You probably have a friend or family member who swears by KETO, or if you do not, you have probably heard so many celebrities who follow a religious diet.
KETO has become more than a diet nowadays, it is a way of life. Many restaurants offer a wide selection of keto on their menus, including Skinnys Bar and Grill in Bondi Australia’s first KETO CAFE! Everything on their menu is low in carbohydrates, gluten free and sugar free. Sounds good, right?
So before you get in your car and do the crazy dash in Bondi to get a cheeseburger that is ‘unblemished’, let’s see if the KETO hype stands for science.
So, what is KETO? KETO means ketogenic. A ketogenic diet involves consuming as few carbs as possible, so the body is forced to enter a state called ‘ketosis’. Importantly, it means it burns bodies fat stores than carbohydrates a person consumes daily.
Doctor Marcelo Campos from Harvard Medical School explains: “Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating sugar in the blood from food, we begin to break down stored fat in molecules called ketone body (this process is called ketosis).
“When you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to produce energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The transition, from the use of circulating glucose to the breakdown of stored fat as a source of energy, usually occurs in two to four days eating less 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
“Remember this is a very custom process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.
“Because it is low in carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It usually includes a lot of meat, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheese, fish, nuts, butter, oil, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.
Because it is so strict, it is really hard to follow the long term. Carbohydrates typically spread to at least 50% of the average American diet.
“One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. Patients with the disease kidneys need to be careful because this diet can worsen their condition.
“In addition, some patients may feel a little tired at first, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.”
Despite recent hype, the ketogenic diet is not a new one. In medicine, it was used for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children.
In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins his very low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss started with a very much strictly two-week ketogenic phase. This is where the KETO craze began, and over the years, other fad diets have incorporated a similar approach for weight loss.
Now that we know what the ketogenic diet involves, let’s take a look at how safe it is for people to follow.
According to Doctor Campos, “We have strong evidence that a ketogenic diet reduces seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Due to these neuroprotective effects, questions have arisen about possible benefits for other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism, and even brain cancer.
However, there are no human studies to support the recommendation of ketosis to treat these conditions. “
According to the world’s leading low-carb diet blogger and podcaster Jimmy Moore, author of ‘Keto Clarity’, the ketogenic diet seems to be useful for effectively treating a range of other health conditions, including metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), heartburn (GERD) non-alcoholic fatty fat disease (NAFLD), Type 2 diabetes, overweight and heart disease.
On the subject of Type 2 diabetes, Halle Berry began speaking in support of the keto diet in 2017. She explained in a look at Live With Kelly and Ryan that he is a good candidate for diet because he has diabetes.
Halle also spoke People about KETO. “I eat healthy fats all day, avocado, oil, coconut oil and I use butter, but I have no sugar. So when your body is trained to burn fats, it stays in fat mode- burn – that’s the secret, “he said.
A ketogenic diet has also been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes, at least in the short term. However, there is a lot of controversy when doctors consider the effects of KETO on cholesterol levels.
Some studies show some patients with an increase in cholesterol levels, initially, only to see a drop in cholesterol. After a few months. However, there is no long-term research studies its effects over time on diabetes and high cholesterol, at least for now.
Back to Ms. Bond a minute. Berry is just one of many celebs who swear by the KETO diet to help them fight health conditions naturally, along with others who seem to be cursing the diet for staying lean and slender.
It seems that weight loss is the main reason why many people use ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of faster weight loss when patients enter a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet.
However, the difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time, as the KETO lifestyle is difficult to maintain in the long run. And here we hit a crossroads.
If you want to lose weight, the fastest route to lose kilos is often taken, without over-considering the long-term side effects or any advice taken from a doctor or dietician on ‘proper diet’.
KETO is often promised to ‘make you faster’, as low-carb diets are notorious for rapid fat loss. People often lose a large amount of weight with KETO, then afterwards, go back to their ‘normal’ way of eating. The weight slowly returned and, then we went on a diet again; Usually even more limited than the first time. It is often harder to lose a second time on a diet, and whenever we restrict our bodies heavily, our metabolisms are subject to a lot of stress. This process is called ‘yo-yo’ dieting and can be harmful in the long run.
Studies have shown that most people who participate in the KETO diet, end up gaining weight faster than those who follow other strict diets. Why is that First, metabolic needs are largely based on body composition. Muscle uses more energy than fat, so higher muscle mass means higher calorie needs.
Leading Dietician and Nutritionist Emily Baum explains KETO ‘yo-yo’ dieting like this:
‘Rapid weight loss often means muscle loss, not just fat loss. Most, if not ALL Fad diets are usually not maintained so that when the “diet is over”, your body composition is completely different now. You have less muscle, which means you now need to consume fewer calories than before the diet to maintain your new weight. People will maintain their “normal” eating patterns and gain weight. This causes people to blame the “carbs” or what food group they removed. If in fact, you changed the composition of your body, so your calorie needs changed. Here KETO can be dangerous.
So, is the key to carbohydrates removed?
It seems that the KETO Diet does not sustain long-term; therefore, there are no long-term studies supporting that a keto diet is “healthy”, specifically for weight loss or reducing death rates.
So what can we remove from all this?
If you do not have a preliminary health condition, (mentioned above), or are not advised to eat KETO by a Doctor, Specialist or Dietician, perhaps following a traditional Mediterranean diet is the answer to optimal health, longevity and weight loss remains off.
This way of eating combines a great combination of healthy fats and healthy, complex carbs. By incorporating a larger food group, it ensures that cravings are avoided, while getting all the nutrition you need to feel full and happy.
So what are you waiting for! Let’s go cooking those gemista (stuffed capsicums) and grilled lamb with Greek salad. Happy healthy carb consumption!