Keto Diet: Is It Right For You?

The keto diet has gained popularity as a weight loss method. Wondering if it’s a fit, for you? This piece explores the advantages and disadvantages of keto to assist in your decision making.

What Exactly is Keto?

Keto is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. The goal is to get your body into a state of ketosis, where it burns fat for fuel instead of carbs.

To reach ketosis its usually recommended to limit your carb intake to, than 50 grams per day which’s about 5 – 10% of your daily calories. This process triggers your body to break down stored fat into ketones for energy.

Indications that you’re in ketosis may include experiencing breath, feeling thirstier, needing to urinate often and noticing weight loss. However the accurate way to confirm ketosis is, by measuring ketone levels in your blood or urine.

The Pros of Keto for Weight Loss

There are several benefits that make keto effective for shedding pounds:

  • Appetite control – Cutting carbs curbs hunger hormones, helping you feel full on fewer calories.
  • Increased fat burn – In ketosis, you burn stored fat more efficiently. However, this doesn’t necessarily translate into losing body fat unless you’re in an overall calorie deficit.
  • Reduced blood sugar and insulin – Lower blood glucose can reduce hunger and cravings. Insulin drops as well, allowing stored fat to be released for energy.

Many report losing weight faster initially on keto than a standard low-calorie diet. But studies comparing weight loss at 12 months show similar results with low-carb and low-fat diets.

Potential Downsides to Consider

However, there are some drawbacks with keto to keep in mind:

  • Difficult to sustain – Carb cravings and fatigue from lack of glycogen make sticking to keto challenging for most people beyond 6-12 months. Weight regain is common.
  • Nutrient deficiencies – Lower intake of fruits, vegetables, legumes and whole grains may lead to deficiencies in vitamins, minerals and fiber over time. However, these foods can be incorporated into keto diets.
  • High fat intake – Keto involves increasing saturated fats that may negatively impact blood cholesterol levels long-term. Focus on unsaturated fats from plants and fish instead.
  • GI issues – Drastically reducing carbs can lead to constipation, diarrhea and nausea for some, especially at the beginning as your body adjusts.
  • Safety concerns – Potentially increased risk of kidney stones, nutrient deficiencies, medication interactions. Those with liver or pancreas issues may want to avoid keto.
  • Lack of fitness fuel – Your body prefers carbs for high intensity exercise. Performance may suffer on keto, especially for athletes.

Tips for Trying Keto

If you decide to give keto a try, some tips to make it more sustainable and successful:

Focus on unsaturated fat from avocados, nuts, seeds, olive oil, fatty fish. Limit saturated fat.

Make sure to include plenty of vegetables, like leafy greens, broccoli, asparagus and peppers in your meals. Opt for lean and unprocessed protein sources such as chicken, turkey, eggs and fish. Stay hydrated. Ensure you top up on your electrolytes like sodium, potassium and magnesium.

When transitioning to a keto diet it’s best to decrease your consumption over a span of 2 to 4 weeks to lessen any possible side effects. You should always monitor your nutrient intake. Think about incorporating supplements such, as fibre if needed. It’s also advisable to keep a check on your blood levels, for health purposes.

It’s okay to have carb days or indulge during special occasions like birthdays or holidays to satisfy cravings.

Final Thoughts

Keto is great fro some people. But whilst this type of diet can work really well for short term weight loss, for some individuals it may not be sustainable in the long run due to its nature.

If you don’t have a reason for following a keto diet focusing on whole foods and adopting healthy habits may be more beneficial, for long term weight management and overall well being.

Photo “Keto” by Anthony Cunningham for Zoom Health

Zoom Health is a leading UK supplier of Home Health Tests and Earplugs

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