Healthy Diet

Ketogenic Diet

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Surely at some point you have heard the term ketogenic diet. That diet that everyone is currently talking about incessantly and that you also want to be part of. Surely you are totally fed up with the typical and boring diets of nutritionists, who isn’t? These diets that our doctors put us on that do nothing but cause us economic problems due to the high cost of the food proposed in it. People who are used to eating whatever they want are the ones who are most affected by the typical diets of nutritionists, since they are the ones who most deprive these specific people of food, since they need to reduce by far the amount of fat and sugars that they supply to their body. The ketogenic diet aims for the liver to generate enough ketones to be used as an energy source. This is called ketosis. Normally, the human body produces insulin for energy. However, if you consume an excessive amount of carbohydrates or lead an unhealthy lifestyle, this may result in glucose spikes. For this to happen in the right way, it is important to integrate foods rich in high quality animal and vegetable fats. For many people, losing weight is not simple, but it is even more complicated to remain at the same weight when you have lost weight. This happens because well-known adaptations are generated in the body: When hunger increases and metabolism decreases, this leads to a greater inclination to regain lost fat, ultimately making it harder to maintain the weight.

The ketogenic diet is very effective because it directly affects the fat stores of our body and metabolizes them thanks to the great processes of lipolysis that occur. When we drastically reduce our intake of carbohydrates (glucose), ketones are produced. The liver is the organ that is in charge of making ketone bodies from fats. These ketone bodies will be used as energy throughout the body, particularly in the brain. The ketogenic diet is one of the diets that uses less carbohydrates but more fat worldwide, which makes it suitable for a huge number of people who require minimal levels of animal proteins to be consumed.

Nutritional Ketosis

When the ketosis process is activated in the body, our metabolism becomes a real professional fat burner. In a couple of months you will be able to burn all that useless matter that is stored in your legs, arms, thighs, buttocks, cheeks, neck, back and other parts of your body. Obesity is a serious issue that requires attention as it can lead to metabolic problems when the body’s fat percentage reaches a certain level. As the body size rapidly increases, it becomes harder for the body to oxygenate all its parts. The organ most affected by obesity is the heart and this is the main cause of death among  obese people due to circulatory problems. Obesity also increases the risk of developing complications associated with metabolic syndromes such as dyslipidemia, arterial hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance, reducing longevity and quality of life. This, together with the fact that current dietary strategies have shown low efficacy in weight loss and long-term weight maintenance, highlight the urgent need for an effective and safe strategy to treat obesity and prevent the increase in the development of comorbidities associated with it. As a consequence of the above, a large number of dietary therapeutic proposals have arisen and the use of some existing diets originally used for the treatment of other pathologies has been adapted in order to stop the increase in the prevalence of obesity, offering more effective treatments.

Typical Diets Versus Ketogenic Diet

Previous research has shown that there is an effective weight reduction when patients follow a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to competitors who followed a more classic low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. The positive side that the ketogenic diet has for you are very real as you are not going to find anywhere any dietary regimen that provides you with all the incredible positive properties that the keto diet has for your body. Starting with a strong detoxification of all your bloodstream discarding impurities and any kind of fat accumulated over the days which is essential for older people and / or adults. With the assistance offered by the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is a unique diet that will undoubtedly alter your eating habits for the better and you can impressively improve your digestive and cognitive system thanks to the benefits that the ketogenic diet offers you.

One of the essential strengths of ketogenic diets is to prepare the body for lipolysis, i.e. the synthesis of fat as a primary source of fuel instead of carbohydrates. Evolutionary, this was the mechanism that allowed us to exist, by providing us with the energy required for long journeys or to withstand periods of drought and glaciation. Ketogenic diets induce the body into a state of ketosis (not ketoacidosis), detectable by means of the existence of ketone bodies present in the urine (measurable with low-cost test strips sold in pharmacies). Once the period of ketosis begins in our body, we can begin to notice the changes in the first weeks of having already started. On a ketogenic diet, your entire body shifts its energy supply to work exclusively with fat, at all times. Insulin levels are reduced and fat burning is radically increased. This is absolutely amazing if your aim is to lose weight, but there are also some other obvious advantages, like less hunger and a constant supply of energy thanks to the state of ketosis when the body starts producing ketones.

What are Ketones?

When we run out of carbohydrates, our body will draw on our fat reserves for energy. This development in which the body transforms our fat into energy is called ketosis. But let’s take a deeper look at what happens at the metabolic level when we force ourselves to go low and eliminate carbohydrates from the diet. Under “normal” conditions, the body works with a mixture of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. When carbohydrates are eliminated from the diet, carbohydrate stores in both muscle and liver are rapidly depleted. Consequently, the body is forced to find an alternative fuel to provide energy. This alternative fuel is composed of free fatty acids (fats) that have the possibility of being used by most of the tissues in the body, but not by all of them. For example, the brain and nervous system do not have the ability to use free fatty acids as fuel, however, they do have the ability to use ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are substances produced when free fatty acids are not fully utilized in the liver.

