The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is all the rage nowadays.
You may have seen the words “keto-friendly” on certain packaging at your grocery store and wondered what it meant. Or maybe you already know all about it because your friends rave about their results.
What makes this diet different? Is it worth the hype?
Although it offers loads of health benefits, this diet’s side effects may make you reconsider. Weighing your options before you begin this diet is super important!
What is a keto diet & how does it work?
During this diet, you focus on eating fats and decreasing your carb intake. This works to put your body into a state called “ketosis.” This is a metabolic state that focuses on burning fat.
Your body typically gets its energy from carbs, but in ketosis, your body is forced to burn fat instead. Lacking carbs in your diet starves your body of typical energy and causes your insulin levels to drop.
When insulin drops, your body releases fat to create energy. This is why it works so well for many people’s weight loss journey.
What are the benefits?
The keto diet seems quite promising for quick results. In fact, it’s one of the most effective ways to lose weight and has various other health benefits. Although it hasn’t been proven, scientists believe that this diet may even have brain-protecting benefits.
In ketosis, your body burns ketones for energy, which are chemicals that break down fats. These ketones are in your brain and muscles, making it different than getting energy from carbs alone.
Burning the ketones in your brain has the potential to cause brain cells to enhance. This can improve memory, keep you from having a stroke, or protect you from neurodegenerative diseases.
The keto diet was originally used to help patients with epilepsy. Doctors are now testing to see if it can help people with other neurological conditions, chronic pain, and even cancer. Many studies even expect the keto diet to aid in treating Alzheimer’s and type 2 diabetes.
What are the side effects?
People all over the internet claim this to be one of the best diets out there for weight loss. On top of that, there are loads of alleged neurological benefits from participating in this diet.
Unfortunately, many health concerns also come with this diet that many people aren’t aware of. For example, this diet has coined the term “the keto flu.” Doesn’t sound very good, does it?
These short-term side effects range from flu-like symptoms to low libido to bad breath. Severe dehydration is another side effect that causes a slew of issues.
Painful muscle cramps, digestive issues, and smelly breath or urine are common symptoms solved by simply drinking more water. Most of these only happen in the first part of the diet as your body is getting used to ketosis.
Hypoglycemia is a more severe, but but common side effect. This includes frequent urinating, excessive thirst, exhaustion, hunger, or becoming frequently lightheaded. Along with that comes mental instability like anxiety, confusion, and irritability.
In severe cases, some people even experience tachycardia, which is life-threatening. This diet can also increase your risk of kidney stones, raised cholesterol, low blood sugar, and fatty liver.
Is it worth it?
The keto diet is a massive change to your body, and you need to treat it as such. It’s vital to weigh the benefits and the detriments and talk to your doctor concerning potential health risks.
Side effects may only last for as long as your body is adjusting. After that, you may thrive on this diet. Who knows- the keto diet may produce some pretty amazing outcomes like weight loss and better brain health!
However, if this diet is too aggressive for your body, your health could suffer. It’s essential to keep a balance in your life to maintain your health!