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Research on the keto diet—a high-fat, moderate-protein, and low-carb eating method—has shown that it may help with weight loss and lower blood sugar. But does it help with other health conditions, such as hypertension, psoriasis, and thyroid? Let us delve into it.
To say that the keto diet has become one of the most popular diets in recent years is a complete understatement. The diet is highly desired for its purported fast weight loss. The trendy diet has captured the interest of people who want to lose weight — and reportedly, the diet works if followed correctly.
But of late, researchers have taken a greater interest in it as a medical diet.
So, what is the keto diet?
The keto diet requires you to drastically reduce carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. The fat you consume provides your body with all the energy requirements. The reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes a fat-burning machine. It turns fat into ketones in the liver, which in turn, supplies energy for normal functioning.
The standard ketogenic diet typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbohydrates. After you follow the diet for a few days, your body enters ketosis, which means it has started to use fat for energy. You can track whether you’re in ketosis with a urine ketone strip or a blood-prick meter, but eventually, you’ll learn what ketosis feels like and will know whether you’re in it.
The keto diet is all about fats and very low carbs. That means the food options are restrictive since carbohydrates are usually found in everything. However, following a restrictive, keto-friendly food doesn’t mean you have to forgo taste and calories. Keto food recipes have some of the best menus with a balance of taste and texture.
Here are some of the foods you may eat on keto:
Keto diet foods and drinks that you’ll avoid on the diet include most fresh fruits, dried fruits, whole grains, processed foods, sugar, whole milk, ice cream, alcohol, and desserts.
The keto diet has a massive fan base that is only continuing to grow. With a slew of purported health benefits, people are taking to the keto diet like a moth to light. But the fact of the matter is that most of the studies on the keto diet are hasty. Meaning that the studies were conducted on a smaller number of people with no control group, or the studies were conducted on rats.
The only clear and proven health benefit of the keto diet is reducing epileptic seizures in children. In fact, the keto diet was invented in the 1920s specifically to treat this condition.
The number one reason people adopt the keto diet nowadays is weight loss. While some research is promising, there is a lack of long-term research (that extends greater than two years) that suggests a highly restrictive diet like the keto is superior for weight loss to other forms of diet. The keto diet is certainly not for everyone.
A keto diet may help people with type 2 diabetes because it allows the body to maintain glucose levels at a healthy level. A lower intake of carbohydrates means fewer spikes in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.
Some research has suggested that losing even a moderate amount of weight on the keto diet can help lessen cardiovascular risk factors such as obesity and high blood pressure. According to a study, it resulted in lower LDL (i.e., bad cholesterol) and higher HDL cholesterol, which helps protect against heart disease.
On the other hand, eating too few carbs may lower your thyroid hormone levels. The same applies to those with skin conditions such as psoriasis. Some keto diets may worsen skin inflammation. A new study in mice suggests that ketogenic diets with a very high-fat content could actually worsen skin inflammation. Hence, people with psoriasis should avoid such diets. If you have a thyroid problem or any other health condition, be sure to consult your physician before taking up this diet.