The ketogenic diet (or keto diet, for short) is a low-carb, high-fat diet. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. Ketogenic diets can cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has some health benefits but must be monitored closely by your doctor.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a natural metabolic state. It involves the body producing ketone bodies out of fat, and using them for energy instead of carbs. You can get into ketosis by following a very low-carb, high-fat ketogenic diet. To go into ketosis, people generally need to eat fewer than 50 grams of carbs per day and sometimes as little as 20 grams per day. This requires removing certain food items from your diet, such as grains, candy and sugary soft drinks. You also have to cut back on legumes, potatoes and fruit. While ketosis is part of normal metabolism, ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated. In ketoacidosis, the bloodstream is flooded with extremely high levels of glucose (blood sugar) and ketones. When this happens, the blood becomes acidic, which is seriously harmful.
Who should NOT do a ketogenic diet?
Ketogenic diets have become a popular weight loss diet but must be closely monitored by your doctor. There are a few potential side effects you may experience from ketosis and ketogenic diets. These include headache, fatigue, constipation, high cholesterol levels and bad breath. While ketosis is generally safe for healthy people. Nevertheless, it will not suit everyone. Some people may feel great and full of energy in ketosis, while others feel miserable. Always speak to your doctor for more advise.
Supplementing a keto diet
Making major shifts in your eating habits is no small task, limiting or excluding food can cause your body to become deficient in key nutrients. Initially you may feel better and see visible change and the promised benefits, but its important to realize that in order to switch you may need to add few supplements to your regular regime.
Our body types are different hence a well formulated “Ketogenic diet” should have a balance adequate protein and wholesome food rich in nutrients and make sure you are covering all of your bases and not leaving you with any deficiencies. Since you are cutting on many food types, It may lead to many nutrient deficiencies such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (especially vitamin A, D, E, & K) and minerals like calcium, phosphorus, sodium, which most people are deficient of (resulting in a dehydration like effect). For better optimization of Keto plan you should always supplements with specific nutrients.
Magnesium is a mineral that boosts energy, regulates blood sugar levels and supports your immune system. On a ketogenic diet, it may be even more difficult to meet your magnesium needs, as many magnesium-rich foods like beans and fruits are also high in carbs. For these reasons, taking 200–400 mg of magnesium per day may be beneficial if you’re on a keto diet.
Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, such as fish or krill oil, are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which benefit health in many ways. Omega-3 supplements can be particularly beneficial for people on ketogenic diets, as they can help maintain a healthy omega-3 to omega-6 ratio when following a high-fat diet.
The keto diet doesn’t necessarily put you at a higher risk of developing a vitamin D deficiency, but since vitamin D deficiency is common in general, supplementing with this vitamin is a good idea.
One of the main complaints of those new to the ketogenic diet is that the high fat content of this eating pattern is tough on their digestive system. If you’re experiencing digestive issues like nausea, diarrhea and bloating when transitioning to a ketogenic diet, a digestive enzyme blend that contains enzymes that break down fats (lipases) and proteins (proteases) may help optimize digestion.
Collagen is a structural protein, found in our muscles, bones, skin, hair, nails, ligaments, tendons blood vessels, and organs. Like glue, it essentially holds the body together, forming our connective tissues and repairing wounds. As we age, our body produces less and less collagen, leading to wrinkles, droopy skin, brittle nails, and joint issues. Aside from eating collagen itself, eating nutrients our body needs to produce collagen (and convert the protein into a form we can use) is also important. Vitamin A and vitamin C are collagen co-factors, meaning your body needs them to produce collagen.
Everybody is different and it may be best to check in with a doctor or nutritionist as you transition to the high-fat lifestyle — they can help you figure out which approach is right for you.