The ketogenic diet is not something new. Indeed, it was set up in the 1920s to help patients suffering from epilepsy but also from other pathologies. In recent years, it has been diverted from its original role to be used for weight loss, but more importantly, it has many health benefits. Let's see together what this famous ketogenic diet consists of!
Ketogenic diet: a brief history
In the 1920s, researchers found that strongly decreasing carbohydrate intake over the course of a day (less than 50g) and increasing fat (fats) and protein intake had a direct effect on epilepsy, decreasing the frequency and severity of seizures.
The ketogenic diet, also known as Keto, changes the body's metabolism, causing what is known as "ketosis," a medical condition caused by the accumulation in the body of substances produced by fat breakdown: ketone bodies. These serve as fuel for the brain and have an anti-seizure effect on the brain.
For many years, the ketogenic diet was forgotten in favor of the major boom in drugs to treat epilepsy, but since the 1990s, it has increasingly been revived.
The fact that the ketogenic diet causes a highfat destruction has made it quite popular in recent years among diet enthusiasts.
Ketogenic diet: what does it mean in practice?
In a balanced diet, our body's main source of energy comes from the carbohydrates we ingest. These represent about 50% of our daily intake. When carbohydrate stores are depleted, such as during an endurance effort, our body begins to draw on our fat stores, allowing us to slim down.
In the ketogenic diet, we switch the main fuel (carbohydrates) to make our fat stores the primary source of energy used by our bodies. By reducing carbohydrate intake (max 2-3% of daily intake) and increasing fat intake (75-80% of daily intake), the body will use these fats by converting them into energy through molecules called "ketone bodies"; our body enters what is called a state of "ketosis".
When in ketosis, ingested fat will be directly used, having a beneficial effect on weight loss.
However, be careful not to go overboard. Indeed, by bringing so much fat to our body, we are more quickly disgusted and we can feel some discomfort as headaches, nausea, fatigue, ... leading to a loss of appetite.
In addition, this completely unbalanced diet cannot be maintained over the long term without risking deficiencies.
Also be careful to balance good and bad fats to avoid increasing the risk of diseases cardiovascular, hypertension And bad cholesterol. When properly balanced, the ketogenic diet can even reduce LDL cholesterol in favor of good cholesterol (HDL). But for that, it is necessary to privilege fish and sea products, as well as vegetable oils.
However, it has a benefit for our health, because by decreasing sugar intake, our blood sugar levels are much more stable and the risk of reactive hypoglycemia is almost nil.
But what does a person eat during a ketogenic diet?
The first rule is to greatly reduce carbohydrate intake(max 50g/day). The only sources of carbohydrates tolerated are fruits, legumes and vegetables rich in sugars such as sweet potatoes, tomatoes and beets. These, however, should be consumedvery exceptionally.
Next, you need to increase your fat and protein intake, which is why it is advisable to regularly consume the following foods:
- Fish and seafood
- Greek yogurts (be careful, other yogurts should be avoided)
- Vegetable oil
- Oilseeds (walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts, ...)
- Green leafy vegetables (kale, broccoli, spinach, ...)
- Coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a saturated fat but is known to be beneficial to our arteries. In addition, its digestion leads to a rapid production of ketone bodies. It is therefore a very interesting food in case of ketogenic diet.
Be careful, however, to limit the consumptionof omega 6, which are pro-inflammatory and promote chronic diseases. It is found in sesame and grape seed oil, among other things.
In conclusion, this diet hasreally beneficial effects on certain diseases such as epilepsy but also alzheimer and Parkinson. If you want to adopt it to reduce some of the effects of these diseases, I can only recommend it.
However, in order to lose weight, this diet is in my opinion to be avoided becauseit is very far from nutritional balance, too few studies on the effects in long term have been done and the smallest intake of sugar can make you regain the lost weight, or even more.