What Happens in Our Organism When the Ketone Bodies are  In Excess?

Our body enters the metabolic state of ketosis in this circumstance. That is, there is a decrease in the use and production of glucose and, in parallel, there is a decrease in the degradation of proteins that are reserved for use as a source of energy. This is one of the reasons why many people are attracted to diet variants of keto diet, as these are the ones that cause an effective elimination of stored fat without having to directly lose muscle mass (lose or lose fat without losing muscle mass).

The Origin of the Ketogenic Diet

Endocrinologist Rollin Woodyatt made a groundbreaking observation in 1921 when he discovered that feeding the liver a high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet resulted in the production of water-soluble P-hydroxybutyrate and acetoacetate compositions, commonly known as ketone bodies. This discovery was further expanded upon by Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic, who in 1921 began using a diet that induced ketosis, commonly known as a “ketogenic diet”, as a treatment for epilepsy  as the the ketogenic diet works by forcing the body to burn stored fats instead of carbohydrates as its primary source of energy, thus leading to a reduction in seizures for those suffering from epilepsy.

In the 1960s, additional research revealed that environmental chain triglycerides (MCTs) are transported to the liver more quickly through the hepatic portal vein than through the lymphatic system, which results in a higher production of ketones per unit of energy. Peter Huttenlocher created the ketogenic diet in 1971, where the diet was high in fat and low in carbohydrates and MCT oil provided 60% of the calories. This diet was created with the purpose of treating children with refractory epilepsy who did not respond well to traditional treatments. The idea behind the diet is that by forcing the body to burn stored fats, instead of carbohydrates, as its primary source of energy, it could lead to a reduction in seizures. MCT oil, or medium-chain triglyceride oil, is a type of fat that is quickly metabolized by the liver and converted into ketones, which can be used as an alternative energy source for the brain. By providing 60% of the calories from MCT oil, the ketogenic diet made it easier for the body to enter ketosis, the metabolic state in which the body burns fat for fuel. The ketogenic diet created by Peter Huttenlocher was a significant improvement over earlier versions of the diet as it was more palatable, easier to follow, and had fewer side effects.

Types of Ketogenic Diet

Standard Ketogenic Diet: This is what Atkins explains in the first stage of his diet, the induction phase, in which you should only consume low-carbohydrate foods that you can use to stay. The intake of these nutrients does not increase or decrease, i.e., there are no days of high intake followed by days of low intake. In fact, it is the nutritional variety that should be adopted as a lifestyle, not as a diet.

Cyclic Ketogenic Diet: This one is characterized by the process of loading and unloading carbohydrates in a cyclic pattern. The most common way to do this is to consume low carbohydrates (so that the body uses all stored glycogen) for two or three days, then increase your intake for one or two days and repeat the cycle. Additionally, you can apply this strategy to a single day. In this case, you should load your body with carbohydrates before 2 pm and unload it later.

Targeted Ketogenic Diet: Here, carbohydrates are ingested at certain times of the day. Most commonly, their consumption is limited to times close to training. In this way, the body uses them quickly and blocks fat accumulation because it avoids the insulin surge and prevents circulation through the system. It is the type of diet that most of these 26 million Americans follow to some extent, according to Time magazine. It’s a much wiser plan for people who are predisposed to insulin resistance and who also tend to be overweight or have high concentrations of body fat. It is also for those who know that a lifestyle based on reduced lipid intake is not compatible with their eating habits.

How Does the Ketogenic Diet Actually Work?

The first energy source for our body is glucose. When glucose runs out, our body starts to sources its energy from fats which means burning fat. The logic of the ketogenic diet is that the body does not find carbohydrates and is in a permanent state of fat burning. In most cases, the carbohydrates in foods are converted into glucose, which is then used to provide the body with immediate energy to fuel itself. On the other hand, when the body enters ketosis, the liver converts fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies, which are used instead of fats. To achieve and sustain ketosis, you must considerably limit your daily carbohydrate intake and replace it with protein and fat. Thus, you are giving your body permission to obtain energy in a much more favorable way. In the ketogenic diet, the body, unable to use carbohydrates, is forced to use fats instead. A very appealing note is that this change in the body’s performance not only helps to treat epilepsy, it has been shown that it could also contribute to treat several neurological disorders. Creating a state of ketosis is one of the most useful ways to burn stubborn fat deposits. Several bodybuilders claim that this diet is very efficient in reducing body fat percentages in the body.

What is the Process that Makes Ketogenic Diet Work?

It is the state of ketosis -a natural physiological development in which the body creates substances known as ketone bodies from fats and thanks to a deficit of carbohydrates. Ketosis consumes fat for energy in a light but less efficient way than “conventional” metabolism. Specifically, ketosis occurs when for the period there are no carbohydrates in the blood, so that the cell begins to create substances of agile consumption from fatty acids: the popular ketone bodies. The elements that make up ketosis are the following: Acetoacetic acid or beta-hydroxybutyric acid. In a natural way, in fasting conditions, the brain has the capacity to consume up to 75% of these, if there is no usable glucose. If we induce ketosis by reducing the proportion of carbohydrates, in the end, it will be the rest of the body that will consume these ketone bodies generated from fats.

