The Keto Food Diet
The keto diet is based on one basic principle: carbohydrates are fattening and harmful to health.
It is a diet designed for weight loss that has other cholesterol and triglyceride side benefits (added to the weight loss and moralgain that this entails).
The keto diet has only one maxim: eat only 20 grams of carbohydrates a day, and that these come mostly from vegetables.
In addition to these carbohydrates, we can eat whatever we want, as long as we don’t eat more than 20 grams of carbohydrates. So we have to forget about sugar, pasta, rice, biscuits and pastries.
As the basic source of energy to which we are accustomed is carbohydrates, when we do the keto diet, we enter a state of ketosis. That is, the body goes from consuming CH to consuming fat. When consuming fat, ketonic bodies are generated, hence the name keto. The only fat we cannot consume is TRANS fat, i.e. processed vegetable fat (hydrogenated oils such as corn oil or margarine).
What is eaten in the keto diet?
A keto diet uses high-fat foods such as nuts, avocado, oils, fatty fish, and cheese to replace carbohydrates in the diet. For example, eggs and smoked salmon for breakfast, tuna and cheese salad for lunch and meat and avocado for dinner. There are no big choices when it comes to fruit, vegetables, bread, pasta or rice, as carbohydrates need to be reduced to a minimum.
What does science say about it?
In general, both the ketogenic and non-ketogenic diets have similar effects on weight, since the losses obtained do not differ significantly between the two, being slightly higher in the ketogenic diets. Both the ketogenic and the non-ketogenic diets are effective in weight loss, although there is no significant difference between them with respect to this issue. Therefore, adherence to the eating plan, rather than diet composition, can be attributed to a greater influence on the effectiveness of weight loss.
With equal calories, ketogenic diets are more effective in weight loss. This is due to the fact that, from a physiological point of view, there is an association between plasma levels and urinary levels of ketones, in addition to the fact that acetone is characterized by its volatility and is therefore partly eliminated through breathing. This would mean a loss of energy through the elimination of urine and ketones from the breath.
The advantages and disadvantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss
The ketogenic diet is nothing more than a type of diet in which the proportion of hydrates is significantly reduced in order to promote the oxidation of fats which leads to the formation of ketone bodies. These compounds are used alternatively by the brain as a source of energy in the absence of glucose.
The proportion of hydrates in a ketogenic diet is usually well below the recommendation of 50 to 60% of total calories, and generally provides about 10% or less of the energy in the form of hydrates.
There are ketogenic diets in which the ingestion of fruits and/or vegetables is allowed, but in very controlled quantities, while others completely eliminate all sources of hydrate, prohibiting the ingestion of cereals, flour, baked goods and also fruits, vegetables and legumes.
There are also ketogenic diets in which fasting is used to promote the initial formation of ketone bodies, which must then be sustained to achieve weight loss at the expense of high fat oxidation.
As we can see, there are many ketogenic diets and all of them have the ultimate purpose of promoting the burning of fats in the body to later give rise to ketone bodies in our body.
The advantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss
In different studies, the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet together with non-ketogenic diets for weight loss has been tested, and it was found that both have a similar impact on the magnitude of weight loss if they have such a caloric intake, although the ketogenic diet in some cases showed a slightly higher efficiency.
On the other hand, the ketogenic diet, contrary to what many believe, improved the lipid profile by reducing triglyceride levels, total cholesterol and slightly increasing HDL cholesterol. However, it did not change LDL cholesterol levels and even in some research, there was an increase in LDL cholesterol levels.
Something fundamental in the ketogenic diets is the different state that produces the circulation of ketone bodies in the body and that promotes the absence of hunger, which undoubtedly encourages weight loss by reducing dietary intakes and also has greater satiating power given the large presence of proteins and fats that are more difficult to digest than hydrates.
Finally, although it is known that with ketogenic diets more weight can be lost and the proportion of fat in the body can be greatly reduced, some studies have shown that muscle mass is sustained, while it is difficult to achieve an increase with this type of diet.
The disadvantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss
Although the advantages of the ketogenic diet for weight loss are not few, we must also analyze its disadvantages, among which is mainly the low supply of vitamins, minerals and fiber that these diets guarantee, since the consumption of fruits and vegetables is significantly restricted to achieve the state of ketosis.
Among other things, it is also common to suffer from bad breath or halitosis due to the high production of ketones, as well as the presence of tiredness or fatigue due to the lack of hydrates in the diet.
Also, while many consider ketogenic diets to be easier to follow than non-ketogenic diets, studies show the opposite, as the inability to eat popular foods such as cereals, bread, legumes, fruits, or vegetables significantly reduces adherence.
Although not all studies have shown a decrease in attention span, in some studies there was a decrease in the speed of rapid visual information processing, and in information processing in general, something not seen in non-ketogenic weight loss diets.