Do you remember South Beach? Do you remember Atkins? These diets may be gone, but in their place is the keto or “keto” plan. It’s basically the same as those archaic diets in that you severely restrict carbohydrates so the body can burn fat fast.
The ketogenic diet replaces carbohydrates with fat, which sounds great on the surface. But it’s actually quite restrictive, and some dieters have said they have trouble eating as much fat as they should. While the ketogenic diet definitely works when it comes to losing weight, there are some side effects. When you do it, this is what happens to your body.
Basics of the ketogenic diet
Let’s start with a quick overview of what the diet actually includes. It’s based on a process called ketosis, where your body uses fat for daily fuel rather than your preferred source of carbohydrates. When you deprive your body of carbohydrates, they are converted into dietary fat and stored for energy. This condition is called ketosis.
Ketosis will actually lead to weight loss. However, it does this by pushing the body out of its comfort zone and into rescue mode. Burning stored fat is a safety mechanism that aims to keep the body moving during times of hunger. However, since our modern diet has significantly exceeded the calories we evolved into, we now understand that we can use that security to our advantage.
However, since this is not the body’s preferred course of action, there are some side effects. Most are temporary, but regardless, most people find that they can’t stay on keto indefinitely because it’s so restrictive. Bread does not contain carbohydrates. You should also avoid all sugary foods, including desserts, juices and sodas, all fruits (except the occasional berry), beans and legumes, potatoes and other root vegetables, and of course, pasta and rice. Add alcohol to the list of prohibitions.
Are you still with us Let’s get to the results of the ketogenic diet.
Side Effects of Ketosis
- A drop in insulin levels
If you eat more carbohydrates on average, your insulin levels will be higher because insulin is the chemical that processes glucose and makes it available to cells as fuel. When your body goes into ketosis, insulin levels drop because there isn’t much it can do. The idea is that with less insulin, fatty acids are more easily released from adipose tissue to be used as fuel.
A ketogenic diet can be recommended for people with diabetes because their bodies cannot use insulin effectively to process glucose anyway. In some cases, ketosis allows a diabetic to stop taking diabetes medication or to reverse the problem of insulin resistance.
- Less hunger throughout the day
The keto diet requires you to eat lots of protein and fat, which is quite filling. While carbohydrates serve as fast-burning fuel, proteins and fats take a long time to digest. It should fill you up between meals. In addition, scientists believe that high levels of ketones in the blood affect the suppression of hunger centers in the brain. The desire may decrease for this reason, but we don’t make promises. Giving up all sugary treats can be difficult, especially since we often eat them not because we are hungry but because we want to feel happy.
- Illness and discomfort
Remember, burning fat for daily fuel is not your body’s preferred strategy. As you get used to ketosis, you can experience what people call the “keto flu”. As with the flu, you experience nausea, muscle cramps, joint pain, headache, and fatigue. You will likely notice these symptoms in the first few days of your new diet. If you have to be away from work for a day or two, try not to overlook the fact that you caught the “flu”! The symptoms should go away in about a week.