Is Keto Diet Healthy? Everything You Need to Know
Recently I have posted an article about Intermittent Fasting and today I want to speak about another very popular diet, called Keto and answer to a very common question, Is Keto Diet Healthy? I will explain to you what Keto diet is, what the benefits and dangers are, introduce you to all popular types of Ketogenic diet, talk about foods suitable for it and food to avoid.
These days a healthy lifestyle gets more and more attention and people are trying various diets and training programs to see which one works best for them. I hope this article will answer all your questions about the Ketogenic diet and help you to decide if this diet for you.
What is Keto Diet?
Before answering the question is Keto diet healthy, you have to know what a Keto diet is all about in first place.
The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, reasonable amount of protein and very low carbohydrate diet. This diet is primarily used to control Epilepsy in children. Keto diet forces our body to burn fat for supplying energy to our bodies instead of energy from carbohydrates.
The Keto diet comes from a fact that it allows the body to produce fuel molecules called “Ketones”. This is an alternative fuel source for the body, used when blood sugar (glucose) is in short supply. The liver produces ketones from fat and they serve as a fuel source throughout the body and especially for the brain.
The brain consumes lots of energy throughout the day and it can run only on glucose or ketones. That’s why this diet is a very good alternative to a normal diet where we get most of the energy from the carbohydrates. But on a normal diet, many people forget to consume plenty of good fats, which are very important for weight loss and our brain.
Keto Diet Types
The standard ketogenic diet – This type of keto diet is very low carbohydrates, medium protein and high-fat diet. It contains around 75% of fat, 20% of protein and just 5% of carbohydrates.
The cyclical ketogenic diet – This type of keto diet involves two high carbohydrates re-feeds. 5 days of normal ketogenic diet days followed by 2 high-carb days.
The targeted ketogenic diet – This type of keto diet allows you to add carbohydrates around workouts, which helps to increase your energy levels and strength for exercises.
High protein ketogenic diet – This type of keto diet is very similar to standard but is higher in protein, the ratio is around 60% of fat, 35% of protein and 5% of carbohydrates.
Keto Diet food list
Because the keto diet is all about protein and fat foods, you have to eat high in fats and protein foods. I would still recommend choosing healthy fat and protein sources like avocados, olives and olive oil, nuts, salmon, eggs Greek yoghurt, cottage cheese, meat. Obviously, if you have lactose intolerance avoid dairy products.
Keto diet-friendly food List:
- Unprocessed meat
- Fish and seafood
- Natural high-fat sources
- Vegetables growing above ground
- High Fat Diary
Keto diet-friendly drink list:
- Coffee without sugar
- Tea without sugar
For Special occasions you can consume some of:
- Alcohol without sugar, like dry wine or spirits
- Dark chocolate
High carbohydrate food to avoid for Keto diet:
- Vegetables growing underground
- Processed meat
- Fruit juices
- Fast food
- Prepared or frozen meals
Because for keto diet you are not allowed any type of carbohydrates, you can’t have products containing sugar such as sweets, drinks containing sugar, potatoes, and beetroot.
Is Keto Diet Healthy?
A standard ketogenic diet is not very healthy and I wouldn’t recommend it to people, because it is not sustainable and it misses lots of nutrients. Because lots of high carbohydrates foods are also high in fibres, means that people end up not consuming enough fibres.
Lack of nutrients and energy can lead to a weaker immune system and getting more cold symptoms. Consuming not enough carbohydrates can make you feel very weak and have lack of energy, because carbs are the main fuel and energy source for our bodies.
The ketogenic diet also tends to cause more calcium to be lost in the urine.
Keto diet has advantages and can improve certain areas with your health, but at the same time it can cause problems other health problems. This diet is a very controversial diet.
Also, I wouldn’t recommend Ketogenic diet for people who are:
- If you take any medicine for diabetes or insulin
- If you take any medicine for high blood pressure
If you still want to try Keto diet and see if it works for you and do you feel good on this diet I would recommend you to choose Cyclical or Targeted Ketogenic diet, because they include more carbohydrates and are a lot safer option than standard high protein Keto diets.
