Updated: Sep 1, 2019
The ketogenic (keto) diet has been a growing trend over the course of the past few months. I've had colleagues, clients, and friends ask me questions about this nutrition fad, so I've decided to share my take on this particular meal plan.
For those who do not know what it is, the keto diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. While some might wonder how it is possible to live a healthy lifestyle consuming these fatty meals, I'm here to let you know that it is 100% possible. The way our body works, if we cut off a certain food group, it will substitute it's use through another source. So even though carbohydrates are necessary for energy, a ketogenic diet forces your body to go into ketosis, causing it to burn your body fat for energy instead.
For someone who has a lot of extra body fat, has type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or even epilepsy - the reduction of carbs would elevate your body from each of these respectively. For people looking to lose extra fat, once your body enters the full ketosis phase your body will let go of any excess water weight first (bye-bye, bloating!), and the fat will come off second. For high blood pressure and diabetes, since carbohydrates in excess comes in forms of sugar and trans fat, your blood-glucose levels and blood pressure will drop.
Although all these things sound great, you still have to be careful when it comes to extreme diet changes such as these. Because whole food groups are excluded in the keto diet, nutrients typically found in foods like whole grains and fruit that are restricted from the diet can lead to deficiencies, especially if the diet is followed incorrectly or without proper guidance. It is vital to incorporate a wide variety of foods while eating such high amounts of fat. Each food group offers different essential nutrition. Focus on meats, seafood, vegetables, some legumes, and fruits to make sure you are getting fiber, B vitamins, and minerals such as iron, magnesium, and zinc. It would be best to consult with a registered dietitian to alleviate the possibility of any deficiencies.
There are definitely some good traits to the ketogenic lifestyle, but it is not recommended unless you consult with a medical physician first. This form of dieting isn't for everyone, so make sure your body will take to it the way that you'd like, before diving right in.