The keto diet is one of the most popular and practised diets around the world. It is known for its great effects on weight loss, healthy weight maintenance as well as preventing certain diseases and illnesses such as Alzheimers, Epilepsy, diabetes and even cancer.
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Though the keto diet may be effective for some, it isn’t for the faint of heart. Most people who try the diet may fail, and those who succeed in it and obtain results will have their fair share of stumbling blocks along the way.
The keto diet is one that takes great discipline as well as the ability for the body and mind to endure the tough times and effects of such a dietary change. So before you start a keto diet or any diet that requires drastic changes, learn about it first and see if it fits in with you.
What is Keto Diet
A keto diet is one where you drop your carbohydrate intake significantly and replace it for protein and fats. Similar to the Adkins diet, the keto diet requires you to have extremely minimal carbohydrates but a high intake of fat.
Protein can stay at a moderate intake. A typical keto diet has an international standard of 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. After staying on this diet for a long time, the body will reach a metabolic state called ketosis, hence the name.
The purpose of the keto diet is to get your metabolism firing on all cylinders, making the body extremely efficient and effective in burning fat while retaining muscle and overall general health. When the body has a fast metabolism, it becomes easier to shed away stubborn fat, even without exercise.
However, do keep in mind that the type of fat in a keto diet is important. Saturated fats from processed and junk foods can give you the opposite effect. Its good to stick with healthy fats that are beneficial for the heart.
Typical Side Effects of Keto Diet
1. The keto flu
As the body is trying to adapt to its sudden low carb state, the body is forced to burn ketones for energy instead of glucose. Though the diet is working, people will experience, lightheadedness, headaches, weakness, constipation, pain in joints as well as fatigue.
More inexperienced people may suffer from nausea or vomiting. If you ever experience the last two, then the keto diet may not be for you.
2. Yo-yo dieting patterns
The keto diet is not one that you can settle into quickly, nor will it be smooth. Most people who pick up the keto diet, particularly the inexperienced ones will end up having yo-yo diets.
This is where they go through phases of sticking to a certain diet, then going back to old eating habits and repeating the cycle continuously. Not only does this make the diet ineffective, but it can leave you feeling mentally drained.
3. Damage to the kidney and heart
As the body is low on electrolytes and fluid, this can lead to acute kidney injury as well as heart problems. The kidney needs electrolytes such as sodium, magnesium, and potassium to stay strong. These are all electrolytes that can be found in carbohydrates.
No matter what type of diet you are on, if your carbohydrate intake is low, you will feel weak. Especially on a keto diet where carbohydrates are virtually non-existent, your energy levels will be very low throughout the day, no matter how much you eat.
Carbohydrates are a natural form of sugar and glucose that are important for fueling the body. You will feel weak and tired as well as fatigued very easily.
There are important nutrients in carbohydrate foods that cannot be replaced in fat or protein food sources. Important foods such as vegetables, fruits and grains must be extremely minimal on a keto diet.
And not having these foods available can lead to malnutrition which opens up the door to many other serious health complications.
When to See a Doctor?
Before considering taking up a diet or making changes to your eating habits, identify what you’re trying to achieve, and what your options are. The keto diet is one of many diets that are taking the mainstream world by storm. But not all diets work for all people.
Things such as will power, expectations, experience, and personal health conditions need to be taken into consideration when choosing a diet. If you have never dieted before, unsure of how to approach or begin a diet, or more importantly have a persistent health condition, speak with your doctor on the best course of action and what is the most suitable approach for you.
If you experience any of these symptoms during your diet process, it’s important to tone it down and focus on eating healthy nutrients as opposed to manipulating your macronutrients. If the above side effects persist after the diet or become more and more severe over time, stop the diet immediately and speak with a doctor.
Head over to the Okadoc app to immediately book an appointment with your health practitioner.
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