Keto Diet: Fat Burner or Just Another Fad?

05/10/2020

Does the Keto diet really work?

Br: Fredrick Little

Eating Bacon and burning fat, what's the catch? ketogenic diets are the current trend in the weight loss community, but along with the followers, there are skeptics. Is Cutting carbs and eating fats enough to see drastic changes? Not exactly, there is a lot more to the diet than eating meat and throwing away bread.

What is the Keto Diet?


The ketogenic diet was developed in 1921 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic to treat epilepsy. Until recently, it has been used by physicians as a form of therapy. Now, the public uses it for its apparent weight loss benefits. These individuals' macronutrient balance consists of high-fats, moderate-proteins, and very-low-carbohydrates. The break down is approximately 55% to 60% fat, 30% to 35% protein, and 5% to 10% carbohydrates. For a 2000 kcal per day diet, the number of carbohydrates usually falls somewhere between 20 to 50 g per day.


Carbohydrates are the primary source of energy production in the human body. This is referred to as gluconeogenesis. When glucose is no longer available, the body needs a source of energy. So, it turns to ketogenesis. Ketogenesis uses fat to produce ketone bodies. According to an academic journal, Ketogenic Diet, "These Ketone bodies replace glucose as a primary source of energy. During ketogenesis due to low blood glucose feedback, the stimulus for insulin secretion is also low, which sharply reduces the stimulus for fat and glucose storage." When done correctly the body enters a state referred to as nutritional ketosis. It is imperative however that individuals interested in a keto diet are highly selective of what fats to consume.

The Different Types of Fat

Fat plays a major role in the human body. Not only is it a source of energy, but It also helps you absorb some vitamins and minerals. It is essential to building cell membranes, covering surrounding nerves, blood clotting, muscle movement, and inflammation.

According to , an article from health.harvard.edu, "What makes one fat different from another is the length and shape of the carbon chain and the number of hydrogen atoms connected to the carbon atoms. Seemingly slight differences in structure translate into crucial differences in form and function." So, what are the different types of fat?

Good fats

  • monounsaturated - Good fats are characterized by having fewer hydrogen atoms bonded to their carbon chains, and Monounsaturated only have one. These fats help to prevent heart disease. Sources: olive oil, peanut oil, canola oil, avocados, high-oleic safflower sunflower oils, and most nuts.


  • polyunsaturated fats- Polyunsaturated fats are known as essential fats.it is important to consume them because they are required for normal body functions. Unfortunately, our bodies can't produce them. Sources: Most liquid cooking oils, Corn oil, sunflower oil, and safflower oil


Neutral fats


  • Saturated Fats - the term saturated comes from the number of hydrogens bonded to the carbons. This leads to saturated fats to become solids at room temperature. Saturated fats won't do any harm as long as they are managed. Diets high in saturated fats have been linked to heart disease. Sources: red meat, whole milk, cheese, coconut oil, and most fast food.


Bad Fats

Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

Trans fats- trans fats are manmade. Hydrogenation is used to turn healthy oils into solids for conservation, and trans fat is the byproduct of the process. Trans fats have no known health benefits and create inflammation. Quote from health Harvard "Even small amounts of trans fats can harm health: for every 2% of calories from trans fat consumed daily, the risk of heart disease rises by 23%." Trans fats are now banned.

What are the Benefits of the Keto diet?

Another quote from Ketogenic Diet, "A recent systemic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials comparing the long-term effects (greater than 1 year) of dietary interventions on weight loss showed no sound evidence for recommending low-fat diets. In fact, low-carbohydrate diets led to significantly greater weight loss compared to low-fat interventions." 

In addition to the research presented there is evidence that a diet rich in carbohydrates generally promotes consumption of sugar at higher intervals. The high consumption of Sugar has been linked to a number of health conflicts. taking these facts into account, it's safe to conclude that a balanced diet rich in polyunsaturated fats is the most healthy choice. 

The Drawbacks of the Diet

There are reported minor short-term side effects of the ketogenic diet. Its referred to as the keto flu. The symptoms are nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, lack of energy, and constipation. These symptoms resolve in a few days to a few weeks. It's important to consume adequate amounts of water to avoid contracting this.

If done wrong, there can be long-term effects. These include hepatic steatosis, hypoproteinemia, kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.


Does The Keto Diet Work?

There is no sure-fire way to lose weight. The keto diet has shown results and depending on the individual it may be the most effective path to reaching one's goals; however, it is important to stick to a strict plan to avoid health deterioration. 

Another factor is water weight, any time carbohydrate consumption is decreased it is important to be wary of the scale. Water weight can fluctuate depending on the amount of glucose and sodium introduced into the bloodstream. The lack of glucose could give the appearance of loosing up to 10 pounds in a week. It is unfortunate because that weight can come back after one cheat day.

The most important thing to remember whenever selecting a diet plan is that results take time and effort. Whenever calorie consumption is decreased to the adequate amount so too does the weight of the individual. It is imperative that one sticks to a plan, whatever it may be, and includes high-quality foods from each macronutrient food group.