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Ketogenic Diet: Benefits, Drawbacks, Effectiveness

Keto diet is a popular trend for people who want to have a slim figure. However, experts tirelessly repeat that no diet can be considered an alternative to healthy food.

Is the keto diet an exception?

Can it hurt and where did it come from?

Let’s find out.

cooked food

What is the keto diet?

If you have gained a few pounds and decided to lose weight, then on the Internet you will definitely find a mention of this diet.

The point of this diet is to consume foods high in fat and protein, and not to eat more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. 50 grams of carbohydrates is about 4 slices of bread.

Unlike other popular protein diets, such as the Atkins diet, the keto diet does not focus on proteins but on fats. Proponents of this diet believe that with such a diet the body will expend energy by burning its own fat.

woman using body tape measure while measuring her waist

Products recommended on the keto diet:

  • eggs;
  • poultry meat (chicken, turkey);
  • fatty fish (herring, salmon, mackerel);
  • meat (beef, pork, etc.);
  • fatty dairy products (yogurt, sour cream, cheese, butter, cream);
  • nuts and seeds (macadamia nuts, almonds, walnuts, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, etc.);
  • avocado;
  • non-starchy vegetables (greens, broccoli, tomatoes, mushrooms);
  • fats (olive oil, avocado oil, coke oil, etc.).

Products to avoid:

  • bread and pastries;
  • sweet drinks and sugar;
  • pasta;
  • cereals (rice, oatmeal, wheat, etc.);
  • starchy vegetables (potatoes, pumpkin, corn, peas);
  • legumes (beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.);
  • fruits (citrus, bananas, grapes, pineapples, etc.);
  • some alcoholic beverages (beer and alcoholic beverages with sugar content).
  • Although many fruits are forbidden, you can entertain yourself with a small amount of berries.

There are the following types of keto diet:

Cyclic keto diet. This is a type of keto diet for those who exercise regularly. 5-6 days a week a person follows a traditional low-carbohydrate keto diet, and 1-2 days consumes food with a higher carbohydrate content (up to 150 grams of carbohydrates per day).

Targeted keto diet. This type of diet is similar to a cyclic one, but the fact is that the amount of carbohydrates increases on those days when a person has intense physical activity.

The diet menu sounds appetizing and the temptation to try this style of eating can be great. However, there is one thing that is important to know about this diet: it was not created to lose weight, it is prescribed as a part of treatment. In particular, doctors recommend it to children who don’t respond to treatment with antiepileptic drugs.

It is prescribed for such serious genetic diseases as infantile spasms, Drave, Rett and Duze syndromes, de Vivo disease, etc.

There is also evidence that the keto diet may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. However, the National Health Service of the United Kingdom (NHS) emphasizes that if you have type 2 diabetes and you decide to try this diet, it is important to consult a doctor, because not for all people with type 2 diabetes this type of diet can be useful.

This diet is strictly contraindicated for people with type 1 diabetes. For those with low insulin, diet may impair its functions due to the accumulation of ketones.

silver fork and knife on plate

Benefits and drawbacks of keto diet

This diet carries the following risks:

Lack of nutrients. If you do not eat enough fruits, vegetables, and cereals, you may lack important substances such as magnesium, phosphorus, vitamins B and C, etc.

Liver problems. If you have liver problems, then a lot of fat can make these problems worse.

Kidney problems. The kidneys help the body process proteins. A diet like this one can overload them. Currently, doctors recommend that women consume no more than 46 grams of protein per day, and men – 56 grams. On a keto diet, a person consumes 74 grams of protein daily.

A difficulty of thinking and mood swings. In order for the brain to function effectively, it needs sugar from useful carbohydrates. And a low-carb diet can be irritating and difficult to do mentally.

Fans of the keto diet can be divided into two types:

  • those who follow this diet for a short period of time,
  • those who support a lifestyle based on it.

The latter one is dangerous to our health. If we follow this diet for a long time, we risk getting a serious imbalance of vitamins and minerals. For a short period of time, this diet can be useful for improving carbohydrate metabolism, rapid weight loss.

person eating vegetable salad


Before going on this diet, it is necessary to consult a doctor, check kidney and liver function. Also, remember that there are studies that have shown that a diet high in fat has a bad effect on life expectancy, says the doctor.

So, like any diet, “keto” is not a miracle, but a style of eating that requires medical supervision and a balanced approach.