Is the Ketogenic Diet the Fastest Way to Lose Weight?
Low-carb diets like the South Beach Diet and the Atkins Diet have been around for over a century. Now, a new low-carb diet is rising in popularity. The ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is one of the most searched diets on Google.com. This is likely because it’s often touted as one of the fastest ways to lose weight.
What Exactly Is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet is similar to other low-carb diets, but different in a few small but important ways. In addition to reducing carbs, the diet also recommends eliminating foods with high glycemic indexes completely:
- Pastries & desserts
- Sports drinks
Low-carb diets work by inducing a metabolic process known as ketosis. Ketosis occurs when the body does not have enough glucose for energy. When the body’s preferred fuel source—carbohydrates—is no longer present in the body, it creates a build up of acids called ketones.
These ketones facilitate fat breakdown, allowing the body to burn fat for energy rather than excess carbs.
What Are the Health Benefits?
Reducing your intake of carbodhydrates and glucose can have a number of benefits for your health. Firstly, low-carb diets are useful for diabetics, prediabetics, and those wanting to prevent the onset of diabetes. Secondly, they are great for speedy weight loss and weight management. Lastly, compared to other programs, many people say they are less hungry after a few weeks on the diet, which means that snacking is easier to avoid.
Do I Have to Give Up Carbs Completely?
Not necessarily. Consumption of complex carbs such as brown rice, quinoa and some fruit provides healthy minerals, vitamins and necessary fiber. Most experts would not recommend that carbs be eliminated from any diet entirely.
What Are the Drawbacks of Reducing Carbs?
Myths about meat. Many people have misunderstood the Atkins Diet or the South Beach Diet in the past, thinking that carbs can be substituted with high-fat, high-protein foods. This often means things like removing buns from burgers and simply eating the patty. Yet a low-carb diet should still be balanced with vegetables, complex carbs, and responsible, lean protein consumption to avoid cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and high cholesterol.
Loss of energy. Reducing your intake of carbs can initially result in fatigue, exhaustion, and lower overall energy as the body adjusts to ketosis. The adjustment can take from one to three weeks depending on a person’s metabolism.
Muscle loss. Carbs are important for muscle gain and preservation. Body builders and others who want to build muscle need carbs not only to fuel physical activity, but to protect muscle as well. Muscle tissue is also key for weight loss as it accelerates fat burning. For active dieters, carb cycling (eating carbs on workout days only) might be the best option.
Low blood sugar. People with diabetes may struggle with low-carb diets because their glucose may dip to dangerously low levels. It is important for diabetic patients to incorporate measurable amounts of carbs into their diets to keep their blood sugar regulated.