Diet fashions come and go. Ketogenic diet is an extremely low carbohydrate diet that has been used since the 1920s to treat children with drug-resistant epilepsy. However, she is currently keen to lose weight to celebrities such as Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian and Melissa McCarthy.
When carbohydrate intake is reduced, glucose levels – normally the main body energy source – is decreasing, forcing the body to burn fat and, to a lesser extent, protein to energy. The result is compounds called ketones (such as acetone) that can use the body for energy. The end result is a metabolic state called ketosis, which also occurs during fasting, uncontrolled diabetes and alcoholism.
People lose weight on this diet, but most studies show that weight loss is not significantly higher after a year than other diets. Diabetics in this diet have improved blood sugars and A1C (blood marker averaging blood sugar over the previous three months). However, there are no long-term studies to show the lasting benefits of the keto diet and there are fears of adverse health effects. Here are some questions:
• People in this diet tend to have tiredness, bad breath, flatulence, constipation, dizziness, sleeping problems, and generally do not feel well (sometimes referred to as "keto flu").
• The keto diet does not contain fiber, because foods rich in fiber, such as whole grains, legumes and many fruits and vegetables, are forbidden. Lack of fiber is the reason why constipation occurs and fibers play a role in many other aspects of optimal human health.
• High cholesterol (LDL) increases in keto diet due to high saturated fat intake.
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• At least some of the initial massive weight loss that sometimes occurs with keto diets is caused by the loss of water associated with the ketosis status – and for adequate health, water is important.
• The keto diet is difficult to maintain because it basically eliminates the whole group of foods (carbohydrates).
• There is a low amount of micronutrients in the diet with keto because it eliminates whole grains, most fruits and many vegetables.
Most importantly, we should be cautious about getting nutritional information from celebrities. People did not develop to eat an extremely low carbohydrate content. There are much healthier ways to lose weight, with lifestyle changes backed by good science. The Paleo diet will be discussed in the next week's column and science for a diet diet without salt, sugar or added oil the following week.
Dr. Feinsinger, who left the Glenwood Medical Associates for 42 years as a family doctor, has a non-profit Center for Disease Prevention and Treatment through Nutrition. He is available free of charge consultations on the prevention of heart attack and other medical issues. Call 970-379-5718. For questions about its columns, send an e-mail to [email protected]