What are the benefits and disadvantages of the “keto” diet on the body?
The keto diet (Ketogenic Diet) has gained significant attention as a weight loss method, both in Thailand and internationally. This dietary approach emphasizes high fat consumption, with limited protein and carbohydrates, aiming to induce the body to utilize stored fat for energy. In the initial phase of following this method, people often experience rapid weight loss. However, entering a state of Ketosis may lead to common side effects, including dehydration, fatigue, headaches, loss of appetite, irritability, insomnia, constipation (if insufficient dietary fiber is obtained from fruits and vegetables), diarrhea, and an increased risk of acute pancreatitis. Therefore, people with health conditions should consult their physicians before embarking on this diet.
What are the benefits of the “keto” diet on the body?
- Weight loss: when the body enters a state of Ketosis, it becomes more efficient at burning fat. Research comparing low-fat diets to the keto diet found that people on the keto diet lost more weight, with an average of 5 kilograms after 6 months.
- Blood sugar control: the keto diet significantly limits carbohydrate intake to just 5%,
which helps lower and control blood sugar levels.
- Cholesterol reduction: The emphasis on consuming good fats, such as saturated fats from animals and plants, while avoiding trans fats, can contribute to a reduction in cholesterol levels.
What are the disadvantages of the “keto” diet on the body?
- Loss of water and minerals: when the body breaks down fat for energy, it loses water and minerals in the process. This can lead to feelings of tiredness and a reduced appetite.
- Effects on the liver: with reduced glucose levels, the body turns to stored fat for energy and converts fatty acids into ketones. The liver plays a crucial role in this process. As a result, the keto diet may not be suitable for people with liver or gallbladder issues.
- Impact on the kidneys and risk of kidney stones: ketone bodies can increase blood acidity, leading to higher excretion of calcium and magnesium through urine. The kidneys filter waste before elimination, and this increased excretion may raise the risk of kidney stones. Consequently, the keto diet may not be recommended for people with kidney problems.
Guidelines for a safe “keto” diet
Expert advice on adopting a safe and healthy “keto” diet suggests a gradual transition. Begin by limiting carbohydrate intake, such as reducing the consumption of sugary drinks, soft drinks, juices, and various desserts. Then, progressively adjust your consumption of starchy foods like rice, cereal products, milk, dairy items, and fruits. Increase the proportion of protein in your diet by eating lean meats, eggs, seafood, or foods rich in both fat and protein, such as nuts. Avoid fatty and processed meats like sausages, ham, bacon, fermented pork sausage, Chinese sausage, and meatballs. Furthermore, include a variety of vegetable-based foods, with a focus on leafy greens to ensure an adequate intake of essential vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.
The keto diet doesn’t set strict rules for condiment and seasoning usage. The main consideration is to avoid seasonings with added sugar or mixtures that might contain starch. To add sweetness to your dishes, you can opt for sweeteners instead of sugar. When it comes to cooking keto-friendly meals, you can flavor your food with a wide range of spices and herbs, as well as enhancing the taste with sour, salty, and spicy flavors.