The ketogenic diet – who is it good for?

As with any single phenomena, there is no such thing as an absolutely good or bad diet. This article will briefly outline what is the katogenic diet. However, its central goal is to diagnose who may substantially benefit from the katogenic diet and who should avoid it totally, and why.

The keto diet revolves around eating foods that are high in natural fats, consuming only moderate protein and severely restricting the number of carbs eaten each day.

Here’s how it works:

  1. Consumption of glucose from carbohydrate foods — grains, starchy vegetables, fruit, etc. — is cut way down.
  2. This forces your body to use fat as an alternative fuel source (e.g. avocados, coconut oil, and salmon).
  3. In the absence of glucose, the body starts to burn fat and produces ketones instead.
  4. Once ketone levels in the blood rise to a certain point, you enter into a state of ketosis.
  5. This state results in quick and consistent weight loss until you reach a healthy, stable body weight.

The benefits of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Weight loss
  2. Reduced hunger and cravings
  3. Potentially improved energy, concentration and mental performance
  4. Improvement in blood sugar control & heart health
  5. Reduced risk for other chronic diseases, especially neurological

How does ketosis feel initially?

While entering into ketosis it’s common to notice certain signs and symptoms of your body changing. These have been nicknamed by some “the keto flu.” Implementing the ketogenic diet can be challenging at first, commonly causing some side effects that can last for a few days up to a few weeks. Symptoms usually decrease as your body gets more accustomed to being in ketosis, but in the meantime you might find that you experience:

  • Feeling tired and having low energy despite sleeping well
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Increased cravings, especially for carbs or sugar
  • Digestive issues like constipation or bloating
  • Feeling weaker during workouts and not recovering well
  • Being more moody or irritable
  • Headaches
  • Losing libido
  • Bad breath

Precautions: Potential Side Effects and downsides of Ketosis

Before starting the ketogenic diet, it’s always best to consult with your physician if you have a history of existing health conditions including diabetes, kidney disease or damage, heart problems, a hormonal imbalance, or history with an eating disorder.

Electrolyte imbalances can also be common if keto followers aren’t aware of hydration needs. Imbalanced electrolytes can lead to muscle cramps, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, cognitive distortions, and lack of body temperature control.

Ketosis can results in what is called a hungry brain. You experience slower cognition, memory loss, headaches, and confusion.Also, those who suffer from depression and anxiety may have higher levels of those periods when not eating carbs on a regular basis.The keto diet might not be the best choice for those with mental health issues.

On a ketogenic diet, your intake of fruits and vegetables is extremely limited. That’s one of the reasons keto is usually pretty low in fiber, which isn’t so great long-term. Fiber is protective against gastrointestinal cancers. Furthermore, constipation is very common on low-fiber diets like the keto diet.

Keto is pretty much a no-go for those who are prone to disordered eating. Being on such a restrictive diet can quickly turn obsessive and if you’re prone to disordered eating, this can be even more dangerous.This applies to any eating style that restricts an entire food group.

Most people who wind up trying a ketogenic diet and then deciding not to continue do so, is because of the emotional and lifestyle consequences. People miss eating carbohydrates. That doesn’t mean that you should be eating pizza or cupcakes every day, but what about having a sweet potato with a meal, or beans in a chili? or fresh watermelon in the summer?Food plays much more than just a physical role in our lives and having such restrictions on the types of foods you can and can’t eat can really take a toll. It might be easy in the short-term to go for carb-free foods but at a certain point, the thought of not being able to eat your favorite foods again can become daunting.Having to plan and control what you are eating so closely may lead to increased anxiety and stress. And who doesn’t want to enjoy a beer with a friend or a piece of cake on your birthday? As you probably know, emotional well-being and physical health are closely linked, which is all the more reason to choose foods that make you feel good both mentally and physically.

Achieving balance with the ketogenic diet

Trying to analyze the impact of the ketogenic diet using the basic qualities of the universal attributes, it appears that the ketogenic diet has a warming, lightening, oiling and contracting effect. These qualities define the Ayurvedic Pitta dosha, which is synonymous with metabolism and the role of the Fire Element in our body.

As such, it is easier to define for whom this diet will be beneficial.

The keto diet tends to create a state of contraction, heat and acidity. It is most appropriate for overweight individuals who have a very slow metabolism, which suffer from cold, do not digest carbs well or gain weight almost instantly with eating carbs. In short, it is a good option for overweight Kapha people who are heavy, cold and wet, and have a tendency to gain weight very easily and just can’t seem to lose weight at all. This diet creates a lot of heat in the body and can jump start metabolism into high speed resulting in contraction of tissues. In this sense, the ketogenic diet is truly healing and may be regarded as a medical diet.

The best use for the Ketogenic diet would be for igniting a weight loss process in individuals who are stuck with excess weight no matter how much they exercise and how well they pay attention to eating a balanced diet.

Once weight has been brought down and under control, thoughts for modifying the diet should be taken under consideration, to minimize risks and different potential downsides as stated above.

For people whose metabolism copes well with eating a lot of fats and animal protein, the weight continues to drop and the diet is effective. Some people will feel very energetic at first, but with time overly contracted, stiff, dehydrated and stressed. Other people will feel burdened by the digestion of a high fat and animal protein diet that will result in tiredness, lethargy and heaviness.

The long-term shortage of carbohydrates may eventually cause a rebound craving for carbs in the form of bread or any type of sugar. In the extreme people may binge out of control on carbs, or substitute carbs with alcohol.

It has been argued that the keto diet is also appropriate for individuals who are not extremely overweight. If you don’t have much weight to lose, the keto diet should not be your first option, since it is extreme, for better and worse. Balance is much easier achieved and maintained by using moderate methods and tactics.

This type of diet is not recommended for hot climates or people with a hot temperament or for people living a sedentary life style, since all that fat and protein needs plenty of circulation to metabolize well.

People who should avoid the ketogenic diet

Unless you are substantially over weight and fitting the description above, the keto diet is not recommended. Any other health goal which is possibly attainable by the ketogenic diet is better sought out by other nutritional approaches and practices. When weight is not the issue, improving alertness, cognitive abilities, energy levels, concentration, blood sugar and others is better approached with lees extreme actions.

Ultimately, carbs are not the enemy!

Carbohydrates have an essential and crucial role in both physiology and mental aspects of health. For many overweight strugglers, choosing the right carbs can make all the difference. Consuming only grains in the form of granules, and refraining totally from all simple sugars and flour products is many times good enough. Grains such as brown rice and grey barley grits breakdown gradually and create a mild blood glucose increase which benefits energy levels, concentration, stamina and a stable mood. Other more protein rich grains such as buckwheat and quinoa digest easily and keep the body light. So keeping these carbs in the diet is often the best solution for losing weight gradually but finding it easier to maintain the weight over time.


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