So many people are trying the Keto Diet. I have not been part of the cheering section for this diet or any diet that restricts the consumption of any real types of food (fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc.) The keto diet was originally a medical protocol used to help reduce epileptic seizures in children. It was never intended to be a diet. While people do lose weight on this diet the long-term effects are questionable.
Our bodies naturally use sugar (glucose) for energy. That sugar comes from carbohydrates (again – fruits, vegetables, legumes, etc.). On the keto diet the body is forced into ketosis and in that process the liver converts fat into ketones. The ketones are released into the bloodstream to provide the energy needed for the various functions of the body.
In order for the body to switch to ketosis, carbohydrate consumption must be reduced to 20 – 50 grams per day (a medium-sized banana has approximately 27 grams of carbs). It takes a few days of consuming minimal amounts of carbohydrates to reach a state of ketosis. Essentially, this weight loss method is forcing the body to use it’s back-up system for energy. Yes, we are built like that. We have all these systems in place to keep us alive in extreme circumstances. By reducing carbohydrates we’re tricking our bodies into using an emergency method for fuel. It’s like using a generator during a power outage. It works fine for a bit but it’s not as good as the real thing.
There are big risks involved, such as:
- Nutrient deficiency
- Liver problems
- Kidney problems
- Mood swings
The state of ketosis is meant to protect us when we’re faced with starvation due to a food shortage. It’s great to know that we could survive a short-term famine. That’s one of the miracles of the human body. Playing around with that natural balance is asking for trouble. I appreciate that some folks love this diet. The challenge is that restrictive diets are hard to maintain for the long run. More often than not the weight comes back on. In addition to that, losing the weight again can be difficult because we’ve messed with a perfectly working system. I know how hard it is to lose weight. I struggle with it daily. Personally, I would rather carry a few extra pounds than risk greater health issues involving my liver or kidneys.
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