What is the Keto Diet - and Does it Work?
Ketosis and Fat Burning
If you follow celebrity news or Instagram accounts, you might have heard of something called the keto Diet. With fans like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian, the diet has been gaining influential weight.
But it may be more than just the latest trend. Unlike many other diets out there, the keto diet is a recognized eating plan that has been used for decades by patients with conditions like diabetes and epilepsy.
On the keto diet, your consumption of carbohydrates (that is, starches, fibers, and sugars), is extremely limited – you’re only allowed 50 grams a day. So you might indulge in things like butter, meats, or (preferably) healthy fats like avocado and olive oil, but you won’t be able to tuck in to bags of crisps or a chocolate bar. Even foods that are often considered a welcome part of a healthy, balanced diet, like pasta or rice, are nearly banished in the Keto diet.
As this informative slideshow explains, when you eliminate carbohydrates that provide a quick energy source, your body will start looking for energy in other places – like fats and proteins. Breaking these down is a process known as ‘ketosis’ – hence the diet’s name.
In addition to weight loss, following the keto diet can also be beneficial for a number of health conditions. Diabetes and some forms of epilepsy are the most well-known, but researchers are finding that the keto diet may also help people with acne, polycystic ovary syndrome, cancer, neurological issues like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, and, believe it or not, high blood pressure and heart disease! There is much still to be learned, but the idea is that something about breaking down fats is healthier than the process of breaking down carbohydrates.
Weight loss and better health – the keto diet may sound like a win-win. And another great thing about it is that its known side effects aren’t particularly serious for most of us. But some people, including anyone who is pregnant, underweight, or suffering from hypoglycemia, shouldn’t undertake it.
Of course, no diet is without its critics. One of the biggest issues some have with the keto diet is that its pro-fat rule can be easily abused. Sure, you can have lots of butter, but some butter fans may go overboard and find that they’re not quite burning as many calories as they’d expected. Others, like nutritionist Dr. Priyanka Wali, claim that they didn’t necessarily lose weight, so much as see their body redistribute it.
But if the keto diet still sounds like a solid plan, there is an interesting way you might consider giving it a go. According to People Magazine, stars like Kourtney Kardashian go on the keto diet for a relatively short period at a time, to fire up their metabolism, before settling into a more reasonable, balanced eating plan. Not only does this seem healthier in the long run; it’s also more realistic, since most of us will miss carbs at some point and thus will probably fall off the keto wagon.
If you do decide to try out the keto diet, one thing is essential: Talk to your doctor before you start, as some health issues can be made worse by eating this way. As with all diets, no matter how much it promises to take away those extra pounds, don’t take it lightly.