The ketogenic diet is a unique type of diet for weight loss and treating various medical conditions. This diet is rich in fat, minimal carbohydrate, and sufficient protein to ensure survival and normal functioning of the body’s metabolic process. This diet helps n rapid weight loss, and there have been a lot of models, athletes and fitness enthusiast with a good physique and body as testimonials to the benefits of this diet. It has been revealed by various researchers that there are a lot of benefits from this diet. There are pros and cons when it comes to diet and training regimen. This popular ketogenic diet also has some side effects, especially when used for a prolonged period.
Naturally, by default, the body runs on glucose which is the final breakdown of carbohydrates. The body converts carbohydrates, protein, and fats into glucose, peptide, and fatty acid respectively. Conventionally, the body uses the nutrients derived from this digested food molecules for metabolic processes in the body, while storing the rest as reserves all over the body. The excess glucose from digested carbohydrates is stored in the liver and muscle tissue for future use or emergency states. Hypoglycemia or low-carb diets sends a signal to the brain and activates the use of the stored glycogen as fuel, moreover when the glycogen stores are depleted, the body is forced to start using fatty acid as the primary energy source.The ketogenic diet is a diet low in carbohydrates with high fat; this diet regimen forces the body to undergoes a process called ketosis, in which the body uses fatty acid as the primary source of energy. The sudden change in diet could take a while, before the body,s adaptation mechanism is fully kick-started. There are a lot of sides–effects and consequences that occur during this transient change. Most of this side effects could be avoided and eliminated with proper planning and normal physiological processes. There have been many controversies about the use of ketogenic diet; most people argued that, if the body were meant to run on fats, that would have been the default settings of the body. Despite, this sentimental perspective, we know the principal aim of scientific discoveries and research is to keep finding ways to make our lives better. What if, your body running on fats can help you cure medical conditions like epilepsy and diabetes, or solve the low self-esteem or health hazards of obese people? This is some of the numerous reasons, why ketogenic diet is one of the latest trends in the world. There has not been n any proven scientific research on the long-term side effects of ketogenic diet, most of its impact is transient during the adaptation period of the body to this new feeding lifestyle and method. These side-effects are not enough reasons to forfeit the benefits boosted by this diet
Long-term Effects of Ketogenic Diet
There are numerous long-term side effects of ketogenic diets due to 3 primary mechanism( hypoglycemia, Hypothalamic-pituitary axis dysfunction, electrolyte dysbalance). This 3 main factor is responsible for most of the long-term side effects of ketogenic diet. The most common long-term effects include:
- Keto Breadth: This is one of earl side –effects of ketogenic Reduced carbohydrates and increased fat stimulate a process in the body called ketosis. This process leads to release of ketone bodies in the form of acetone which gives the characteristic unpleasant smell when you speak. The good news is that this ketone body is released in high concentration during the adaptation phase and wears off after 1-3 weeks.
- Dermatological Problems: One of the long-term side effects of ketogenic diet is a nutritional deficiency which could present as skin manifestations. The kind of skin manifestation present depends on the deficient vitamin. Back and arm bumps combined with rough skin is pathognomic for vitamin A and E deficiency. Vitamin c and K plays a vital role in clot formation and could lead to frequent nose bleed and easy bruises, when deficient or insufficient in the body. Stretch marks have linked to inadequate of zin in the body due to prolonged ketogenic diets. Reduced intake of the vitamin B complexes could cause increased frequency of acne, especially during menstruation.
- Ocular Manifestations: The eyes are one of the most delicate parts of the body due to its location and function. Nutritional deficiencies due to sudden dietary changes could cause different ocular manifestations in the body. Poor night vision reduced blood supply to the eye, and pale lower eyelid are due to deficiencies of vitamins A, C, and D respectively. Dark circles under the eye are often experienced by people participating in the ketogenic diet, especially when there is reduced fluid intake. There could also be the presence of sunken eyes due to prolonged
- Eating Difficulty: Some people have been reported to experience some difficulty eating especially due to sores on the corners of the mouth, canker sores, painful tongue, ageusia, and
- Sugar Craving: This is one of the most interesting side-effects of the ketogenic diet because excessive sugar intake which leads to weight gain is one of the primary reasons, people embark on weight loss journey with ketogenic diet in the first place. This sugar craving is often transient and depends on the willpower of the individual; it stops when you to satisfy the urge or cravings. This could be a long-term side effect in people with a problem controlling their cravings for sugar.
- Reduced Physical Performance and Energy: We have all experienced that sudden surge of energy after drink coca-cola or any sugar or caffeine-containing This feeling and result are reversed when we starve our body of sugar. It takes some time for the body to get used to functioning correctly with fat as its primary source of energy. However, these side-effects are often temporary, because humans are the most adaptive organism, our body adapts to this new diet regimen, and you would experience increased energy with time.
There is not enough scientific proof to back up claims of long-term side effects of ketogenic diets. However, there are strange side-effects that occur during the transition and adaptation process. The best diet is a consistent and healthy way of life. Make eating lifestyle.
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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.