diet has been a treatment for epilepsy since the 1920s, but nowadays the diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss.
Why is that?
Well, to continue where the Atkins diet stopped, it has been shown that low carb diets lead to rapid weight loss in a short period of time. The ketogenic diet promises the same thing, but with a different approach.
Because of the popularity of this diet, researchers are currently studying the effects of this high-fat diet on other conditions, such as diabetes mellitus and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.
How does Keto work
- The goal of this diet is to stay below 50 grams of carbohydrate a day. How do you do that? By increasing your fat intake to three quarters or more of your diet. The ketogenic diet includes 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein and 5% carbohydrate (1).
- The first form of fuel in the body is glucose. Glucose is provided to your body when you consume carbohydrates. When the body digests carbohydrates, insulin levels rise to carry glucose into our cells and produce energy.
- As carbohydrate consumption is greatly reduced, the body begins to accumulate fat. It is only after a few days of consumption of less than 50 grams of carbohydrate a day that the body is forced to use other sources of fuel. Grease is the alternative source of fuel that the body changes.
- The body is able to survive thanks to ketones, which are the byproduct of using fat as energy. This is called ketogenesis, which is the main target of the ketogenic diet.
- The goal is to stay in the ketosis, where the body goes from the carbohydrate source to the fat.
- Over time, insulin levels are dramatically reduced and the body reduces fat storage, making it optimal for those looking to lose weight.
- This sounds promising, however, the ketogenic diet may lack some unknown nutrients.
Steps to follow
Research that analyzes the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet on weight loss and other conditions is often limited and contradictory. More studies are needed to determine if this diet can be effective for the masses.
- The difficulty of this diet is to reduce carbohydrate consumption. A normal diet often contains 50% carbohydrates, 20% protein and 30% fat. Surprisingly, many foods contain carbohydrates, making it difficult to limit carbohydrate consumption to just 5% of your diet.
- It is understood that the diet is significantly lower in carbohydrates; However, no one disputes the possible deficiencies that may result from this restrictive regime.
- Dietary sources of carbohydrates include nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes, as well as other carbohydrates with fewer nutrients (refined carbohydrates).
These natural sources of glucose provide us with vitamins and minerals that are often better absorbed by the diet. It is important to consider the nutrients you could lose by following the strict guidelines of this diet.
helpful supplements to take Keto
Therefore, if you follow this diet and feel that you lack essential nutrients, you may need to consider supplementation. As always, consult your doctor before taking any new supplements or changing your diet.
Let's take a look at some supplements that are important to take while on a ketogenic diet.
During the first few days of the diet, less insulin is produced, and your body's response is to get rid of any excess water, resulting in rapid weight loss. However, as the body is constantly being asked to excrete water, electrolytes are lost along the way.
Electrolytes are essential in your diet because they perform very important functions in the body. These nutrients are responsible for balancing pH levels, transporting nutrients to cells, removing waste, controlling the amount of fluid in the body, and enabling major systems to function as properties such as the heart. , the brain, muscles and nerves (2).
Lack of electrolytes may cause "keto flu", which can cause nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and constipation (3). These symptoms may disappear within a few days to a few weeks. Proper hydration and consumption of electrolytes can help reduce the duration of keto flu.
Sodium is responsible for maintaining fluid balance and regulating blood pressure. It also contributes to the normal functioning of the nerves and muscles (4).
If you are an athlete and follow a ketogenic diet, excess sodium can be excreted by the body when you sweat. This will lead to a decrease in energy and performance.
Sodium is often found in many foods and drinks. However, with the possible onset of "keto flu", the sodium in the diet must increase in the body. Adding sea salt, as well as the drink broth can improve your electrolyte levels.
Taking a sodium supplement is not common, as most Americans are more concerned about dietary approaches to reduce their sodium intake. The recommended sodium limit in the diet is not to exceed milligrams of 2,300 per day and milligrams of 1,500 per day for people with hypertension or pre-hypertension (5).
It may be easier to find a supplement containing salt and other electrolytes. Because of any potential problem of excess salt in the diet, it is advisable to consult your doctor before changing your sodium intake.
The responsibilities of potassium in the body are the same as those of sodium and they have a significant effect on muscle contractions, especially on the heart. Low potassium can alter the heart rate.
This mineral is found in fruits, vegetables, lentils, dairy products and proteins (meat, poultry, fish).
Potassium deficiency, hypokalemia, can manifest as constipation, fatigue and muscle weakness.
Severe hypokalemia may result in increased urination and blood sugar, impaired brain function, muscle paralysis, and irregular heart rhythm (6). Prolonged potassium deficiency can increase blood pressure and risk of kidney stones, as well as the depletion of calcium in the bones.
