Eat fat to lose weight. This is what the keto diet offers, disrupting our traditional eating habits. It is praised by some and decried by others. As you will have understood, the keto diet or ketogenic diet is a controversial diet that is making a lot of noise.
While many scientists agree that it is effective in the treatment of many diseases, others advise against it because of its overly restrictive aspect and the risks it entails. Let’s discover together its origin but above all its benefits and the risks that a ketogenic diet can cause. Macronutrients, state of ketosis, weight loss or even treatment for type 2 diabetes, you will know everything you need to know before starting a keto diet.
The ketogenic diet originated in the 1920s. At the time, doctors were actively looking for a solution to relieve children with severe epileptic disorders. After having had mixed results on a treatment based on fasting, they decided to carry out several studies to analyze the consequences of a ketogenic diet. Thus, from year to year, scientists carry out many conclusive studies. In 1998 in particular, a study was conducted among 51 children with an average of 230 monthly attacks. This revealed very positive and encouraging results. Almost half of the children could control more than 90% of their seizures and almost 40% had control over 50 to 90% of their seizures. During the same year, a study was carried out on children aged between 1 and 16 who were subject to more than 400 seizures per month. After a year on the keto diet, 7% of them had no seizures and almost 30% of the subjects were able to reduce their frequency by almost 90%.
Even today, this diet is used to help reduce the frequency and control epileptic seizures in children. But its reputation has been created for a few years and it is used for many other reasons that we will describe below.
WHAT IS THE KETO DIET?
The keto diet is a so-called strict and even restrictive diet. The latter offers a totally different nutritional model compared to the usual recommendations that we know. It consists of drastically reducing the proportion of carbohydrates ingested daily. To enter a state of ketosis, it is necessary to respect a specific ratio of macronutrients. This is made up of 70-80% fat, 20-25% protein and 5-10% carbohydrates. For comparison, a more classic diet is composed of 55% carbohydrates, 30% lipids and 15% proteins
This very significant reduction in carbohydrates is intended to allow the body to enter a state of ketosis. Being in ketosis is a metabolic state that requires a special diet. During this time, the body will no longer draw its energy from sugar as it used to. On the other hand, it will draw it from fats, thanks to ketone bodies.
To sum up, the state of ketosis consists of forcing your body to draw on fat stores to find its energy, by depriving it of its usual source, carbohydrates.
In other words, the foods to favor are fatty fish, nuts and low-carb vegetables such as a large majority of green vegetables, tomatoes or peppers. On the other hand, it is necessary to eliminate wheat-based cereals, white pasta, white rice, a large part of the fruits, and sugary drinks.
THE ADVANTAGES AND BENEFITS OF THE KETO DIET: WHY ADOPT IT?
At the heart of much scientific research, the ketogenic diet is now attributed many advantages and benefits. Some even confirm the interest of this diet for the prevention and treatment of many diseases.
However, scientific research on the subject is incessant. Even if there are many who prove a certain interest in this diet, it should be borne in mind that many studies are still in progress and that the results are therefore not yet 100% reliable. We have therefore concocted a small summary of this research, so that you can know a little more about these benefits!
Benefit #1: The Keto Diet for Weight Loss
The effect of the keto diet on weight has been proven through numerous studies on the subject. At least 13 studies have also revealed that the ketogenic diet would be more effective for weight loss than a low-fat diet. Indeed, people who followed this diet would have lost almost an extra kilo for a similar calorie intake as people who followed a low-fat diet.
The weight loss thanks to the keto diet is explained by several factors:
According to several scientific studies, a higher protein intake promotes weight loss because protein allows, among other things, to feel the feeling of satiety more quickly. This is one of the reasons why the keto diet is known to be an appetite suppressant.
The appetite suppressant effect is also due to hormonal changes, caused by this change in diet.
Decreased fat storage. This is because excess carbohydrates are stored in the body as fat. However, with a ketogenic diet, carbohydrate intake is minimal and fat is used to provide energy.
However, be careful not to over-consume protein because an excess will turn into carbohydrates and then take you out of your state of ketosis. Also be careful to meet your calorie needs as studies have shown that too much reduction in calories ingested can slow down your metabolism, which makes weight loss more difficult in the long term.
- Benefit #2: The keto diet as a treatment for diseases
Many studies are conducted to analyze the positive effects of the ketogenic diet on a multitude of diseases. Some, still in progress, are therefore to be taken with hindsight. Here are the different conditions for which the ketogenic diet has been studied or is still being studied as a treatment:
The keto diet against Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes
The ketogenic diet is not suitable in the context of type 1 diabetes because the type 1 diabetic must continue to eat carbohydrates. Indeed, as he injects himself with continuous doses of insulin, a low consumption of carbohydrates would cause the risk of falling into acute ketoacidosis.
Nevertheless, the ketogenic diet would be beneficial for type 2 diabetics thanks to its effect on blood sugar and weight.
Several studies have shown results that the ketogenic diet can reduce insulin levels. Indeed, a study conducted on people with type 2 diabetes for four months even proved a significant reduction of 16% in blood sugar. It also states that a third of the participants were able to completely stop all their diabetes medications! Another study found that after two weeks on the keto diet, insulin sensitivity improved by 75%.
The keto diet would therefore improve insulin sensitivity and fat loss, improving the health of people with type 2 diabetes or stabilizing the health of people with prediabetes.