There’s a lot of confusion about the keto diet. As with most things weight loss related, the subject has become overly complicated. In this article we will simplify the subject into a simple list of pros and cons to make it as clear as possible.

A Keto Introduction

The word ketosis (pronounced key-toes-sis) is a metabolic state that occurs when you follow a very low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet. It causes your body to switch over from using glucose (from the carbs) as its primary fuel source to using ketones, which are produced when the body burns fat. Ketones are used as an alternative source of fuel when glucose is not available. In the process, your body changes from being a sugar burner to being a fat burner. ketosis Diet Weight LossWhen you are ‘in ketosis’ your body is using fat as its main source of energy. Getting into the state of ketosis takes different amounts of time for different people.  A lot depends on their current lifestyle and dietary habits. People who generally follow a clean diet can flip into ketosis in a few days, whereas people who have been used to eating a lot of processed sugar foods may take weeks to get there. Being in ketosis is a perfectly normal metabolic state. It is, in fact, the body’s preferred fuel source. As an example of the superiority of ketones over glucose as a fuel source, consider the Inuit people of northern Alaska . . . In 1879, Frederick Schwatka, a US Army lieutenant, doctor and lawyer, embarked on an Arctic expedition to look for records left by two Royal Navy ships that were lost in 1845. Schwatka began his journal in April, 1879 with eighteen people, including several Inuit families, enough stored food for them for one month and ample amounts of bunting equipment. He quickly learned that, after a period of adaptation, consuming an Inuit diet with plenty of animal fat would sustain him, even during hours of strenuous walking. This was one of the first understandings of keto-adaptation. Today, the process of switching from a sugar burning to a fat burning state is known as the Schwatka Imperative. Ketones bodies are actually the preferred energy source of the heart and can be used as efficiently as glucose by the brain. There is now a growing body of research supporting the beneficial effects of being in ketosis on aging, inflammation, metabolism, cognition and athletic performance. Yet, those health benefits are not the main reason that most people want to get into ketosis. They do it to lose body fat.

Keto Pros

#1. Fat Loss

Ketosis is a fantastic way to lose fat. In fact, the production of ketones is actually a by-product of fat burning. The energy you produce in ketosis comes from both the fat that is stored on your body and the fat that you consume in your diet. Compare this to a high carb diet where the food you eat gets stored as fat!

#2. Losing Weight

When you go on the ketogenic diet you are going to lose weight in the form of body fat. This will occur as a result of your depriving the body of carbohydrates. Without the glucose that comes from carbs, the body will have to burn stored body fat in order to provide the fuel to supply the energy that you need to function. That means that you will be burning fat, not just when you exercise, but 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

keto weight loss diet

#3. More Efficient Kidneys

When you follow a conventional eating pattern, the sodium that you are putting into your body gets held onto by the body. This puts pressure on the kidneys. You won’t be able to urinate as frequently as you need to. Your body will also hang onto waste products rather than eliminating them.

But when you begin to follow a keto diet, suddenly your kidneys will begin to work more efficiently. The stored up toxins that are clogging up your body will be removed and this, in itself, will cause you to lose weight.

#4. Treating Type 2 Diabetes

People who are Type 2 diabetics no longer have any sensitivity to insulin. As a result, their cells will only absorb the carbohydrates that insulin commands it to absorb.

This happens because people have been overeating simple, sugar filed carbs for too long. As a result, your cells do not react normally to insulin.

When you go keto, you cut out sugar. Instead, your blood stream gets filled with ketones. These are a different, better and efficient form of energy. This will also reverse your insulin sensitivity.

The keto diet is not recommended for those who are diabetic. But it is recommended for those who are pre-diabetic. The reason for this is that people who have got full diabetes will make too many ketones. They will get into a state of diabetic acidosis. This is not a good thing.

However, people who are in a pre-diabetic state will be able to reverse insulin sensitivity if they go on a ketogenic diet.

#5. Cancer Treatment

The keto diet is giving a lot of hope to cancer researchers. We know that cancerous cells feed off sugar. So, when you starve the body of sugar, you also deprive your body’s cancer cells of an energy source. The consequence of this is that the cancer cells will die, leading to a lowering of the cancer risk.

#6. Combatting Neurological Diseases

The keto diet has proven to provide some pretty impressive cognitive benefits. Studies suggest that it can effectively combat such neurological diseases as . . .

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Dementia

One of the key reasons that the keto diet is so good in this regard is because it helps to reduce oxidative stress. When you produce more ketones and less glucose, our bodies experience less oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is bad for our brain health and produces inflammation.

The keto diet is also believed to cause the mitochondria within the cells to work more effectively. The lowered levels of sugar help to rebalance mitochondrial activity.

