When you go on a healthy eating plan, you couldn’t expect to see butter, cream and cheese on the allowed list, would you? Normally these high fat foods are feared and snatched out of people’s hands, but not on the ketogenic diet. No, it’s quite the opposite.
The ketogenic diet has skyrocketed in popularity in the last year or two and Kim Kardashian, Megan Fox and Vanessa Hudgens all swear by it.
But what exactly is it? Can you actually have unlimited butter? Let’s take a look.
What is a ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet, also known as ‘the keto diet’ is an eating plan very low in carbohydrates, and very high in fat. It’s nothing new and has been used clinically for many years, traditionally to treat epilepsy and manage seizures.
However, the diet has recently come into the spotlight, particularly because of what occurs when you put your body into ketosis.
What is ketosis?
Eating very few carbohydrates will put your body into a state called ketosis. The main source of energy for the body to function is usually carbohydrate and when these carb stores are not available, your body switches to burning fat, resulting in the production of ketone bodies by the liver.
The result of ketosis is enhanced burning of fat stores and relatively quick weight loss, particularly when compared to traditional low calorie diets.
Is ketosis safe?
In most cases, yes. There is no clinical evidence to indicate the ketogenic diet is dangerous. Studies have found that when abiding by the guidelines, the eating plan was more effective than a traditional low kilojoule style of diet.
These studies were conducted over a six month time period, and results were of most significance in obese patients. There is a need for further research to be conducted over a longer time period.
However, this approach is not free from side effects. Symptoms you may experience in the initial first days include fatigue, nausea, headaches and bad breath.
These often pass after a week or so, but everyone’s experience is slightly different. The diet is also likely to lack key nutrients like fibre, vitamin B and calcium, so supplementation may need to be considered.
You may also find the diet could affect gut health or metabolism, so it's important you only undertake the diet with guidance of a health professional.
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