The keto diet is popular. But is it something you should try? — The Indian SCENE

The keto diet is popular. But is it something you should try?

When choosing change in lifestyle, long-term sustainability is the key.

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This keto diet has been around for a while. It has established uses in helping children with epilepsy (seizure disorder), but more recently the diet has gained momentum as a weight loss trend. Before you get on the keto wagon, here’s what’s important to know.

The ketogenic diet is essentially a diet very low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and very high in fat, which puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. In the state of ketosis, the body no longer utilizes carbohydrates — specifically glucose — as energy, instead converting fat into ketones to use as fuel.

Ketosis is when the body uses ketones for fuel. This eating plan claims ketosis can lead to many health benefits including weight loss.

Rules: This diet eliminates all grains, fruits, starchy vegetables, legumes and sugar. Instead, it includes plenty of meat, leafy greens and non-starchy vegetables, high fat dairy, nuts, seeds, avocado, butter, coconut oil, ghee and high-fat salad dressings. Stevia, Monk fruit and sugar alcohols are OK to use as sweeteners.

The good and the bad: There are no long-term human studies on the effects of this diet. The long-term effects of being in a state of ketosis is unknown. The negative side effects of being in a state of ketosis include constipation, muscle loss, decreased energy, bad breath, leg cramps, headaches, nausea, trouble focusing and the ” keto flu.”

Verdict: The desired weight loss is certainly one of the results of this diet. However, keep in mind that this result is accomplished at the high cost of not meeting the nutritional needs of your body and by forgoing numerous and beneficial food groups. This plan encourages good and bad types of fat, with emphasis on intake of saturated fat, which increases your risk for high cholesterol and heart disease. If you are looking for a quick weight loss, this plan will work, but in time you probably will be back to your old eating patterns and gain your original weight.

When choosing change in lifestyle, long-term sustainability is the key. A balanced and varied diet will ensure assorted nutrient intake that has long term health benefits.

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