People are always on the lookout for the next diet fad. The ketogenic diet has been around for close to a hundred years but has recently gained popularity as a weight loss strategy. But is this new fad really all it’s cracked up to be? We asked a registered dietitian to weigh in on the pros and cons of the keto diet.
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that forces your body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. When your body doesn’t have enough glucose (from carbohydrates) for energy, it starts breaking down stored fats into molecules called ketones and using them for energy instead. This process is known as ketosis and usually takes a few days to achieve.
The benefits of being in ketosis are rapid weight loss, decreased hunger, and improved mental clarity. However, there are also some drawbacks to this diet including an increased risk for kidney stones and constipation. Below we dive deeper into the pros and cons of this popular diet.
Rapid Weight Loss
Keto dieters often see dramatic results early on in their weight loss journey. This is because when you cut carbs out of your diet, your body has to metabolise stored fat for energy instead which leads to rapid weight loss. One study found that participants lost an average of 10 pounds in the first two weeks of following a keto diet. However, it’s important to note that this sudden weight loss is mostly water weight and not necessarily indicative of long-term results.
One benefit of the keto diet is that it can help control hunger levels due to its effect on hunger hormones like ghrelin. Ghrelin is often referred to as the “hunger hormone” because it signals to your body that it’s time to eat. When you’re following a keto diet and not eating many carbs, your ghrelin levels decrease which can lead to decreased hunger overall.
Improved Mental Clarity
When you cut carbs out of your diet, you may notice an improvement in your mental clarity due to the fact that you’re consuming less sugar. Sugar can cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar levels which can lead to brain fog or “zombie mode”. Reducing sugar intake by following a keto diet can improve mental clarity overall.
Increased Risk For Kidney Stones on Keto?
One potential drawback of following a keto diet is an increased risk for kidney stones. This is because when you restrict carbs, your body excretes more calcium which can lead to the formation of kidney stones. If you have a history of kidney stones, you should speak with a doctor before starting a keto diet as it may not be right for you.
Constipation on Keto?
Another common side effect of following a keto diet is constipation. This is due to the fact that when you cut carbs out of your diet, you’re also cutting out many sources of dietary fiber which helps with bowel regularity. To combat constipation while following a keto diet, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water and consuming foods like avocado, nuts, and seeds which are high in fiber but low in carbs.
The ketogenic diet has been gaining in popularity as a weight loss strategy but there are both pros and cons to consider before starting this type of diet plan. On the plus side, those who follow a keto diet often see rapid weight loss results and decreased hunger levels; however, there are also some potential drawbacks including an increased risk for kidney stones and constipation. Before starting any type of new diet plan, always check with a doctor or registered dietitian first to ensure it’s right for you and your individual health needs.”