Keto is a challenging diet. If it isn’t difficult, you aren’t doing it correctly.
The diet is marketed as a miraculously pleasurable diet in which you may eat as much fat as you like while avoiding carbs.
However, the ketogenic diet (commonly known as keto) was never meant to be enjoyable. It was planned to be used to help those with severe epilepsy.
It was also only meant to be used as a medical treatment under the supervision of qualified nutritionists and physicians.
Professionals would be able to monitor patients for potential problems and ensure that their diet was keeping them in ketosis—a metabolic state in which your body switches from using glucose to using ketone bodies, which are derived from body fat—a metabolic state in which your body switches from using glucose to using ketone bodies, which are derived from body fat.
Adults find remaining in genuine ketosis extremely difficult, therefore they needed those milestones.
Teresa Fung, a nutrition lecturer at Simmons College, argues that getting an adult body into ketosis is difficult.
“This is why the keto diet is utilized to treat epilepsy in children and infants—simpler.” it’s She emphasizes that because children are fast-growing, their utilization of food as fuel differs from that of adults.
Researchers aren’t sure what those changes are, but Fung claims that getting people into deep ketosis (which is likely deeper than a dieter’s target) is so difficult that dietitians rarely try it as a therapy. Today, the treatment is mostly given to children.
This is because patients must be in deep ketosis to observe an influence on epilepsy, which is likely deeper than the average dieter, yet getting into ketosis without the help of a nutritionist is still difficult.
It’s unclear why ketosis appears to help with epilepsy, but it appears to have something to do with the brain’s usage of ketone bodies instead of glucose, which occurs only when you’re on the verge of starvation. (It’s crucial to understand that “starvation mode” does not refer to how hungry you are.)
Andrea Giancoli, a dietician and nutrition consultant in California, says, “Keto is not an easy diet to maintain, and it’s not an appealing diet.” It’s impossible to get 80-90 percent of your calories from fat, which is what most keto diets require.
It entails consuming a lot of rich, heavy dishes with little variety—think fatty meats and gravy on cauliflower, for example.
You’re only permitted 10 to 15 grams of carbohydrates each day, and even if you stretch that to 20 or 30 grams, that’s still less than a banana.
A single apple, depending on its size (though the fiber in an apple means that many dieters don’t count those carbs towards their daily allowance), plus a couple of slices of bread will almost certainly bring you past that limit.
But it’s not going over your carb limit that’s the issue; it’s the protein. The protein consumption on a therapeutic keto diet is restricted. “If you eat a lot of protein, it gets broken down into carbohydrates,” Giancoli explains.
She claims that when you go keto, your body goes into survival mode, and if you don’t get enough carbohydrates from grains and fruits, you’ll start breaking down the amino acids in proteins to generate glucose.
Glucose is your body’s major source of fuel, even though it seems like a nasty sugar. You don’t want to take too much, but you do need enough to keep your cells functioning regularly.
The goal of keto is to drive your body to use body fat as a fuel source by depleting glucose (and its stored form, glycogen). It can produce ketone bodies from your fat, which can be used to substitute glucose as an energy-storing molecule if needed.
To do so, you must break apart fat molecules, causing the fat to be ‘burned’ away. However, here’s the thing: your body does not want to run out of glucose.
In terms of your biology, no glucose signifies starvation—even if you don’t feel hungry, your body is still lacking one of its most important macronutrients. When you’re (nutritionally) hungry, your body will begin to break down protein to obtain those sweet, sweet carbs.
Of fact, you already have a protein supply in your body: your muscles. “When your body is in hunger mode, it rips down muscle,” Giancoli explains. “Ketosis is a method of preserving that protein. It isn’t ideal, but your body attempts to save you.”
If you give your body more protein than it requires, it will convert it to carbohydrates right away. This is why many keto websites advise against eating too much protein.
The difficulty is that no single diet works for everyone, and without customizing keto to your body, it’s easy to overeat protein.
You can’t consume any protein, on the other hand. It is required for the proper functioning of your muscles, the growth of your hair and nails, and the production of hormones.
This is why professional nutritionists must advise diets to epilepsy sufferers.
Dieters who don’t enter true ketosis risk consuming a lot of fat—and potentially a lot of saturated fat if they eat animal meat—without benefiting from ketosis’ fat-burning advantages.
“The fat is the thing that a lot of folks on keto struggle with,” Fung explains. “They give any form of fat a pass, and a lot of the recipes encourage saturated fats like butter,” says the author.
Dieters who focus on healthy, unsaturated fats like those found in avocados may not have problems, but Fung points out that this results in a very monotonous diet and many individuals wind up eating more saturated fats as a result. “As a dietitian, that scares me a little.”
Ketosis, on the other hand, has its own set of hazards. When your blood becomes excessively acidic due to circulating ketone bodies, your body will pull calcium from your bones to act as a buffer.
This also occurs in ketoacidosis, a condition in which your body produces so many ketone bodies that it becomes harmful and draws considerably more calcium from your bones.
Dieters aren’t frequently in such a state of famine that they get ketoacidosis, according to Giancoli.
There are few to no studies on healthy people who follow a non-therapeutic ketogenic diet, however epileptic children on the diet exhibit increased bone demineralization and elevated blood calcium levels.
High fat intake in the diet, particularly saturated fats, can elevate cholesterol and contribute to the development of cardiovascular disease.
You’re more prone to become constipated and have other digestive troubles if you don’t consume enough fiber from whole grains and fruits.
You also need fiber to maintain a healthy gut flora, which comes from whole grains that you can’t consume on the keto diet, and while you can get enough fiber from veggies on the keto diet, you must carefully manage your eating to do so.
Keto is not recommended by Giancoli, Fung, or any of the other dietitians and nutritionists who reviewed it for a recent US News & World Report diets ranking.
Many of them expressed grave worries about the keto diet’s long-term safety.
Though you may lose weight, most dieters gain it back (and often even more) when they stop eating the way they used to. This is because drastic dietary changes are difficult to maintain for lengthy periods.
So maybe not being in ketosis isn’t such a bad thing after all—just limit your saturated fat intake.