Why the W


hen it comes to proper weight loss and diet, it isn’t always one-size-fits-all, but some diets tend to be more drastic than others. Take, for instance, the currently

trending Keto, or ketogenic, diet. Meant to get the body into a state of ketosis and release ketones, molecules that store fat, the ketogenic is nothing new, but it is the latest fad. The biggest question is, is it healthy and safe?

What is the Ketogenic Diet? The ketogenic is a high fat and protein, low carbohydrate

diet. The ketogenic diet requires 20 grams or less of carbohydrates per day. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends that 45 to 65 percent of your daily calories be from carbs. For ex- ample, a 2,000 calorie daily intake would require 900-1,300 calories to be from carbohydrates, roughly 225-325 grams. For a person trying to lose weight, they would simply need to focus on the source of carbohydrates. Since carbs can come from sugar, starch, and fiber, it’s important to stick to the healthy, complex carbs such as starches and fiber.

Why are Carbs Important? Many healthy foods have carbohydrates, including vegeta-

bles, fruits, whole grains, legumes, and dairy products. Carbs are vital to the body’s overall health. They provide the body with energy, protect against disease, and help maintain weight. Carbohydrates are broken down in the body and absorbed into the blood stream where they become blood glucose (or blood sugar). When glucose enters the blood cells, it is used for energy to help with activities such as exercise or simply breath- ing. Any extra glucose is stored in your liver, muscles, and cells and is turned into fat. This is where it’s important to keep active and exercise so that the body uses most of this glucose. Fiber is especially important to helping prevent type 2 dia-

betes and protect against weight gain. However, fiber contains carbohydrates, so these nutrients become extremely limited on the keto diet. Vegetables and fruits alike contain fiber and car- bohydrates, as well as numerous other vitamins and minerals that are important for fueling the body and protecting against disease.

What are the Dangers of Going Low-Carb? Researching the Internet brings about multiple benefits of the keto diet. Granted there are a few (coming up next), but what about possible risks or side effects? Aside from feeling overly hungry and the diet being tough to stick with, multiple people


Isn’t Always Healthy

complained about feeling sick and experiencing flu-like symp- toms. This was such a common side effect that they created a name for it: the keto flu. Due to the slash in carbohydrates, the body sheds water weight at lightening speed, which can lead to dehydration. This tends to worsen any keto flu symptoms. Other risks include vitamin and mineral deficiencies, kidney

stones, decreased bone density, constipation, and gastrointestinal distress. When the body is deprived of necessary food groups (macronutrients like proteins, carbs, and fats), it experiences nutritional deficiencies that can lead to a multitude of other health issues. A restrictive diet is not a healthy one and can even lead to binging later because the body feels so deprived. There have also been risks involved on high-fat diets (such as the ketogenic diet) that include an increase in trans and satu- rated fats (unhealthy fats), an increase in bad cholesterol, and increased heart disease.

Are there Benefits to the Keto Diet? As with any restrictive diet, the ketogenic diet will cause the

body to lose weight, mostly due to the shedding of water and restriction. The largest linked benefit of the ketogenic diet is the impact it has had in epileptic children. Doctors have used this as a way to help reduce epileptic seizures in children since the 1920s. Aside from this, very little study has been performed on the keto diet as a means to health.

What are some Safe Alternatives to the Ketogenic Diet? As with any diet or exercise program, consult a doctor before

beginning. The safest alternative to the ketogenic diet is to eat a whole, balanced diet of complex carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. Think about color in terms of eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Try to stay away from eating processed food or refined sugars such as cookies, cakes, and white breads. These contain simple carbs that run straight through the body and spike blood sugar, but contain no real nutritional value. These foods are considered empty calories. Some individuals may require low carb diets for health rea-

sons, but that is at the discretion of a doctor. Eliminating a food group and restricting the body without consulting a professional can have a negative impact on the body and lead to future dif- ficulties.

Submitted by Faith Engen Ellis, Ladies, Lattes, and Lifting, Reids- ville, NC. For more information, call 336.344.1884 or visit la-

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