Social media has become a prime avenue for healthcare content and advice, especially among millennials. Dieting and nutrition, in particular, are among the top trending subjects. In fact, a recent survey of 1300 dietitians conducted by the Pollock Communications Network and Today’s Dietitian showed that the keto diet is now the most popular among consumers. This should come as no surprise considering the level of buzz around it online. It’s been adopted and promoted by celebrities including LeBron James, Tim Tebow, Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian. Keto diet is on the rise among the rest of us as well.
So is it as healthy and beneficial as most of us think? Below is a deep dive on the matter.
What is keto?
Keto or the ketogenic diet emphasizes an abundance of healthy fats, a proper amount of protein and low carbs, according to Dr. Eric Berg, a renowned keto expert. It was initially created to help people with epilepsy control their symptoms. Keto has also been determined to be a great option for people with type 2 diabetes. Today, many people use the diet for weight loss and as part of their overall fitness plans.
“Keto works by helping dieters move their bodies into a state of ketosis. This is a natural, metabolic process that occurs when the body doesn’t have glucose to burn for energy. Instead, it consumes its own fat stores,” said Dr. Berg.
What are the benefits of keto?
The keto diet is popular for good reason. People who follow it are often very pleasantly surprised by the results they get. This includes:
- Better skin: Studies have shown that keto stabilizes blood sugar and improves gut bacteria. This can reduce acne and other skin problems.
- Improved heart health: Diets in healthy fats are high in the fatty acids needed for improved heart health.
- Seizure reduction: People who have epilepsy are often instructed to follow this high fat diet. By maintaining a state of ketosis, they can reduce the frequency of their seizures.
- Weight loss: This is probably the key reason for keto’s popularity. Simply put, your body works harder to burn fat as fuel than glucose. This leads to faster weight loss for many.
- Satiety: Because the keto diet emphasizes fats and proteins, it’s a very satisfying diet. Followers feel fuller longer and many of the foods that fall within the diet’s guidelines are quite tasty and indulgent.
- Reduced cancer risk: A recent study indicates that the ketogenic diet can complement traditional cancer treatments to help patients obtain better end results.
- Better cognitive function: This is an area where more study is required, but it appears as if the keto diet may have beneficial or preventative effects on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. It may also lead to improved cognitive function and better alertness.
- Blood sugar regulation: This high fat, low carb diet has proven time and time again to benefit people with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Berg adds that “When used correctly, the ketogenic diet can be used as a tool for people who want to optimize their health. I’ve witnessed patients lose weight, enjoy higher energy levels and eliminate many health problems. Combined with exercise and healthy eating patterns, keto is truly life changing.”
Most recently, the keto diet also gained the attention of health officials in the United States. They will be updating national dietary guidelines in 2020 to include low carb diets like keto.
Are there any drawbacks that stay behind the scenes?
There are potential issues with any diet or lifestyle that are less popularized on social media. Keto can cause some complications in people who have type 1 diabetes. It’s also not recommended for individuals with eating disorders, unless advised by their Doctor. However, the Keto Diet can benefit women with Hormonal issues, including Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
With keto, the primary concern is one of education. “Before they take on this diet, it’s imperative that people understand exactly how keto works,” said Dr. Berg. “They must learn how to maintain a healthy diet within the plan that meets their nutritional needs. Any healthy diet plan will include exercise, eating the right amount of food and making other lifestyle changes. Many of the negative outcomes people attribute to keto are actually a result of misunderstanding the principles of the diet itself.”
The ketogenic diet represents a shift from decades of traditional dietary advice. So many people are regaining their health, maintaining healthy weight and getting relief from chronic health problems. It’s clear that this is no longer a fad diet and it’s finally getting the attention it deserves.