The "keto" diet has been making headlines as celebrities publicly argue over it through social media. So exactly what is the ketogenic, or keto, diet? And what exactly is good or bad about it?
The keto diet is very trendy at the moment, but popularity certainly doesn’t mean an automatic stamp of approval. Let's look at what the science says.
What you might not know is that the keto diet is actually prescribed by medical professionals to a select few who suffer from epilepsy. It’s usually for children who don’t respond to seizure medications and they are closely monitored by dietitians.
Now the keto diet is a high-fat, low carb diet — 80 percent of calories come from fats. And by cutting back on carbs, your body starts a metabolic state called ketosis, and this burns body fat.
Now looking at research, studies found low-carb diets tend to do better than low-fat diets when it comes to dropping weight. And the keto diet is no exception — it can lead to short-term weight loss.
Now the downside is that you are allowed to eat protein that’s high in saturated fat, such as beef, pork and bacon. And too much saturated fat can increase your bad LDL cholesterol, which is linked to heart disease.
Also, cutting back on healthy carbs like fruits, sweet potatoes and whole grains is not a good idea because you could be missing out on valuable nutrients and fiber.
Other potential risks include liver problems due to so much fat having to be metabolized, kidney problems as this diet could overload them, and constipation and fuzzy thinking.
So if you want to lose weight, what should you do? Here are some suggestions:
- Don’t fall for trendy diets. Too many people pack the pounds back on once they return to old eating habits.
- Don’t yo-yo diet. Losing weight and then gaining it back has been linked to a higher risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
- Reduce your portion size and eat until you're two-thirds full. Also, drink 60 ounces of water a day and skip energy drinks and soda.
- Cut out processed foods. Instead, fill your plate with plenty of vegetables and choose real foods, ones that are closest to their natural state as possible.
Eating healthier overall, and not depriving yourself, will not only help you lose weight in the long run but you’ll feel great too.