The ketogenic diet, or keto, has become a popular way to lose weight. The high-fat, low-carb diet is a drastic change from the diet that the USDA recommends for Americans. It’s also a huge change for your body’s metabolism.
And while keto is proven to help you shed pounds, the diet can come with some side effects, like the notorious keto flu. The high-fat, low-carb ketogenic diet, or keto for short, has become a popular way to lose weight. And while keto is proven to help you shed pounds, it’s a huge change for your body’s metabolism and can come with some serious side effects.
Following is a transcript of the video:
Step aside, Atkins. There’s a new fad diet in town.
The ketogenic diet, or keto for short. Celebrities like Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian, and Vanessa Hudgens all swear by it.
And if losing weight is your goal, keto works! It’s proven to help you shed pounds fast. But there’s more to this diet than meets the eye. Keto basically replaces carbs with fat. A typical keto diet looks like this: 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. It’s a drastic change from the diet that the USDA recommends for Americans: Less than 30% fat, 20-35% protein, and at least 50% carbs, and it’s a significant change for your body’s metabolism too. Usually, when you eat carbs, like a starchy potato, enzymes in your mouth, stomach, and small intestine break them into a form of sugar energy, called glucose, which your brain and body use for fuel.
So, when you skip out on carbs, the first couple of days you might experience some strong sugar cravings. Because your body is switching gears, from burning carbs to the only energy it has left: fat.
Once you’re burning fat regularly, you’ll start to see the pounds melt away. Depending on your weight, you might lose up to 3.5 pounds within the first week. As you burn more fat, levels of insulin — the fat-storing hormone — will drop significantly. This triggers your kidneys to release large amounts of sodium into the blood.
Which can actually lead to a common side effect known as the “keto flu.” Many keto dieters report symptoms like Nausea, Headaches, Dizziness, Muscle cramps, and low energy levels.
But most of these symptoms will only occur within the first couple of weeks of starting the diet.
After the first month, the scales will look better. But some of that lost weight isn’t actually fat. It’s water.
Because some of the carbs you’ve metabolized include glycogen, which retains water and therefore helps keep you hydrated. As a result, you’ll likely pee more, which will lower your sodium levels, even more, leading to Dehydration, Constipation or diarrhea, and bad breath.
Once you’re a couple months in you might hit the notorious keto plateau. It’s a common term in the keto community and refers to when people find it harder to continue losing weight. One study, for example, found that overweight people lost an average of 15 pounds in the first month. Another 11 pounds over the next two months. But after that, they saw no change in body weight — despite sticking to the keto diet.
At this point, many people quit keto. That’s why researchers often find it hard to study the long-term effects of the diet. But, as it turns out, there is one group that typically sticks to keto.
It’s unclear why, but keto has been proven to reduce the symptoms of epilepsy. And studies show that epileptic children who stay on very restricted keto diets for several years can suffer from Kidney stones, High cholesterol, and bone fractures.
But a typical keto diet won’t be nearly as strict and if you do want to try keto, you should talk to a doctor first. In the meantime, go ahead and enjoy that bread and remember, the best diet is a balanced one of fat, protein, and — yes, even — carbs.