered safe and effective, especially for overweight and obese individuals. Do remember to use this diet for a limited period only and under a doctor’s guidance because the benefits and impacts still need to be further researched.

The benefits

Control blood sugar in type 2 diabetes patients

For type 2 diabetes sufferers, a ketogenic diet is recommended as long as the fats consumed are healthy fats that comes from salmon, nuts, and avocados, for example. A low carbohydrates intake is considered effective in lowering blood-sugar levels in patients. To monitor the safety of ketogenic diets in diabetes patients, it is highly advised that they routinely check their blood-sugar level every day to make sure it doesn’t get too low. Ketone levels needs to checked as well to avoid ketoacidosis.

Ease epilepsy symptoms in children

A ketogenic diet can reduce the symptoms of epilepsy in children, with the diet more effective for kids with epilepsy symptoms that are hard to cure with regular medication. Research on 150 kids with epilepsy showed that after undergoing a ketogenic diet for a year, half of the kids showed that epilepsy symptons had decreased by as much as 50 per cent.

Decrease the risk of heart diseases

A ketogenic diet high in healthy fats can help decrease the risk of heart disease. This is due to the fact that as the diet decreases insulin level, cholesterol levels will also decrease. This condition will reduce the risk of heart disease as well as high blood pressure.

Lower the risk of nerve disturbances

Aside from epilepsy, a ketogenic diet may also benefit nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s, sleep disturbances, and Parkinson’s disease. This is because the ketones that are produced by the body will transform fat into energy so it can protect the brain cells from damage.

Other benefits

A ketogenic diet also gives other benefits, such as reducing the occurrence of pimples, aiding PCOS, and preventing cancer growth. Other than that, a ketogenic diet can also prevent uric acid inflammation.

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Recommended food and fats

  • Eggs, especially those containing Omega 3
  • Chicken, turkey, sausage, and other lean meat products
  • Tuna, salmon, and mackerel
  • Cream, margarine, and cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, onions, chilis, and other low-carbohydrate vegetables
  • Nuts and seeds like almond, sesame, chia, and pumpkin seeds
  • Avocados, consumed directly or through cooked forms
  • Olive oil,  avocado oil, or coconut oil
  • Salt, pepper, and various natural herbs

To be avoided

  • Carbohydrates

  • Rice, pasta, cereals, and wheat products

  • Tuberous vegetables such as yams, potatoes, and carrots

  • Sweet food or drinks such as candy, ice cream, cakes, fruit juice, and soda

  • Unhealthy fats from vegetable oil or mayonnaise

  • Alcoholic drinks

Long-term risks

  • Lack of healthy carbohydrate intake that comes from fruits, whole wheat, nuts, seeds, and carbohydrate-rich vegetables

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency

  • Kidney disorders if protein consumption exceeds recommended portions in the long term

  • Increased risk of ketoacidosis

Keto Flu

When you start following a ketogenic diet, you will experience discomfort known as “keto flu”, which happens when your body is adjusting to the new diet. Possible symptoms include:

  • Weakness

  • Anxiety

  • Insomnia

  • Nausea

  • Disturbing feeling of hunger

  • Lower concentration power

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Can you exercise on a keto diet?

The answer is yes, but avoid exercises that are categorised as “high intensity”, especially if you are new to the diet. As we mentioned, you may not feel your best at the beginning of the diet due to keto flu, with you literally experiencing flu-like symptoms. As the brain’s main fuel source is the glucose that comes from carbs, as it starts using ketone bodies it will need some adjustment. Although keto flu symptoms will disappear within the first few days, it is recommended that you avoid workouts that need quick reaction times. Thinking of trying out a new form of exercise? Maybe you should do it after the diet.

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Best exercises for keto diet

Your energy levels will dip as your body adjusts itself to an absence of carbs in your diet, so choose low-intensity workouts such as yoga, pilates, and walking. After a while, when you feel like your body has adjusted to the new diet, you can begin kicking your workouts up a notch. When you are in a ketosis state, you aren’t using glycogen so you can potentially burn more fat by doing cardio workouts. However, keep in mind that until your energy levels increase again, it’s better to stay away from high-intensity interval training (HIIT) such as Tabata workouts, crossfit training, sprinting, and even excessive repetition of jumping jacks and burpees. You have to assess your own energy levels, and once you feel that you’re ready, you can slowly increase the intensity of the workouts.

Last note

Consider the benefits and risks of a ketogenic diet—or any diet, for that matter—before embarking on one. Don’t be tempted to go on a ketogenic diet just because it promises fast weight loss, because there is a risk of dangerous condition of ketoacidosis. Basically, no matter what kind of diet you want to try, it will give different results for different people. So adjusting the diet type with your body’s condition, needs, and ability is recommended. If necessary, consult with a doctor or nutritionist before embarking on a ketogenic diet. And remember to love your body no matter what shape it is because there’s no one else like you in this world.

See Also: Bridging Healthcare Needs: Top 7 Health And Wellness Start-Ups In Indonesia

Tags: Lifestyle, Health, Diet, Ketogenic