Can the Ketogenic Diet Have Negative Effects?

If you have questions about whether your body is healthy enough to carry out the ketogenic diet, you should consult a nutritionist. As the ketogenic diet consumes foods not commonly found in other weight loss diets, it is actually very strict and is recommended to be performed under medical supervision to avoid health problems. If you have coronary heart health abnormalities, hypertension, kidney health abnormalities or diabetes, the ketogenic diet can increase the dangers of suffering from consecutive results. Adversities can lead to dehydration, calcium depletion, and potential kidney problems.In addition, some vitamins and minerals are likely to be deficient and supplementation may be required. If you consume huge proportions of red meat as a source of protein, its high saturated fat and cholesterol content is going to increase your danger of contracting coronary health abnormalities. A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates and high in protein and fat. Realize that the greater your carbohydrate intake at the beginning, the more time you need to adapt to the ketogenic diet. If your body is used to using glucose as fuel, it will take longer for you to adapt to using ketones and fatty acids as fuel, but once this adaptation occurs the improvement in energy scenarios is very noticeable.

Ketoacidosis is What You Need to Avoid!

Ketoacidosis is a metabolic state characterized by metabolic acidosis and uncontrolled ketone body production. Regardless of the benefits, there is one case in which ketosis can turn against us, and that is when it causes ketoacidosis. Ketoacidosis originates mainly when there is an excess of ketones or ketone bodies in our blood. Although the blood has some ability to accept pH alteration, if the pH changes radically, serious systemic impairment can result. For example, blood requires a specific pH range to exchange oxygen. In case of acidification with levels higher than normal, our blood will not be able to accept it in the best way and therefore its levels of oxygen and nutrients will progressively decrease. In addition, it causes a series of other inconveniences and lesions at the cellular level whose sequelae have the potential to be very negative. Fortunately, ketoacidosis does not tend to be an immediate risk, and its appearance can be seen in numerous gradual sequelae: such as, among other things, ketonic odor in the breath, urine and genitals; tiredness, malaise, nausea and etc. The worst cases of ketoacidosis, the really dangerous ones, occur in association with metabolic problems such as diabetes. For a healthy individual, reaching the case of acute ketoacidosis is not a simple matter, even though it can be perceived by the signs mentioned above.

Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet

Several researches have proved that a diet low in carbohydrates, high in proteins and based on fats, helps to lose weight. As the ketogenic diet decreases the fat in the body accumulated in excess by utilizing them as energy instead of continuing to be stored, this means that, over time, the reserves that have developed will begin to be used and you will lose weight. In addition to what is related to the loss of weight and monitoring of our body mass, the ketogenic diet can also help other issues. Among other things, tests have also highlighted its ability to suppress appetite. Another benefit associated with the ketogenic diet is its effectiveness in controlling blood sugar levels. Studies completed with patients suffering from diabetes have proven its effectiveness in improving carbohydrate metabolism. The insulin present in your blood is stabilized. The increase in ketones lowers blood sugar, helping to improve insulin resistance and decreasing the risk of type 2 diabetes.

The ketogenic diet is amazing for weight loss because it decreases appetite and food cravings. In addition to this, when we eat more healthy fats and animal protein our body will gradually stop relying on sugar or glucose as an energy source and you will feel satiated with fewer calories.  By having a lower carbohydrate intake, blood triglycerides remain normal and HDL lipoprotein or good cholesterol levels increase. This translates into:

– Reduced risk of suffering cardiovascular health abnormalities.

– Reduced risk of arterial obstruction

– Normalization of blood pressure settings

For these effects to be truly present, it is essential that the meats you choose are lean. That is, with the lowest proportion of fat possible. In addition, the oils and fatty foodstuffs must be of excellent quality. You will feel more satiated by eating less. Since the ketogenic diet involves high consumption of protein, your body will be satiated for more hours with less food. This is yet another reason why you will lose weight. In studies that have related the weight loss obtained with both variants of diets, the keto diet and the hypocaloric diets, it was found that both have basically the same result, although in some occasions, the ketogenic diet achieves a slightly higher weight loss. The ketogenic diet, where the consumption of animal fat is also limited, usually has very excellent results in terms of improving blood cholesterol levels, but this result also varies from one person to another, without definitive proof of what causes cholesterol levels to drop on some occasions and not on others. A key consideration when comparing ketogenic diets to hypocaloric diets is the way in which they affect appetite. The release of ketone bodies in the body during a ketogenic diet has been shown to significantly suppress appetite, which can lead to even greater weight loss. This is because protein has a high satiety level, so when appetite is suppressed, individuals are likely to eat less and thus lose weight more effectively.  Another virtue of the ketogenic diet is that the weight loss obtained is mostly fat since, as proven by numerous studies, the muscle mass remains intact, something that does not tend to happen with other types of diets.

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