The Truth About the Keto Diet - Healthy Living Association

The Truth About the Keto Diet

The Truth About the Keto Diet:

What You Don’t Know That You Should Know


The ketogenic (keto) diet is arguably the latest and greatest, maybe, diet for losing weight. One truth about the keto diet is that is does bring about weight loss, and quickly.

Just how does the keto diet work?

Basically, it’s a diet that stimulates your body to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar. Your body runs on glucose, sugar, that comes from eating carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats.

For your body, it’s easier to break down carbs into glucose that is then used by your body to give your cells the fuel they need to work well. Insulin, a hormone secreted by your pancreas, works to get the glucose into the cells.

That sounds easy and automatic. Just eat carbs, let your body do its work and convert them to glucose, then let the insulin push the glucose into your cells, and live well. The difficulty comes in because carbs taste good, so you tend to eat too many of them. This leads to excess glucose that the cells don’t need. Where does this glucose go? Some of it goes to your liver to be stored for future use.

A lot of it goes to your waist. Or your hips. Or your thighs. Or all three.

So, cutting out carbs and getting your body to burn fat for the glucose to be used by your cells is a good thing. Right?

To an extent.

What Is The Keto Diet?

First, it’s not a new thing. It’s essentially a form of the Atkins diet with very low consumption of carbs and very high consumption of fats with a good bit of protein. In fact, anywhere from 60% to 90% of what you eat on the keto diet is fat!

The keto diet forces your body to begin burning this increased fat for fuel, resulting in ketosis.

Like all diets, the keto diet does put a limit on the amount of food you consume, but this isn’t the main factor in your weight loss. The type of food you eat, fats, is more important.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

But does eating all that fat help you lose weight?

Yes. And it does it quickly – for a short time.

There are other benefits of eating the keto diet also. Some serious health conditions are helped by the keto diet. Initially, it was developed to help children with seizure disorders. The reason it works for these kids isn’t well understood. But it does work.

One of the reasons the keto diet works to reduce weight is because it eliminates all of the processed foods and sugars from your diet. This very significantly cuts down on insulin levels and increases insulin sensitivity.

When your insulin levels are out of balance, there are a number of health conditions that can result. Imbalanced insulin levels generally result in insulin resistance which has been linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), and infertility. Even Alzheimer’s is now considered to be connected to insulin resistance, leading researchers and clinicians to call it Type 3 diabetes.

Consuming almost no carbs reduces the need for insulin so your pancreas doesn’t release nearly as much. This removes the potential for insulin resistance to develop.

Another significant benefit of the keto diet is that the ketones that develop with this diet have a neuro-protective factor with them that prevents the development of amyloids. These amyloids are a kind of plaque that can build up, especially in the brain. The idea that ketones can prevent them is the reason the keto diet helps with epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

Negatives of the Keto Diet

To begin with, the keto diet is hard to stay with. The great majority of what you will be eating is fats. Certainly, they’ll fill you up and keep you feeling full, but you may not feel satisfied. There won’t be any palate-satisfying crunch when you eat.

Next, initially you may have some uncomfortable side effects. One of those is what has come to be called “keto flu.” Nausea, brain fog, irritability, dizziness, fatigue, headache, and lack of motivation are all potential symptoms of the keto diet. Along with these symptoms you may also find hair loss, dehydration, and constipation due to insufficient fiber in your diet. Fortunately, these side effects will go away in time.

What won’t go away is cutting out a number of food groups. Eliminating carbs may also mean significantly limiting, or even eliminating, ‘good’ carbs that have fiber, vitamins, and anti-oxidants in them. This is not healthy and may bring on deficiencies in some nutrients.

Cutting out fiber doesn’t only decrease the smoothness of your digestion, it also can also increase your risk of colon or breast cancer, increase your risk of cardiovascular disease, increase inflammation throughout your body, and diminish the health of your gut microbiome.

Cutting out fruits, legumes, and whole grains denies your body the vital vitamins and other nutrients contained in these foods. Certainly, you can get a lot of vitamins and phytonutrients from vegetables, but possibly not enough of those your body needs for optimum functioning.

Another issue with the keto diet is that it doesn’t say anything about restricting calories. In fact, not restricting calories doesn’t address the fact that eating a lot or eating constantly ages you. Longevity has been linked closely with lower caloric intake.

Knowing what fats and proteins are best for your body is essential. The keto diet does not address this. Consuming fats without consideration of whether they’re good for your body can speed up the aging process and bring on insulin imbalance. This cancels out the weight loss you might have.

If you want to protect and preserve your cells, telomeres, and even DNA, you need a diet of moderate amounts of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Telomeres are those tiny end caps on your chromosomes and serve to protect your DNA, strengthen your immune system, and slow down the aging process. Diets that are high in fats, particularly saturated fats, literally shred these telomeres.

Your cells are constructed from macromolecules like proteins, lipids (fats), carbs, and nucleic acids. If your diet is not balanced with all of these components, you’re literally starving your cells.

Another issue often seen with the keto diet is that your cholesterol may go up. This is one of the reasons your keto diet must be supervised by a physician. With the decreased intake of sugar, cholesterol may also go down.

One of the factors in the keto diet is typically an increase in consumption of protein. While protein intake is good, too much protein can pose health risks. One of those risks is increased demand on your kidneys, gall bladder, and liver. Monitoring these organs is another reason for your physician to be closely involved if you choose to go on a keto diet.

Unfortunately, most people don’t think about consulting with their physician before starting a keto diet, much less during the diet itself.

When you come right down to the bottom line, the keto diet and ketosis is not healthy.

Granted, the diet itself can be very beneficial for controlling seizures, possibly preventing Alzheimer’s, losing weight, and improving your energy. But being in a state of ketosis itself doesn’t mean you’re healthy.

Once you go on the keto diet and feel the initial beneficial effects, you’ll typically reach a plateau or even begin feeling worse. Why? Because, if you’re like most people who go on the keto diet, you don’t think about all else you should do to preserve your health other than cutting down on carbs, which is only a very small part of health.

What You Should Do

Primarily, you should concentrate on quality of food instead of quantity. Don’t ignore nutrition.  Eat real food; food that can spoil.

Too often on keto diets you’re eating things that really aren’t good for you in terms of nutrition. And your body has to process these foods the best way it can. That can lead to significant detrimental effects on your gut system and your immune system. In regards to health, a well-balanced, healthy gut is your best bet.

Good nutrition is a complex endeavor. Eating good food will go a long way toward helping you deal with this complexity.

Exercise of some kind is essential for good health, also. A variety of kinds of exercise is best unless you’re in training for some kind of sports event.

Deal with your stress effectively. There are numerous ways of handling stress available to you. Find one that fits for you and stay with it.

Sleep. And sleep well. Do what you need to do in order to get a sufficient amount of good, sound sleep.


Probably the best conclusion regarding the keto diet that you can totally count on is this: A large number of nutritionists acknowledge the appeal of the keto diet, but none of them recommend it unless you have epilepsy and are in a clinical setting.


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