The Benefits of Keto diet
Ketogenic Diet has lots of health benefits, however, not all of them are proved with enough research and evidence. Keto diet can give you these health benefits:
Low Carbohydrate diet can reduce your appetite – Studies has shown that when people cut their carbohydrates and eat more protein and fat, they tend to eat fewer calories.
Weight Loss – People on a low-carb diet can lose more weight faster, than those who are on low-fat diets. People restricting their carbs can lose up to 2 to 3 times more weight than people on low-fat diets without feeling hungry.
Drop Triglycerides drastically – triglycerides are far molecules found in your bloodstream. High-fat fasting helps to drop triglycerides level and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Increases level of HDL (good cholesterol) – the higher HDL the lower risk of heart disease. And one of the best ways to increase HDL is to eat fats.
Reduces blood sugar and insulin levels – Studies prove that cutting carbohydrates lowers both insulin and blood sugar levels. People on a low carb diet could reduce their insulin usage by 50% and 95% of people with type 2 diabetes had reduced their glucose-lowering medicine,
Might lower blood pressure – High blood pressure is a significant risk factor for diseases like stroke, heart disease and kidney failure. Low carbohydrate diet might be an effective way to lower blood pressure.
Lowers bad LDL cholesterol levels – The smaller LDL particle the higher risk to get heart disease. Low- carb diet can help to increase LDL particles while reducing a total number of them, which leads to lower risk of heart problems.
Ketogenic diet dangers
Keto diet has negatives too and can cause serious health problems. Being on Keto diet can cause these health problems:
Feeling sick “Keto Flu” – People new to Keto diet can start feeling sick, vomit, feel fatigued. Usually, these symptoms should disappear after a few days.
Diarrhoea – keto diet can cause diarrhoea because you might be lacking fibres, which can be found in many carbohydrate foods.
Reduced athletic performance – research shown that athletes performed worse on a low-carb diet, than athletes high carbohydrates diet.
Reduced muscle mass – because you eating much more fat than protein and carbs you will be losing weight, but it might be muscle as well, because your muscles need protein and carbs to grow.
Increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes – keto diet suggest eating lots of green vegetables and fats. But some people might get it wrong and eat too much of fatty products like bacon or butter and products high in bad fats which can increase the risk of heart diseases or diabetes.
Weight regain – because the keto diet is so restrictive and drastically, once you stop this diet and go back to carbs you might regain even more weight than you have lost because your body falls out of habit to get carbs.
- The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, reasonable amount of protein and very low carbohydrate diet.
- Ketogenic diet types are standard ketogenic diet, cyclical ketogenic diet, targeted ketogenic diet, high protein ketogenic diet.
- The Safest keto diet types are cyclical and targeted.
- Keto diet does not recommend for people breastfeeding if you have any insulin medicine or medicine for diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Keto diet can give you these benefits: reduced appetite, weight loss, drop of triglycerides, increased level of good cholesterol, reduced level of bad cholesterol, reduces blood sugar and blood pressure.
- Ketogenic diet dangers are: feeling sick, diarrhoea, reduced athletic performance, reduced muscle mass, weight regain and increased risk of heart diseases and diabetes.
My opinion on, is keto diet healthy, is no. I’ve done lots of research about the keto diet and think that the Keto diet is too extreme and restrictive. It is very controversial and it has not enough evidence that it is safe. This diet is working while you stay on it because you on very low carbs, but once you go back to carbs you can regain more weight.
There are too many dangers of staying on this diet. If you do any high-intensity training this diet might be not for you either, because you might have a massive lack of energy. You have to choose a diet which you could stick with forever, which would become your lifestyle and Keto seems just too hard for that.
If you still tempted to try a Keto diet, at least choose healthier types where you have to use some carbs. Those two types of Keto diet shouldn’t cause you health issues and are not too extreme.
Consider very well, add all pros and cons of Ketogenic diet and decide is Keto diet worth the risk. There are many safer methods and diets to lose weight.
As always, if you ever need a hand or have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to help you out.
All the best,
Founder of ihealthylifestyle