Regardless of what part of the world you call home, it is more than likely that you have heard about the Ketogenic Diet or most commonly known as the Keto Diet. There are posts, live feeds, support groups, etc all over social media from experts and non-experts addressing this particular diet. To put it simply, this diet works. It does not only help you lose weight, it goes beyond that. It may help reduce your risk for diabetes or cancer, balance hormones, increase your overall energy, speed up your metabolism, and also offers many other benefits. This diet works for men, women, young, old, overweight or underweight individuals, etc. This is why people are excited about this diet. The ketogenic diet is NOT a low carb diet. It is a diet that forces the body to start burning mainly fat for fuel instead of the usual glucose from carbohydrate foods. It is a diet of very high fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate content. All the above benefits are promised, but only if the diet is done the proper way. This is important because something you do not want to do is put your personal health at risk just for the sake of weight loss. Because of this, It is quintessential to do proper research and speak to your doctor before starting this diet. The reason people do not succeed with this diet, is because they make several key mistakes. I will touch on three major ones.
#1. The first mistake people make is not taking time to understand the history of this diet. Once you understand why this diet was formulated in the first place, you will understand why you not only have to approach it with caution but mostly with great interest because of its numerous benefits. There are actually five different variations of this diet published so far in medical literature. The original or classic variation (the most strict of all others) was first developed in 1923 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic to help children suffering from epileptic seizures. In this classic variation, 90% of calories come from fat, 4% from carbs and 6% from protein. While it helped curb the seizures, there was a great side effect which was weightloss. The point here is that, this diet has everything to do with affecting the chemical composition of your brain. Your brain normally wants to run on glucose. Beginning to alter its fuel source is to be done with caution.
#2. The second mistake is that most people do not deem it necessary to consult their medical providers before starting this diet. The crucial need to consult your medical provider prior to starting this journey is because of the high fatty foods that you need to be eating while on this diet. Proper fat digestion requires that organs such as your pancreas, gallbladder and liver work perfectly together. This is because proper bile production, storage and secretion is very essential. If one of these links are broken, per say, then you are encouraging it to become worse by forcing them to work even more. You can still follow this diet if you have had your gallbladder removed. However, there are certain dietary and supplemental adjustments and additions that you will have to make to accommodate this. This is why, your medical professional needs to confirm if these organs are functioning properly or not.
#3 The third mistake is deadly. If you do not understand the effects of drastically lowering your carbs, how to lower your carbs, the effects of lowering your carbs and how to immediately counteract the effects of lowering your carbs, you are in serious trouble. A passionate and knowledgeable keto coach is a very important companion in this keto diet journey. When you lower your carbs significantly, a lot of water also leaves your body on a daily basis. Along with water, goes essential minerals like potassium, magnesium, calcium among others. These minerals are crucial for major body functions like regulating a regular heart beat, normal brain function, proper muscle contraction, etc. When you keep losing such important electrolytes without proper knowledge of when and how to replenish them, it can become dangerous. Some signs that you may be losing too many electrolytes are muscle cramps, headaches, mental fogginess, feeling very weak, light headed feeling, nausea, etc.
The point of this article is not to scare anyone about the ketogenic diet. In fact, I highly recommend this diet with the right things in place. You need to be made aware that you are going to be putting your body through a significant physiological change. Why not take a step back and properly research this diet for yourself, sit down with your medical professional, and determine if this is the right diet for you at this point of your life.
WLS, FNS (NASM)