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Everyone’s on the Keto Diet But It Doesn’t Mean You Should Be, Too

These days, it seems that there is a new diet craze being introduced every fortnight, and it is getting really hard to keep up. Lately, everyone has been talking about the ketogenic diet, simply called “keto.” Right now, it looks like it is having more than just a moment as it seems to be spawning a revolution of sorts among the health conscious and the fitness buffs. This is not surprising at all at it is enthusiastically touted by celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Tim Tebow. Even Lebron James swears by it.

Celebrity endorsements aside, the keto diet’s popularity can also be attributed to its methods. Health experts have been marketing it as a way to “reset” or “detox” the body by replacing carbs—typically, the body’s go-to energy source—with fats. This essentially means that those on the keto diet have the freedom to consume copious amounts of bacon, cheese, butter, mayonnaise, and the like—all the good stuff that used to be anathema to the dedicated calorie counter.

Indeed, it sounds too good to be true, though its fans and proponents would insist otherwise. So what’s the honest truth behind keto?

How to keto

Like we’ve mentioned, keto advocates consuming copious amounts of fat as an energy source in place of carbohydrates—80 percent of one’s daily diet, in fact. Keto staples include oil, dairy, eggs, fish, and meat while grains like rice, pasta, and bread, as well as potatoes, are prohibited. And like most diets, green vegetables are, of course, part of the menu.

Typically, our body breaks down carbohydrates during digestion and turns it into energy. Keto works on the premise that because carbs are banned, the body has no choice but to look for other sources of energy. This process is known as ketosis, a state wherein cells release fat which turns into ketones. This, then, becomes the body’s energy source.

Apparently, keto is not at all a newfangled thing, but rather, one that has been around for about a century as a treatment for epilepsy. Back in the 1920s, it was found that high levels of ketones reduced seizures among epileptic patients. Not only that, there has also been some evidence that it can potentially cure a wide variety of diseases, including diabetes and cancer.

What to expect from keto

Now, getting into a state of ketosis is actually as large an undertaking for the body as it sounds. It goes without saying that it will be completely hellish at the start. Those on keto have reported symptoms like fatigue, nausea, headaches, brain fog, and even odorous breath, urine, and sweat. If you are also working out while on the keto diet, you will likely find that you are unable to cope with your regular exercise routine.

Experts say this discomfort is completely normal as the body is not used to the new energy source and is still adjusting. However, these symptoms are meant to alleviate overtime. In fact, proponents claim that brain activity is greatly enhanced as the body gets used to running on ketones alone.

Is keto safe?

This is, of course, the million-dollar question. There have been numerous arguments on the safety of keto, as well as the lack of it. When pitted against other fad diets, keto actually does not have a very good track record and seems like a very bad idea. This is because it is much too restrictive; therefore, interfering with the dieter’s relationship with food. However, there are also those who would point out that its high-fat focus actually leaves the dieter feeling more sated.

From a weight loss perspective, keto does seem to work—for the first few weeks, at least. This is when the body’s carb stores are being depleted, which, in turn, drops the water weight that goes with it. However, some research has shown that this kind of weight loss is not sustainable in the long run.

Indeed, like all diets, keto does have its own set of pros and cons and works differently among different people. It is truly important not to just take the word of celebrities as gospel, but rather, consult your doctor to find out how it could possibly affect you. It goes without saying that when it comes to your health, you really shouldn’t take any chances—even if Lebron James says so.

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