Every few years, a new diet becomes the buzzword that everyone seems to hear about. Whether it’s on your Instagram feed, a co-worker is talking about its amazing effects, or you’re hearing about it on the nightly news—the keto diet (ketogenic diet) has been gaining popularity throughout 2018 and 2019. However, researchers have concerns both about its effectiveness for losing weight as well as its overall safety. Read on to learn more about what the keto diet is, what the diet looks like, and whether this may be a good choice for you.
A Glance at What Eating on the Keto Diet Looks Like
The keto diet is named such because it wants your body to make ketones. Another way to describe this is to “reach ketosis.” A typical meal plan or diet would include all of the food groups, and the body would burn carbohydrates in order to gain energy. On the keto diet, the trick is to get your body to burn fat instead for fuel (thus, reaching ketosis).
This cuts out many important food groups, which is what has researchers concerned. Overall, the keto diet is high-fat and moderate protein. Some foods you can eat include:
- Oils, heavy cream, and butter
- All meats and eggs (beef, pork, lamb, chicken)
- Fish, particularly fatty fish like salmon
- Cheese and cream cheese
- Non-starchy vegetables
This is not an all-inclusive list but should give some idea of foods you can eat. The list of foods you can’t eat or drink is much longer. Essentially, you’re trying to limit your carbohydrate intake to under 30g a day, which is next to nothing. Beans, grains, and legumes are also cut from the diet, as well as most fruits, sugars, and alcohol.
How the Keto Diet May Help With Weight Loss
Some who are on the keto diet insist that it has helped with weight loss, and there is no reason to discount these anecdotes. Limiting carbs and sugar intake is certainly linked with losing weight, and in fact, most doctors recommend this to those who are trying to lose weight, even if they are severely obese. Part of the problem with “fad diets” is that there is not enough research to know what the long-term effects are of following the diet for an extended period of time. And, because no diet will help you lose weight overnight and no diet will work without exercise, a patient would have to “do keto” for a long time to lose a significant amount of weight.
Doctors are concerned because keto is not nutritionally adequate. While it’s a great idea to cut out processed foods and refined sugars, limiting fruits and other “good carbs” may have long-term health effects. Also, there’s no evidence that points to being in “ketosis” for a long period of time is actually helpful to the body—in fact, it may be detrimental. Low-carb diets are not necessarily a bad thing, but for those who truly want to lose weight, it’s a better idea to discuss options with your doctor as opposed to trying a fad diet on your own. It is a concern that the side effects of following the ketogenic diet for too long can increase the risk of heart disease or diabetes.
People Who Should Avoid the Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is likely not a good idea for quite a few patients, especially ones that have a good amount of weight to lose. However, some people should avoid keto at all costs as the health risks are just too significant. These populations include:
- Those with type 1 diabetes (those who are insulin-dependent)
- Those who have had their gallbladder removed (a high-fat diet will leave you feeling sick and lethargic)
- Those with thyroid disease (keto interferes with thyroid hormones)
- Those with multiple sclerosis (MS)
- Those with a history of eating disorders, particularly binging
The keto diet has been successfully proven as a treatment for children with epilepsy and may be tied to the treatment of other problems, such as Parkinson’s disease and bipolar disorder. However, overall more research is needed to discover whether keto is a viable treatment for conditions other than pediatric epilepsy.
If you need more information about diets or would like a consultation to learn more about losing weight to achieve a better quality of life, request a consultation today at NEW You Weight Loss. We provide three distinct weight loss treatments that may be a viable option for those struggling to lose weight.