The recommended amount of potassium is 4,700 milligrams for adults over 19 years of age.
Like sodium and potassium, magnesium is also an electrolyte. It is necessary for many of the same functions as other electrolytes, including the production of proteins, bone and DNA.
Food sources of magnesium include legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, dairy products and fortified foods (ie, breakfast cereals).
Magnesium deficiency may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, and weakness. These symptoms can mimic the symptoms of other common conditions; However, extreme magnesium deficiency can cause muscle cramps, abnormal heart rhythm, convulsions, numbness and tingling (7).
The recommended amount of magnesium for adults over 19 is 400 to 420 mg for men and 310 to 320 mg for women.
The "flu keto
" can affect your electrolytes. Maintaining adequate levels of electrolytes is imperative because it fulfills many different functions in the body, including one of the most important, monitoring cardiac contractions.
Electrolyte supplements only contain a fraction of the recommended intake of these nutrients because excessive consumption can affect your health. Discuss supplementation with your doctor before taking.
Fatty acids and oils
Another risk of following a ketogenic diet may be the greatest potential risk of cardiovascular disease. Since this diet is high in total fat, hyperlipidemia can occur.
Some may find this diet difficult to follow. Hiding the excess fat in the diet and always finding the right regiment can be a challenge.
Traditional ketogenic diets consisted mainly of saturated fats (8). Increasing the intake of saturated fats can lead to high cholesterol of low density lipoprotein (LDL). As a result, over time, adherence to this diet can lead to cardiovascular disease.
Omega-3 fatty acids
Today, the traditional ketogenic diet can be modified to include more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocados, nuts, seeds, etc. These are fats that help protect your heart and lower your cholesterol.
The researchers found that manipulating the ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats can reduce average cholesterol and triglyceride levels in children on a ketogenic diet for the treatment of epilepsy (9).
If you or someone in your family has had hyperlipidemia, you may have heard about the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids and how these fatty acids can help lower cholesterol. Over the years, studies have confirmed the cardioprotective effects of omega-3 fatty acids in food sources and even in supplements.
The American Heart Association recommends two servings of fish per week to people without a history of coronary heart disease. For cardiovascular protection, one gram of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) per day is recommended. And higher levels of two to four grams of omega-3 fatty acids can help lower triglyceride levels (10).
Further studies are needed to define the recommended dose of omega-3 fatty acids, especially in ketogenic diets. However, for the moment, supplementation with omega-3 fatty acids may be useful for reasons of cardioprotection in a diet so rich in fat.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCTs) are a type of fat that can enter your bloodstream much faster than any other type of fat. MCTs are primarily used in people with stenosis or partial bowel obstruction to increase daily calorie intake and serve as a vehicle for fat-soluble nutrients.
Some people may choose to increase MCT oils in their diet, instead of traditional long-chain fats, which make up the majority of dietary fats in our diet. Indeed, MCT oil is more concentrated and has more beneficial effects on the ketogenic diet than food MCTs.
MCT oil has been shown to increase ketosis more rapidly (11). This may allow you to incorporate more fruits, vegetables and other starches into your diet if you supplement it with MCT oil.
Coconut oil is a dietary source of MCT, but the amount of MCT in coconut oil is lower than pure MCT oil. MCT oil has a better effect on fullness after a meal than coconut oil. As a result, MCT oil helps satiety and reduces daily caloric intake (12).
So, if you take a coconut oil supplement instead of MCT oil in your diet, you may need to be a little more aware of your total carbohydrate intake during the day and your signs of satiety. .
However, it should be kept in mind that although this fat is absorbed more easily by the body, a quick transition to a high fat diet could be a problem for any digestive system. You must slowly and gradually increase the amount of fat in your diet to allow your body to adapt to this change.
In addition, it is important to keep in mind that MCT oils have a significant impact on calorie service.
MCT oil can be an important addition to the keto diet to produce ketosis faster and also allows you to eat more carbohydrates and nutrient-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.
Vitamin D and calcium are two essential vitamins for healthy bones and the cardiovascular system. Vitamin D actually contributes to the absorption of calcium, which makes it very beneficial when you take these two vitamins together.
Vitamin D has recently become one of the most common deficiencies. We work more hours, we live more sedentarily, we spend more time indoors and we consume fewer foods rich in vitamin D.
When you follow a ketogenic diet, the risk of vitamin D deficiency can not be increased. However, it is important to consider this nutrient, regardless of the diet that follows.
Vitamin D has many important functions in the body. It has been suggested that this vitamin protects against musculoskeletal disorders, immunological diseases, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, various types of cancer and mental health problems (13).
Since the ketogenic diet is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, it is imperative to find nutrients that go against this possibility.
