Almost a century after being introduced as the therapy of last resort for children with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is emerging as fast way to lose weight.
What is the ketogenic diet?
This diet is based on a daily intake of approximately 90% lipids, 8% protein and 2% carbohydrate. It’s hard to know how many people are following it, but Google searches for the word “ketogenic” have increased in recent years, the site says. Web MD.
Hollywood stars like Halle Berry and Vanessa Hudgens helped democratize the ketogenic diet. And the video-on-demand platform Netflix released a movie, The Magic Pill, to document the people who use this diet for treat illnesses like asthma, autism, diabetes, and cancer. It is not surprising that the regime has also made theobject of criticism, some calling it “ridiculous” and potentially harmful. Moreover, even the followers find that it is not easy to follow, and not suitable for everyone.
A virtual absence of carbohydrates to break down fats
Because limiting the number of carbohydrates on your plate and adding a little fat is not enough. This diet is extremely strict. To reach the ketogenic state, it is therefore necessary to follow it to the letter, and to eat very few carbohydrates, lots of fat, and lots of protein. This means that you have to keep your carbohydrate intake around 20 grams per day, i.e. the equivalent of a small apple. In less than a week, blood sugar levels stabilize and insulin levels drop. Carb free, the liver breaks down fat and converts it into energy. It thus produces compounds called cetonic corpse which have several effects, includinghunger alleviation.
Effective in alleviating the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal?
What if this diet helped alcoholics to quit? It is in any case the track explored by a team of researchers. They found that people with Alcoholic withdrawal had less severe symptoms if they were on a ketogenic diet in parallel. These findings were published in April 2021 in the journal Science Advances. The researchers noted that when people become addicted to alcohol for a long enough period of time, their bodies begin to use less glucose for energy : instead, they use acetate, which the body makes by metabolizing alcohol. Researchers have also found that those on a ketogenic diet have more “ketone bodies” to metabolize that can be used for energy.
Researchers asked 23 newly hospitalized alcoholics to follow a ketogenic diet and used 23 other patients as a control group. To assess the impact of the diet, the researchers measured the ketone and acetate levels in volunteers once a week. They also looked for common markers of inflammation in people in rehab and assessed the amount of medication needed to help volunteers overcome their symptoms. All the data suggest that the keto diet allows well to reduce withdrawal symptoms among volunteers.
Side effects and contraindications of the ketogenic diet
But the ketogenic diet has significant side effects. High fat intake can worsen cardiovascular health issues, and weigh down the liver. People with liver problems should also avoid this regime.
Nutritional ketosis can be accompanied by head pain, nausea, fatigue, and headaches for four to five days. the lack of fiber can cause constipation, and the lack of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes can cause fromkidney stones. It will therefore be necessary to weigh the pros and cons on the scale, and consult your doctor, before starting.