What's the keto diet? In a nutshell, it's a low-carb, high-fat way of eating that shares many similarities to the Atkins and other low carb diets. The ketogenic diet is meant to force your body into fat burning mode instead of glucose burning mode. This means you'll be eating foods with fewer carbs but more fats than what you're probably used to. Fatty foods like nuts, olive oil, and avocado are encouraged on this plan as well as leafy greens like spinach or kale for veggies! There are so many benefits to this way of eating. But, there will also be some side effects that should be brought to light prior to deciding to go on such a big lifestyle change.
The Keto diet is a low carb, high-fat way of eating. It focuses on real whole foods like meats and veggies instead of processed or packaged items that may come with hidden sugars or carbs. This helps your body enter into a fat burning mode called ketosis (a state when the liver converts stored fats into fatty acids for energy).
What are some benefits? There are many benefits to this new lifestyle change! Ketogenic diets have been used since the 1920s as an effective treatment option for epilepsy in children who do not respond well to medication. The positive effects were also noticed among patients suffering from obesity but it wasn't until recently that people realized there were other health related pros too! One major benefit would be weight loss due to decreased hunger, ravings, and a suppressed appetite.
Another great benefit would be increased fat burning! When your body enters ketosis it starts to burn the stored fats in the liver for energy instead of carbs (which is what our bodies normally run on). This can help you lose weight without having to restrict calories or do excessive amounts of exercise each day. It's really amazing how quickly this diet works when put into practice correctly! Plus, with an increase in fiber intake from leafy greens like spinach and kale there will also likely be improved digestive health too since these veggies are high in prebiotics which feed healthy gut bacteria.
The most important thing about starting out on this new way of eating is to make sure you are getting enough fat! This doesn't mean eating unhealthy saturated fats, but incorporating healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats into your diet. Good sources of healthy fats include olive oil, nuts, seeds, fatty fish like salmon or trout, and avocado. You'll also want to load up on low-carb veggies like broccoli, kale, spinach, cucumber and tomatoes. And lastly, eat moderate amounts of protein preferably from grass fed animals or wild caught seafood.
What about dairy? Dairy is allowed on the keto diet in moderation provided it fits within your allotted daily carb limit. Choose full-fat dairy items whenever possible over their lower-fat counterparts as they tend to be more nutrient dense and calorie sparse.
What are the side effects of ketosis? The positive effects sound great but what about some of these negative ones?! There will be a period during which you may feel very tired and even experience bad breath due to acetone (a by-product of burning fat). You might also notice an increase in appetite along with fatigue, nausea and mental fog. This is just your body's way of getting used to this new way of eating so don't get discouraged! Just know that it won't last forever!
Is Keto safe for women? Women aren't excluded from this type of dieting although there may be certain things they should keep in mind when switching over to burning fat for fuel instead of carbs, like hormone changes or fertility issues. Some studies have shown that high-fat diets tend to lower the levels of estrogen in women. If you are on any type of birth control make sure your doctor knows about this diet and what changes it may cause for your hormone levels!
Can I Keto if I have PCOS? Many people with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome or PCOS can benefit from a ketogenic lifestyle change because they often struggle with insulin resistance which leads to sugar cravings, fatigue, mood swings and weight gain. All these things can be improved by following a keto-friendly plan so definitely talk to your doctor about adapting this way of eating into your daily routine! There are actually still a few other ominous options...
What is "keto breath"? Ketosis can also give off an unpleasant odor to our sweat glands known as acetone or nail polish remover breath. This is nothing to worry about and will likely go away within a few weeks of starting keto.
Another thing you may want to watch out for is what's known as "keto crotch"! Basically, this is an increase in vaginal odor due to the increase in fatty acids and changes in vaginal pH levels that can come with ketosis. This vaginal odor may not always have to do only with your diet. Vaginal odors are also a sign of extreme jumps or drops in vaginal pH, becoming harmful. All pH levels in your body are important however, vaginal pH can have something to do with bacterial vaginosis! Bacterial vaginosis is a vaginal infection causing inflammation of the vagina, usually sprouting from the overgrowth of bacteria in its biome. While bacterial vaginosis has been linked to a ketogenic diet, it has shown up even in a normal diet. Again, this is usually temporary but if it becomes bothersome it might be time to introduce a low carb diet into your lifestyle!
Finally, Keto Flu is another possible side effect of starting the keto diet. Keto Flu is a condition that causes flu-like symptoms such as nausea, headache, fatigue and dizziness. This is usually caused by the body's adjustment to a new way of eating so it's important to be patient and drink plenty of fluids! Other symptoms can be similar to those of high blood pressure, kidney stones, and even heart disease! And in this case, these health conditions could be the effect of your ketogenic diet! When on a diet high in fat, cholesterol levels go up dramatically. Other diets have their own issues however the keto diet is linked to issues most similar to these.
All these things considered, it's up to you to decide whether the health benefits outweigh the cons when it comes to following a ketogenic diet! Just remember that everyone is different and what works for one person might not work for another so it's important to experiment a bit to see what makes you feel your best! If you have any questions or concerns about your situation and the Keto diet, please consult your doctor before making any decisions. Thank you for reading!