If you follow the recommendations and if you are between 19 and 70 years old, you should consume 600 IU of vitamin D per day (14). Foods rich in vitamin D include oily fish (salmon, tuna), beef liver, cheese, egg yolks and fortified foods (milk, breakfast cereals).
This vitamin can also be synthesized through the skin through direct sunlight. Depending on the time of day, season, weather and where you live, vitamin D synthesis may vary. However, you should know that excessive exposure to the sun can increase your risk of skin cancer. Wearing protective clothing and sunscreen with SPF can help reduce this risk.
Prolonged vitamin D deficiency can affect bone health and cause osteomalacia.
As mentioned above, vitamin D contributes to the absorption of calcium; so it is best to take these two supplements together, despite your diet.
In general, it reduces calcium absorption as you age. In addition, as you get older, your body reduces the production of enzymes that digest dairy products. That's why you may hear that many people become lactose intolerant later in life. Elderly people who are on a ketogenic diet may have an increased risk of calcium deficiency because of these specific reasons.
A 2015 study found that calcium from a food source or supplement could reduce the progression of bone mineral density loss in people 50 years of age and older. As a result, this mineral has helped to reduce the risk of fracture and to improve and maintain bone health (15).
The amount of calcium recommended for daily consumption is 1000 milligrams for men and women aged 19 to 50 years. In addition to dairy products, kale, broccoli, salmon, sardines and most cereals are other foods containing calcium (16).
Those on a ketogenic diet should know how to regularly eat kale, broccoli, salmon and sardines. If these foods are not at the top of the list, supplementation is strongly recommended.
In some cases, excessive calcium supplementation can cause kidney stones. Before taking a calcium supplement, discuss the appropriate calcium dose with your doctor.
Although a deficiency of vitamin D and calcium may not occur in the keto diet, it is important to consider taking these supplements to maintain bone health and protect against cardiovascular disease.
The vitamin B complex
If you plan your diet properly, you may not experience vitamin B deficiency. However, the ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates, especially in whole grains, which can potentially cause deficiency. B vitamins are water-soluble vitamins, which means that if you spend months without these nutrients, you will deplete your body's reserves and become deficient.
For example, one of the B vitamins, folate, is found naturally in fruits, vegetables, beef liver, whole grains, nuts, beans and peas. Folate is also fortified in a wide variety of foods.
Women of childbearing potential, especially after the keto diet, should consider incorporating foods high in folic acid because of the risk of neural tube defects in those with folic acid deficiency (17).
Supplementation with folic acid during the fertile years, before pregnancy, will help reduce this potential risk.
Thiamine is also another vitamin B that can be affected by the keto diet. Thiamine is found in whole grains, fortified products, legumes and meats. The good news is that this diet is moderately low in protein. However, if you follow the traditional keto diet with 80-90% of your fat-containing diet, you may be consuming less thiamine than you think.
Thiamine deficiency can lead to loss of appetite, confusion, memory loss, muscle weakness and heart problems (18).
Each vitamin B plays its own role in the body. A vitamin B complex can be helpful as a supplement to preserve your folate and thiamine levels, as well as the other six B vitamins, to help keep your body functioning.
Long term effects
Most people understand the possible short-term effects of the keto diet (weight loss, "keto-flu", loss of appetite), but it is important to consider the long-term effects.
The long-term effects of a high-fat diet may include the risk of cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal diseases, alterations in bone health, and nephrolithiasis (19). Further research is needed to further evaluate the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet and weight loss.
However, the keto diet has been around for decades in the treatment of epilepsy in children and that is where most of the research comes from.
It is possible that these effects do not occur, but it is imperative to know the advantages and disadvantages of any diet before making any changes.
Tips for maintaining the Keto diet
Keto dietary foods
Think about what you eat and how you can incorporate the nutrients you need with less space for carbohydrates. Micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) are found primarily in carbohydrates and are usually the best sources for your body because they are available to be absorbed.
In general, it is very important to eat green leafy vegetables to increase the fiber content and other nutrients that can be reduced through this diet. Constipation is a common side effect that can cause discomfort. The incorporation of a lot of dietary fiber can help alleviate this symptom.
Consider supplementing with these nutrients and discuss with your doctor. As noted above, you may be at risk for certain deficiencies, as well as cardiovascular health problems associated with high fat intake. In this case, supplements can be crucial to the effectiveness and longevity of this diet.
The general recommendations on average duration of the ketogenic diet
in an average person vary from a few months to a few years. If you are considering this diet, it is recommended that your family doctor check it before and during this time.
The theory that "a diet suits everyone" has become obsolete. Researchers are increasingly learning how our diet and food supply affects our health and genetics. It's important to keep in mind that even if a diet works for a friend or colleague, you may not have the same results.