Keto Diet Benefits
You may experience rapid weight loss in the first week due to fluid loss, but then after a few weeks, you’ll likely notice more pounds peeling away. Many reasons for this weight loss are being investigated, but the journal Obesity Reviews, reveals that ketosis suppresses your appetite, which squashes the desire to eat.
Most carbs you consume are broken down into sugar that enters the bloodstream. When you rein in carbohydrates on the keto diet, you have lower levels of blood glucose (high blood glucose can lead to diabetes). A study in the journal Nutrition reveals that a ketogenic diet improves blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics more significantly than a low-calorie diet and can also decrease the dosage of your diabetes meds.
IMPROVE CHOLESTERAL AND BLOOD PRESSURE
A review of multiple studies in the journal Nutrients found that ketogenic diets are connected to significant reductions in total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, dips in triglycerides levels and decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol; there are questions as to whether diets high in saturated fat negate these benefits. The same paper reports that a ketogenic may slightly reduce blood pressure, but science is still very scant on this point.
With inflammation driving most chronic diseases, the keto diet is anti-inflammatory and may help ease some inflammation-related pain conditions, according to researchers at Trinity College. One mechanism at play: The keto diet eliminates sugar and processed foods that can lead to oxidative stress in the body, a cause of chronic inflammation.
This may be more of a maybe, but recent studies on mice fed a ketogenic diet lived longer, according to Cell Metabolism. “Not only did these mice live longer, they had expanded health in terms of physical and cognitive functioning,” says Volek. “Meaning, they lived happy, healthy lives.” Obviously, human studies need to be performed.
COMMON SIDE EFFECTS OF KETO
You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
HEADACHE AND DIZZINESS
Most people on the keto diet need to bump up their daily salt intake by an extra gram or two to avoid side effects like headaches, dizziness and even fainting, says Volek. To eliminate the symptoms caused by salt depletion, Volek suggests drinking broth made with a bouillon cube (which has slightly less than 1 gram of sodium), once or twice a day.
When you eat a high-fat diet, you slow down your gastric emptying and your motility, which can set you up for constipation, says Jadin. Making sure you’re getting that extra bit of sodium, eating enough fiber-filled non-starchy vegetables and drinking plenty of fluids (since you urinate more on the keto diet) can move things along.
When you’re lacking sodium, your kidney may wind up secreting potassium and you can end up with a mineral imbalance that leads to problems with your heart beat
Ketosis and Macros
70-80% of calories from fats
20-25% of calories from protein
5-10% of calories from net carbs (Net carbs are the grams of carbohydrates in a food minus the grams of fiber in it)
A person eating 2,500 calories per day will eat:
208 grams of fat
125 grams of protein
30 grams of carbs
For most people, a range of 20-50 grams of carbohydrate intake per day is ideal for the keto diet. Some people can go as high as 80 grams per day to stay in ketosis, but the majority should stay in the 20-50g range for best results. Each person’s metabolism is different.
Carbs are the easiest nutrients to overeat, so it’s important you read labels to avoid hidden sugars and eat only low-glycemic foods that let you stay in the target range, for example:
Leafy greens (lettuce, collard greens, spinach)
Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
High-glycemic foods like sweet fruits (banana, dates, watermelon), starchy veggies (potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes), and refined grains like bread, pasta, and cookies are off-limits.