The Pros and Cons of the Ketogenic Diet

pros and cons of a ketogenic diet

You may have already heard of the Keto Diet. It’s been popping up as the latest trend in celebrity diet fads among superstars such as JLo and Kylie Jenner. It’s claim to fame is that it’s the best diet for rapid weight loss and getting hunger under control. Sure, it sounds great, but is this the diet plan of your dreams or just another crazy fad? Let’s take a closer look.

What is the Ketogenic (Keto) Diet, and is it right for you?

The Keto Diet is an ultra-low carb diet, with a mere 5% – 10% of dietary intake comes from carbs. Unlike other low carb plans, Keto is also low protein, as only 20% – 25% of calories come from protein. The bulk of energy, 70% – 75%, comes from fat. Following this plan forces the body into a state of ketosis. Ketosis occurs when people eat a low- or no-carb diet and molecules called ketones build up in their bloodstream. Low carbohydrate levels cause blood sugar levels to drop and the body begins breaking down fat to use as energy, rather than carbs.

ketogenic diet graph

Now that you know more about the Keto Diet, we will break down the pros and cons and will provide some tips to make the Keto Diet work for you.


Pros of the Keto Diet:

Quick weight loss

belly

Most dieters experience rapid weight loss. This can be encouraging for those who have trouble shedding weight or have a lot of weight to lose.  Quick results are motivating and encourage them to stay on the diet.

Decreased appetite

Being in a state of ketosis can naturally curb the appetite. The increased fat also helps people feel satiated during the day and eliminates the need for snacking.

More energy

runnersPeople who follow a ketogenic diet say they have increased energy and stamina. For some participants, this translates to increased athletic endurance. A lower carbohydrate intake keeps blood sugar levels even so there are fewer spikes, keeping energy steady.

Increased fat burning

The body uses fat for energy rather than relying on carbohydrates. Insulin levels drop while in ketosis allowing the body to burn fat more efficiently.

Mental clarity

Followers of the diet report they have less “brain fog”. They find they have increased concentration and are more focused.

Lower risk of heart disease

grandparentsStudies show that lowering protein intake can help lower risk of heart disease in adults under 65 years of age. A lower protein diet has also been attributed to a longer life span.

Reduces epileptic seizures

A ketogenic diet has been used to treat seizures in children with epilepsy, particularly in cases where medication doesn’t work. Studies and tests also show that it has a positive effect on adults who suffer from epileptic seizures.


Cons of the Keto Diet:

The adaptation period

Extremely low-carb diets have an adaptation period that lasts 1 – 2 weeks. This phase can be very uncomfortable to experience. People report headaches, flu-like symptoms, sugar cravings, and muscle cramps during this period.

headache

Restrictive

Entire food groups are eliminated on this plan. The amounts of vegetables and proteins are very low, and micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals are missing from this plan.

Must follow exactly

This diet is very strict and must be followed diligently to see results. It’s hard for many people to stick with this diet, and it makes dining out very complicated.

High fat

The USDA dietary guidelines recommend 20 – 35% of your diet be from fat. The keto diet requires double that amount or more. A high fat diet has been linked to higher risk of coronary disease.

Increased digestive issues

Dietary changes often lead to digestive issues. Constipation can be an issue as fiber intake is limited.

Possible muscle loss

There are worries that participants who stay on diet long term could experience muscle loss.

Not all athletic endurance is increased

soccer

Athletes who participate in anaerobic sports, such as soccer and basketball, will find that they do not have the necessary energy production for maximum performance.


Tips to Make the Keto Diet Work for You:

Mind your portions

nutritional scaleThis diet relies on counting carbs, protein and fat grams in order to be successful. Our Digital Nutrition Scale can make this a much less daunting task. The scale will instantly calculate calories, carbohydrates, fiber, sodium, potassium, magnesium, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, calcium, protein, and Vitamin K. The Nutrition Scale can analyze the nutrient content of any portion of food.

Choose healthy fats

avocado

Healthy fats will help you maintain heart health. Choose from mono-saturated fats, olive oil, avocado, lean meat, nuts and seeds.

Increase hydration

The body can naturally lose water when carbohydrate stores are low. Be sure to drink enough water to stay hydrated throughout the day.

Monitor your muscle massbody fat scale

Ensure that you are losing fat and not muscle with our Precision Body Fat Bathroom Scale. In addition to weight, the Precision Body Fat Scale measures body fat, muscle mass, bone mass, and body water. The scale also automatically recognizes previous users based on their weight.

Supplement

vitamins

To prevent micronutrient deficiencies, be sure to take a multivitamin/mineral supplement. Fiber supplements may also be necessary to keep your digestive system on track. Consult with your physician for your exact dietary needs.

Exercise

Exercise, even walking briskly for 20 minutes day, can help accelerate fat burning.

Modifications

If you are nursing, have high blood pressure, or diabetes, modifications should be made. Consult with a registered dietician or your physician to ensure your good health.


Are you on a diet and not seeing the results you would like? Read our blog: 11 Reasons Why You Aren’t Losing Weight (And What You Can Do About It).

Have you tried the Ketogenic Diet? Let us know about your experience. Tweet to us @eatsmartscales.

Shop EatSmart Digital Kitchen Scales.

Shop EatSmart Digital Bathroom Scales.

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