KETO DIET FOODS: THE BENEFITS, SAFETY AND MANAGING ITS HEALTH RISKS

Keto Diet has gotten a lot of buzz and controversies over the years. There have been a lot of information in the internet regarding keto diet especially on its health benefits and risks. Of note, Keto diet is essentially safe .The key issue associated with Keto diet is knowing how to manage the potential health risk linked with it. Keto diet is more beneficial to a select group of individuals and not suitable for persons with certain medical conditions that will be discussed subsequently.

This article will highlight the necessary details about keto diet with some tips to help you manage its expected adverse effects and making a decision about adopting keto diet.

WHAT’S KETO DIET?

The word ‘Keto’ is coined from the ketotic state induced by low carbohydrate diet.

Keto diet is low carbohydrate,  high fat diet. The metabolism of fats produces ketones which the body uses as its source of energy. In a standard keto diet, 80% of calories are from fat, 15% from proteins and 5 % from carbohydrates. However, in the modified keto diet,20-30% of calories are from protein. The modified keto diet is the commonly adopted form than the standard keto diet.

WHAT KETO DIET DOES TO YOUR BODY?

The ingestion of low carbohydrate and high fat diet causes the stabilization of insulin-The regulatory hormone for glucose and fat metabolism(Lipogenesis).This leads to a widespread lipolysis (Fat breakdown) from the fatty meal and fat stores in the liver, muscles and tissues. Consequently, the blood level of ketones rises to provide the tissues with alternative energy source to drive metabolic processes due to the paucity of glucose from the low carbohydrate  diet. This state is similar to the physiological state seen in extreme starvation or prolonged fasting. To confirm if your body is in ketotic state, use a ketone urinary strip to test your urine.

The presence of ketones in your urine called ketonuria confirms ketosis.

HEALTH RISKS OF KETO DIET FOODS

These potential health risks are seen during the transitioning phase from a normal diet to keto diet and when the transitioning is abruptly done

INDUCTION KETOFLU

This occurs during the initiation of keto diet usually within the first two weeks of commencement.The individual experiences flu-like symptoms such as fatigue,headache,nausea,irritability, and dizziness

.This is caused by the depletion of glucose stores in the body couple with the accompanying dehydration.

KETOCONSTIPATION

This occurs when an individual further restricts the intake of fibre rich vegetables. This reduces the ease of moving bowels and the passage of hard stools.

NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES

Most Ketogenic diets have inadequate micronutrients such as magnesium, potassium and calcium.

CARDIOVACSULAR COMPLICATIONS

Consumption of fats especially animal fats can raise the blood cholesterol level which is deposited in blood vessels causing narrowing of blood vessels called atherosclerosis. This exacerbates cardiac diseases such as myocardiac infarction, chronic hypertension, etc.

LOW BLOOD GLUCOSE

Low blood glucose happens in diabetics who are already on hypoglycemic drugs or insulin.The risk is enhanced in them and keto diet should be avoided unless under strict medical guidiance.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF KETO DIET

GOOD BLOOD GLUCOSE CONTROL IN TYPE 2 DIABETIES MELLITUS

Studies have shown that low carbohydrate diet like keto diet can help in the regulation of blood glucose. This is particularly beneficial in type 2 diabetes because keto diet helps to reduce insulin resistance, causes weight loss and eliminates the need for hypoglycemic drugs.

WEIGHT LOSS

Break down of fats and reduced appetite for food promotes weight loss.

HOW TO START KETO DIET AS A BEGINNER?

It is highly recommended to commence keto diet gradually because sudden transitioning will increase the susceptibility of an individual to the health risks of keto diet. Also, getting professional assistance such as a dietitian to create a keto diet plan for beginners so as to make the transitioning less chaotic.

KETO DIET FOOD LIST

  • Plant based oils such as olive oil and avocado oil should be used in cooking meals in order to reduce the risk of elevated blood cholesterol from eating animal based fats.
  • Vegetables such as cabbage,broccoli,leafy green vegetables etc should be added to keto diet.
  • Proteins such as fish, eggs,beef,soybeans etc.
  • Nuts and seeds like walnuts, almonds,pumpkin seed etc.

FOODS TO AVOID IN KETO DIET

  • Processed foods such as bread,potato chips, biscuits etc.
  • Sweets such as candy, brownies, cookies.
  • Sugary drinks like fruit juices and ice creams.
  • Alcoholic drinks

TIPS ON HOW TO MAKE KETO DIET SAFE FOR YOU

These tips are targeted to reducing and possibly eliminating the health risks linked with keto diets. Individuals will fully embrace keto diet once they can recover and surmount the challenges associated with the transition phase.

  • Use keto specific supplements as part of your diet. This will reduce the risk of nutritional deficiencies with its systemic effects.
  • Drink lots of water to keep you hydrated.
  • Supplement your diet with green leafy vegetables to reduce constipation.
  • Cook using only plant based oils.

WHO SHOULD AVOID KETO DIET?

Even though the health risks of keto diet bcan be managed, certain groups of individuals with some medical conditions should totally avoid keto diet.

  • Chronic Hypertension
  • Diabetics on medication
  • Cardiovascular disorders

CONCLUSION

Keto diet is a very restrictive diet with inherent health benefits and risks. Although these health risks can be properly handled, keto diet is not a diet that is suitable for everyone. It is safe and adopting the diet plan depends on the person’s state of health. Before deciding to start keto diet, you should seek proper medical check u to eliminate the contraindications to keto diet. In the absence of these medical conditions highlighted above, keto diet can be commenced under adequate guidance coupled with lots of education  and information.

About the author

I am an experienced practicing Medical Doctor and a medical expert author for ezinearticles.com. I am a double certified content writer for website contents on health/ fitness/nutrition and I am a native English speaker.
I am also proficient with copywriting. I have excellent written communication skills and I am enthusiastic about entrepreneurship, research/academic writing.
I am a semifinalist in 2016 CIAPS Nigeria essay competition and among the top 10% of young innovators in 2018 World Bank ideas for action competition.