Albert Einstein once said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly, but expecting different results”.
These are my thoughts each time I hear about the new diet craze known as the Keto Diet which has once again resurrected into a new form, this time in the disguise of a pill. The Ketogenic Diet was first used as a means of weight reduction by Dr. Atkins in 1970, however, Dr. Atkins derived at this concept based upon a 1920 Medical Nutrition Therapy for children suffering from Epilepsy. Yes, you read correctly 1920’s! The ketogenic diet has been around for 88 years and yet each time the craze dies down as the slang goes “wait for it” within a couple of years it’s back, re packaged, renamed, and re-advertised as the new revolutionary successful way to weight loss.
Key Point: Keto Diet is not new or revolutionary it has been around for 88 years.
A ketogenic diet which is a form of starvation was used to treat children suffering from seizures; by providing a diet low in carbs and high in fats the liver will began to make Ketone Bodies (beta hydroxybutyrate, acetone, acetoacetate) which controlled seizures. When the body does not have carbohydrates to convert into fuel, the liver starts to break down excess fat stores to use for fuel in the form of Ketones. When ketone bodies accumulate in the blood, within 3-4 days into the diet this is called ketosis. Once you are in a ketonic state or acidosis the diet is noted as working, you are now officially into Ketosis or Acidosis.
Key Point: The Ketogenic Diet works by converting Fat Stores into energy to be used by the body in place of glucose or carbohydrate which puts the body in a Ketogenic State.
As the level of ketones increase in the blood stream places the body into ketoacidosis, kidneys begin to excrete ketone bodies along with waste in the urine, this causes initial fluid-related weight loss. Oher side effects of ketoacidosis are: headache, sleepiness, confusion and if continued for a prolong period loss of consciousness. The muscular system is also affected resulting in weakness and seizures. Additional side effects are diarrhea, nausea, shortness of breath, coughing, arrhythmias and increase risk of kidney stones and gout due to increased levels of uric acid.
Key Point: Prolong periods on the Keto diet can produce dangerously toxic level of acid in the blood called ketoacidosis resulting in a variety of dangerous side effects.
To reference my previous blog D to the Bone. The Keto diet also leads to osteoporosis as the bodies tries to neutralize the acid in the blood stream. In order to accomplish this the body starts to pull calcium out of the bones which ultimately results in weakened brittle bones.
Key Point: Due to the side effects, the diet is not recommended to be used long term, proponents of the diet recommend that the diet is carefully followed to prevent ketones from reaching a harmful level. Think: how would the average person know when they have reached that harmful level?
“If you choose to start a ketogenic diet talk with your physician and a dietitian to closely monitor any biochemical changes after starting the regimen, and to create a meal plan that is tailored to your existing health conditions and to prevent nutritional deficiencies or other health complications. This is nothing to play around with”.
Remember, true weight loss is centered around making life style changes, a regimen you can live with throughout life not just for 2 or 3 months. Long term weight loss takes time and effort: get motivated, eat healthy, lower your total calorie intake and get moving” Exercise”. Always remember, “All things in moderation”.
Yes, it’s back, the Keto Diet, short term weight loss efforts at the expense of potential long-term harm to your body. It’s nothing new, it comes and goes, over and over with the same results. Be informed, Choose wisely.