The ketogenic diet was basically the diet that saved me. Now I can’t say it’s for everybody, as I am a big believer that the best diet is always the one you can adhere to. But once I understood how it worked; and was able to get my body in to full-fledged fat burn mode, pounds were dropping off the scale; absolutely nothing was going to stop me….
Now there are, as with anything, pros and cons to doing a keto lifestyle. Ketogenic diet was first introduced in the 20’s as a therapeutic diet to treat epileptic patients by mimicking calorie restriction without starvation. At the time, fasting was able to mitigate epileptic symptoms, and forced the body into producing ATP (Adenosine triphosphate) which is and energy source for the body taking the fuel from fats instead of glucose.
At first it was designed for patients to run very high fat, typically 80-90% of caloric intake coming from fat with minimal protein and less than 20 grams of carbs as a daily intake. Giving that much of your body fuel coming from fat, it would provide enough amino acids as building blocks to sustain lean tissue.
Over the last 10 or so years the keto diet has seemingly exploded in popularity, there has also been a wealth of information coming out of the medical communities showing the benefits which I will touch on briefly in the next few paragraphs.
How does keto work? The process is actually fairly simple. On the conventional high carb diets your energy supply comes from glucose, which in turn acts as the fuel source to produce ATP. On the ketogenic diet your blood glucose levels fall. During this process it causes an enzyme called HSL or hormone sensitive lipase to increase. While HSL increases, stored triglycerides from fat are broken down into fatty acids then shuttled to the liver which turns those into ketones that are used for ATP energy.
Keto adaptation is probably by far one of the most difficult parts of the lifestyle, and in my own opinion is why many fail at the ketogenic diet. When you start cutting carbs out of your diet you experience the low carb flu, or known as the keto flu. Yes, it can be really hard for some. Myself I walked out of a party life, drinking all the time and did a complete 180. I suffered bad for a two solid weeks when my body was switching from sugar burner to fat burner. I will write about surviving the keto flu in an upcoming article, and hopefully provide some good strategies for anybody else suffering.
So on to some pros and cons of this way of eating. I personally believe the pros outweigh the cons, however its personal opinion and not medical advice. You should always consult a medical professional when trying to make an educated decision about your health.
- Increased fat burning and not fat storage
- Reduce insulin levels, and increased insulin sensitivity
- Reduced appetite
- Better thermogenesis and the amount of daily calories burnt
- Better mental clarity
- Muscle sparing for improved body composition
- Lowered cancer risk
- Decreased chances of neurological/metabolic diseases
- Polycystic ovary syndrome chances decreased
- Greater ATP production for long term endurance
- Easier way to cut fat for physique/aesthetic sports competitors
- Adaptation phase which can be very difficult for some
- Very restrictive way of eating due to high volume of carbohydrate food available
- More difficult to eat at restaurants and social gatherings
- Not the greatest for heavy weightlifting or highly anaerobic exercises due to slower energy resynthesis of ATP
So even though there are some shortcomings to the keto diet, there are some very wonderful benefits as well. It will not be for everybody, but those that are committed and willing to do the work always seem to have excellent success. It worked to the tune of 75lbs for me. So I hope this article brought some value to you the reader, as always this is not medical advice and always seek counsel of a trained medical professional.
Much love, and keep moving in positive directions in life!