22nd April 2021

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What is a ketogenic or “keto” diet ?

Actor Mishti Mukherjee, 27, who had worked in Bengali, Telugu and some Hindi films, died on October 2 in a Bengaluru hospital. His family said Mukherjee suffered from kidney failure because he was on a ketogenic diet.

What is a ketogenic or “keto” diet and when can it become unhealthy?

The ketogenic diet is one of the most popular weight loss diets in the world. It is a high fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate diet that helps you lose weight by reaching ketosis, a metabolic state in which the liver burns body fat and provides fuel to the body as access to glucose is limited.

  • A classic ketogenic diet requires that 90% of a person’s calories come from fat, 6% from protein, and 4% from carbohydrates. But there are many versions, since this one was designed for children with epilepsy to take control of their seizures. Typically, popular ketogenic diets suggest an average of 70-80% fat, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein.
  • There are many versions of ketogenic diets, but they ban all foods high in carbohydrates. At first it may seem easier to stick to a ketogenic diet because you don’t need to count calories and the rules are very simple, but eventually adherence becomes very difficult.

What foods are in the diet?

Eggs, chicken and turkey can be eaten in poultry, oily fish such as salmon and mackerel, fatty dairy products, nuts and seeds such as macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, peanuts and flax seeds.

  • There are also nut butters like the natural peanut, almond, and cashew butters. It is also made up of healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, coconut butter, and sesame oil.
  • There are avocados and non-starchy vegetables like green leafy vegetables, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms, and peppers.

How does ketogen affect the body?

If you deprive the body of carbohydrates, after you burn glucose, the liver starts breaking down fat for energy. Ketosis is common in all types of fasting, but on a ketogenic diet, when you give it a lot of fat from the outside without carbs, it can become slightly toxic.

  • This can lead to many deficiencies of nutrients such as carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins (especially vitamins A, D, E and K) and minerals such as calcium, phosphorus and sodium. These are essential food groups and their absence in the diet can be the cause of many deficiency diseases.
  • Extreme carbohydrate restriction can lead to hunger, fatigue, bad mood, irritability, constipation, headaches, and mental confusion, which can last from a few days to several weeks.

What impact does it have on our kidneys?

Even the moderate increase in protein should be carefully monitored, especially in those who already have chronic kidney disease, as it could lead to kidney failure, a thorough evaluation and ensuring they have normal kidney function before choosing this diet.

  • This diet could put more stress on the kidneys and lead to kidney stones as they are forced to work overtime, if a person dies while on a ketogenic diet, there is likely an underlying kidney disease.

How did the ketogenic diet become popular?

Keto had gained popularity as a treatment for pediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and 1930s. But it gained considerable attention as a potential weight loss strategy when the low-carb fad began in the 1970s with a diet Atkins (a very low-carb, high-protein diet that became commercially successful and popularized low-carb diets to a new level).

  • Over the past five years, the ketogenic diet has grown in popularity after many celebrities, including Halle Berry, Kim Kardashian, and Gwyneth Paltrow, began to endorse it. In India, she made the headlines after comedian Tanmay Bhat found out she was on a diet to lose weight.

Why is it so popular?

Because it has turned out to be one of the fastest ways to lose weight. In the first few days after starting the diet, there is significant water weight loss, and for the average person, the diet seems to be working.

  • Today, everyone is looking for quick solutions. Many have failed conventional diets and want something extreme. As with most fad diets, you can lose weight fast on the ketogenic diet, but it’s hard not to get it off because adherence is so low.

Who should follow a ketogenic diet?

A ketogenic diet may be an option for people who have struggled to lose weight with other methods. But if you’re looking to lose weight on keto, put the idea aside. That urge or desperation to lose weight in four to eight weeks that you’ve been developing for months and years can turn fatal.

Should You Take Keto Without Medical Supervision?

A person is advised to follow the diet under the strict supervision of a nutritionist or dietitian. A health care provider or nutritionist can assess your needs and guide you on clean keto compared to anything available on the internet. Clean Keto focuses on whole foods that are high in nutrients and puts more emphasis on food quality. Dirty keto is also known as lazy keto because it allows for highly processed and packaged foods.

Common mistakes

Go to Google and start your diet on your own, While technically you can go into ketosis and reap some of the benefits of using this approach, there are several key nutrients that can be overlooked and increase your risk for disease. By choosing processed foods over nutritious whole foods, you can become deficient in micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium, zinc, folic acid, and vitamins C, D and K, ”says Dr. Mithal, adding that ‘A number of supplements and Ketogenic alternatives, such as keto coffee, keto chocolates, available in the market are unreliable.

What precautions should take?

Doctors suggest increasing your water intake if you are on keto. They should make sure to stay under medical supervision for side effects. You have to watch how you stick to extreme diets and remember that ‘yo-yo diets’ that cause rapid fluctuation in weight loss are associated with higher mortality. Instead of committing to the diets of the following people, you should eat a long-term sustainable diet. A balanced, unprocessed diet rich in colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil and plenty of water is a better idea.

How is the ketogenic diet different from a low-carb diet?

Most modern weight loss diets are low in carbohydrates, but the difference is that some of them only contain refined carbohydrates and are high in protein.

  • But in the ketogenic diet, carbs are less than 10%, which puts you off eating fruits and vegetables, says Dr. Mithal. When you’re on a low-carb diet, it’s common to increase your intake of protein, healthy fats, and vegetables to replace carbs and promote fullness. By limiting carbohydrates, you are eliminating a lot of high calorie foods from your diet. All of these factors can work together to lower your total calorie intake and promote weight loss.
  • A low-carbohydrate diet has been linked to several health benefits for people with diabetes, including weight loss and better control of blood sugar and cardiovascular risk factors. Whereas when you are on a ketogenic diet, the goal is to achieve nutritional ketosis. This is accomplished by consuming less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day while maintaining a moderate protein intake and dramatically increasing fat intake.
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