#7. Appetite Suppressant

When you are on the keto diet, you will feel less hungry across the day. High glycemic level carbs that are filled with sugar do not fill you up. In contrast, both protein and fats have both been shown to have a high satiety effect. The bottom line is that you will eat fewer calories when you go keto!

#8. Losing Visceral Body Fat

visceral body fat

When you go keto, you’ll be losing body fat from all over your body. That includes losing visceral body fat. Visceral fat is the fat that surrounds your bodily organs. This makes it difficult for those organs to function properly.

Visceral fat releases signals that will cause major problems with your digestive and metabolic systems. This subversive type of fat releases abnormal signals into the bloodstream that are only going to make you less healthy.

Here is what too much visceral body fat will do to your body . . .

  • Abnormal insulin response
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Heart Disease
  • Dementia
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Colon Cancer
  • Celiac Disease

When visceral body fat surrounds your muscles and liver, they will respond less efficiently to insulin. This causes the pancreas to release more insulin in order to get the blood glucose into the cells. But this overdose of glucose and insulin only causes more visceral body fat to build up around the organs.

When you switch to the keto diet, you will not have to worry about the buildup of visceral body fat. In fact, you will steadily be getting rid of the visceral fat that has already accumulated around your organs.

#9. Reduces Triglycerides

One of the many consequences of eating a high sugar carb diet is that your triglycerides levels will shoot up. This is bad news for your cardiovascular health. A lot of the triglycerides that people consume are as a result of the ingestion of high fructose corn syrup. When you follow a keto diet, however, you won’t be consuming any high fructose corn syrup and tour triglyceride levels will go way down.

#10. Increases Good Cholesterol

There are two types of cholesterol in your body:HDL and LDL. HDL, od high density lipoproteins are good for you, whereas LDL, or low density lipoproteins are a problem. Both types of cholesterol act like mini Ubers, moving the cholesterol around your body, But, while LDL cholesterol takes the cholesterol to your organs, HDL transports it away from then and delivers it to your liver where it is either converted into energy or excreted.

The best way to get more HDL cholesterol into your body is to eat a high fat diet, which is precisely what the keto diet advocates.

#11. Fights Metabolic Syndrome

The keto diet fights metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a collective term for the following symptoms:

  • Abdominal obesity
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sugar levels
  • Elevated triglycerides
  • Low HDL

When you go keto, you will find improvement in all of these areas.

#12. Provides More Energy

The ketogenic diet will provide you with a far more abundant and efficient source of energy. You will thus be able to overcome fatigue, have more clarity, and feel more alive. You’ll also be more energized for your workouts. When you adopt a keto lifestyle you will even sleep more soundly!

Keto Cons

#1. Keto Flu

When you get started on the keto diet, you are making a huge and fundamental change in how your body works. You’ll be switching your entire energy system from a glucose based to a ketone based energy system.

Carbohydrates are addictive. Pulling away from them is hard work. One of the most common bodily reaction to this transition is called the keto flu.

The symptoms of keto flu are . . .

  • Fatigue
  • Sugar cravings
  • Nausea
  • Stomach upset
  • Dizziness
  • Lack of mental clarity

It’ called the keto flu because it mimics the effects of the actual flu. It is certainly not a pleasant experience. However, the keto flu is a temporary experience. How long people stay in the keto flu state varies but, for most people, it will be gone after a couple of weeks.

Keep in mind that your body is going through an amazing change. But once you get through the transition phase you will have achieved something special. You will have converted yourself into a fat burning furnace.

Persevere among your keto flu symptoms will soon be a thing of the past!

In order to alleviate the effects of the keto flu, you should take electrolytes.

The three key electrolytes are . . .

  • Sodium
  • Magnesium
  • Potassium

#2. Keto Breath

keto bad breathKeto breath is an unpleasant odor that is breathed out by people when they are in a state of ketosis. Its effects differ from person to person. Generally, the smell is fruity and acidic. It may also produce a metallic taste in the mouth.

Some people do not have keto breath at all, despite being in a state of ketosis. For others, it only occurs during the initial transition to keto. Still others have to contend with bad breath for as long as they remain in keto.

#3. Transitional Energy Loss

As previously mentioned, the switch to keto is major change that your body is undertaking. During the transition period there is going to be a period when you’re not feeling on top of the world. During that period, it is not unusual for your energy levels to actually take a dip.

This energy drop can make it very difficult for a person who has a regular workout schedule to maintain your program. That is why it is a good idea to time your transition to keto at the end of a training cycle when you can take a couple of weeks off before heading into your next cycle.

You can read about more pros and cons in our article comparing Keto vs Atkins.

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