As the fitness and nutrition industries have grown, so have the number of hot and trendy diets. The ketogenic diet is one of those diets, and it has grown so much in popularity that many companies have begun marketing and manufacturing products that are deemed to be keto friendly. Due to this many people are left wondering, “Should I start a keto diet?” or, “What does keto even mean?” and that is where I come in to help shed some light on this hot topic. The general idea of a keto diet is to consume very low carbohydrates while consuming a high amount of fat. At first glance it sounds fairly simple, but it definitely is not.
Carbohydrates includes any type of bread, grain, or sugar; so pretty much everything that we all enjoy eating (often times in excess). By avoiding these carbs and maintaining a diet high in fat, your body enters the golden state of ketosis that all keto dieters are after. Once in this metabolic state of ketosis, your body will convert from burning carbs for energy to burning fat for energy instead.
This diet is proven to work if you are trying to lose a couple pounds, but it can be very hard to maintain for long periods of time due to how unpractical it is. Referencing an experiment done by Sarah Deemer and her associates published recently in February of 2020, weight loss as a result of a keto diet can be achieved rather quickly as seen in the attached graph.
Approaching week 9 the subjects experienced nearly 10% weight loss until plateauing near week 13.
This study conducted by Deemer and her associates also included a representation of the concentration of ghrelin in the plasma as well in order to demonstrate the fluctuation of hunger levels while abiding by a keto diet. This measurement of ghrelin is a great way to represent hunger levels because this compound is known as the hunger hormone and will stimulate an individual’s food intake. As seen in the hunger graph, there is a significant spike in ghrelin concentration nearing day 3 until the ghrelin levels eventually taper off and rise yet again near week 13.
This rise in ghrelin levels represents another potential hurdle when going through a keto diet, but if well managed can promise results.
As someone who has experimented with keto, I can assure you that it works but there are some tradeoffs. One of those tradeoffs being an ongoing lethargic feeling. This is a direct result of not consuming carbs because carbs provide your body with glucose which is then used as energy. As your glucose levels decrease so will the insulin levels in your blood thus leading to a general state of tiredness. Another negative attribute of the keto diet would be that you become very susceptible to dehydration due to urinating excessively. This excess of urination depletes your body of essential electrolytes thus causing dehydration. Taking all these points into consideration, I would say to give it a shot. The keto diet is a great way to kickstart yourself to start living a healthier lifestyle due to the discipline it takes to be a successful keto warrior. I wouldn’t recommend abiding by a keto diet for the rest of your life, because I really enjoy food and you should be able to enjoy it as well. Once you have reached your goal while doing the keto diet, try going for a more balanced diet paired with exercise and your results will continue to surprise you.
- Deemer, Sarah E., et al. “Impact of Ketosis on Appetite Regulation—a Review.” Nutrition Research, vol. 77, May 2020, pp. 1–11. DOI.org (Crossref),doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2020.02.010.
- “Why Am I Exhausted On The Keto Diet?” Flux Magazine, 4 Apr. 2013, www.fluxmagazine.com/exhausted-on-keto-diet/.
- Publishing, Harvard Health. “Should You Try the Keto Diet?” Harvard Health, www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/should-you-try-the-keto-diet.
- “Ketogenic Food Pyramid: KetoDiet Blog.” KetoDiet, 8 July 2019, ketodietapp.com/Blog/lchf/ketogenic-food-pyramid.
My name is Anurag Sandhu and I graduated from Cal Poly Pomona recently in 2020 as a nutrition science major. In my free time I enjoy watching sports, playing with my dog Rambo, and exercising. As an aspiring medical professional I love to talk about nutrition and fitness to anyone willing to listen because I truly feel that these are two aspects of life that often times are overlooked but play a significant role in everyone’s life.