The Ketogenic diet is one that is made up of high-fat, sufficient protein, and low-carbohydrate. This diet has been shown to be helpful in the losing weight, and also in improving health. The starch and carbohydrates in the diet undergo metabolism, then the glucose produced is used for energy. However, the fat food materials are broken down to produce fatty acid and ketone bodies, when there is an insufficient amount of carbohydrate in the diet. The ketogenic diet also helps in the treatment of some other disease such as diabetes mellitus, cancer and neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. However, this diet used mainly for the treatment of epilepsy in kids, especially the type of epilepsy that has proven difficult to control. This is because a high level of ketone in the body leads to a decrease in the rate which epilepsy occurs. This has been shown to be effective by kids that tried this therapy. The effect of this therapy also persists even after the diet has been stopped or discontinued. However, this therapy has some side effects, and the most common one is constipation. This can be attributed to fluid restriction, which used to be a constituent of the diet. Also, there have been cases of the formation of kidney stones, which equally is as a result of fluid restriction.
Types Of Ketogenic Diets
There are various types of the ketogenic diet. They include;
- Standard ketogenic diet: This is a kind of diet that contains low carbohydrate, a moderate amount of protein, and a high amount of fat diet. To break it down in numbers, it contains 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrate.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet: This diet contains periods of higher carbohydrate refeeds. As an illustration, the individual could have 5 ketogenic days, followed by 2 high carbohydrate days
- Targeted ketogenic diet: This diet gives room for people to consume carbohydrates after each workout
- High ketogenic diet: This diet is similar to that of the standard ketogenic diet. The only difference is the targeted ketogenic diet has more protein. Thea ratio of the food is 60 percent fat. 35 percent protein, and 5 percent carbohydrate.
The cyclical and targeted ketogenic diets are mostly used by athletes and bodybuilders and have not been well studied. On the other hand, the standard and high protein ketogenic diet have been well studied, although the standard ketogenic diet is the most studied and recommended.
Benefits Of The Ketogenic Diets
- Loss of weight: The ketogenic diet coupled with frequent physical activities is one of the most effective ways of losing weight. You can lose a significant of weight without having to bother yourself about counting your food calories before consuming them. Studies have shown that people on ketogenic diet loss two times body weight, as compared to those on the calorie-restricted low-fat There are many reasons why the ketogenic diet is better and more effective than other types of diet, especially in weight loss. The first reason is the high amount of protein intake, which does the body a lot of good. A high intake of protein, coupled with frequent work out in the gym would give you a lean muscle mass if done consistently. Also, the low amount of sugar, coupled with the high amount of ketones and better insulin sensitivity also plays a role.
- It helps in the treatment of diabetes: Diabetes alters the body metabolism. This is because of the dysfunction of insulin, and high amount of blood sugar. The ketogenic diet helps to lose weight, especially the excess fat. Considering that the ketogenic diet has a low amount of carbohydrates, that essentially produces glucose for the body use. The body would have to rely on the body fat to produce energy for the body. They are broken down into fatty acids and ketones. In addition, the ketogenic diet increases insulin sensitivity by almost 80%. Most diabetic patients on the ketogenic diet are usually able to reduce or stop taking diabetic pills after a while.
- Cardiovascular diseases: The ketogenic diet is also helpful in reducing the chances of having diseases of the heart and vessels. This is because the ketogenic diet helps to reduce the fat in the body, essentially reducing the rate at which fat plaques are been build up in the vessels. This protects the body against disorders like hypertension, hypercholesterolemia and so on.
- Cancer: The ketogenic diet is also used for the treatment of some types of cancer, and to also reduce the tumor
- Epilepsy: According to research and some studies, the ketogenic diet significantly reduces and even stops epilepsy in children. This is because ketosis, a condition in which there is a high level of ketones in the blood, reduces the rate at which seizures and epilepsy occur.
- Skin disorders: Consuming a low amount of sugar-containing food reduces the risks of having skin disease like acne. In addition, lower insulin also helps with this.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome: The ketogenic diet helps to decrease the amount of insulin in the body, which plays a key role in the development of the polycystic ovarian syndrome.
- Parkinson’s disease: Studies have shown that the ketogenic diet helps in improving the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Side Effects Of The Ketogenic Diet
People often experience some side effects initially, but this usually improves after a while. Below are some of the common negative symptoms of the ketogenic diet;
- Reduced physical performance.
- Nausea and vomiting
- They get hungry rapidly.
- Cramps: Some patients on this diet might experience cramps especially in the legs. This does cause a lot of discomforts. This can be attributed to dehydration and the loss of body minerals. It’s important to know that a high amount of ketones in the body leads to a reduction in body water weight.
- Gastrointestinal problems: Patients might experience symptoms such as constipation initially, which might be due to consuming the insufficient amount of fluid, and eating enough fiber, However, this resolves within a matter of weeks
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Liu, Y. and Wang, H. (2013). Medium-chain Triglyceride Ketogenic Diet, An Effective Treatment for Drug-resistant Epilepsy and A Comparison with Other Ketogenic Diets. Biomedical Journal, 36(1), p.9.
Payne, N., Cross, J., Sander, J. and Sisodiya, S. (2011). The ketogenic and related diets in adolescents and adults-A review. Epilepsia, 52(11), pp.1941-1948.
Watkins, C. (2016). Prescribing dietary fat: therapeutic uses of ketogenic diets. INFORM International News on Fats, Oils, and Related Materials, 27(2), pp.6-11.