Our dietary choices form bedrock of our wellbeing. From weight management, to assisting in disease management and prevention, nutrition is a huge factor. The origin of the ketogenic diet is testament to this. Given the raving reviews it has been receiving on the weight loss end of things, one can easily assume it’s one of the plethora of new fags put together with merely weight loss in mind. But there is a whole lot more to it. Its origins date as far back as 1921 and its significance and benefits stretch far beyond the realm of weight control.
HOW IT CAME ABOUT
The keto diet was first introduced in 1921 as a tool to treat epilepsy. Lengthy periods of fasting had been observed to significantly reduce the amount of seizures. Since a prolonged period of going without food could never be a viable option, a diet regimen that that got the body into a condition that mimics prolonged fasting without nutritional depravation was devised. On the ketogenic eating plan the body alters its metabolic mechanism and enter a condition called ketosis. It later gained favour in the weight control world when its effects on weight loss were noted. The ketogenic diet regimen comprises a drastically reduced amount of carbohydrates and increasing an intake of fats.
HOW IT WORKS
The body primarily relies on carbohydrates which are in turn broken down into glucose to function as a fuel source. When an excessive amount of carbohydrates are consumed, the excess amount of glucose is stored in molecules called glycogen, which becomes responsible for fuelling the body during starvation. But this is merely a temporary reserve which soon gets depleted. In an event of a prolonged shortage of glucose, a backup fuel source in a form of ketones kicks in. When the body is relying on ketones for its functioning, it is then said to be in a condition called ketosis.
The liver compensates for a shortage of glucose by packaging fatty acids into ketones which are a viable fuel source for the functioning of the body including the brain. When adhering to the ketogenic diet plan, the body enters the state of ketosis. That is, fats are utilized to fuel the body and not the carbohydrates or proteins. During ketosis the body is starved of glucose, which is generally stored as fats when available in excess, so the state is inherently marked by a significant loss in terms of weight.
WHAT IT ENTAILS
The ketogenic diet makes the body operates as though it’s in a state of ketosis. The carbohydrates are not the only macronutrient that is restricted when on a keto diet. The intake of proteins is also reduced to make room for more fats. The metabolic state of ketosis is only attainable if glucose is limited.
The popularity of the ketogenic diet can be attributed to its sustainability. The fatty food sources that are admissible on the regimen are generally filling. It comes with an advantage of being afforded a chance to evade the unbearable hunger pangs that other diet fads do not afford.
The metabolic transition is said to bring about a condition called keto-flu. Keto-flu usually set in after three or four days of adhering to the ketogenic eating regimen. The symptoms associated with it include; fatigue, dizziness, insomnia and nausea. The keto-flu symptoms are said to last for up to a week.
Before embarking on a new eating plan, it is absolutely critical to consult with a registered dietician/ nutritionist or a medical professional. Cutting out certain foods can easily result in one inadvertently depriving themselves of nutrients imperative for proper functioning of bodily functions. Walking the process with the counsel of a professional will ensure that the desired weight loss is not attained at the expense of nutritional value which could potentially compromise ones health.