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The Pros and Cons of a Ketogenic Diet

Mia Hay, Editor

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The ketogenic diet is a fad sweeping the nation, but many questions arise from it. What is the ketogenic diet? What does it do for you nutritionally? Will it help you lose weight? How does it work? And occasionally, a logical person will come along and ask, “Is it even safe?” In this article, we will address these questions as well as a few more that the average New-Years-resolution-weight-loss-junkie might need to know.  

First of all, the keto diet is basically a high-fat, low-carb food plan that turns your body from using glucose to function to using fat. It is called the Ketogenic diet because it essentially forces your body into a metabolic state called ‘ketosis’. During ketosis, your liver produces ketones, which come from fat breakdown within the liver. Ketosis, however, is not to be confused with ketoacidosis.

“Ketosis is the presence of ketones,” Doctor Chelsi Jackson said. “Ketoacidosis also involves the presence of ketones, but there is a dangerously high amount. With ketosis, your body doesn’t have enough glucose in the bloodstream, so you break down fat for energy; with ketoacidosis, it is the opposite. There is too much sugar to begin with.”

According to ketodash.com, in order to properly process glucose, our bodies need insulin. Insulin keeps fat cells from entering into the bloodstream, which takes them to the liver to be broken down. By lowering your glucose intake, you lower your insulin levels, which allows for your fat intake to be processed as energy in the liver rather than glucose. Fat becomes your main source of energy.

With a ketogenic diet, you’ll experience a loss of water weight and stored fats because that is what your body runs off of, so it is safe to say that you will, in fact, lose weight. In all reality though, planning meals comprised of healthy foods will automatically make you lose weight. Just the planning in and of itself creates a better atmosphere around food in general.

“I feel that [the ketogenic diet] helps in many ways when you take it seriously and don’t have too many cheat days,” sophomore Saul Quintenilla said. “When I found out about this diet, I learned that it helps prevent cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. As an athlete, I feel like it can benefit anyone in any way that they want, from just losing unnecessary fat that may slow someone down to just flat out wanting to get toned.”

Some of the assorted and numerous benefits of the ketogenic diet include blood sugar control, improved mental focus, increased energy, appetite control and decreased need for epilepsy medication in epileptic children and and adults.

As with everything, there are benefits and downfalls, and for all of the good that the ketogenic diet does for your body, some side effects include cramps, reduced physical performance, and ‘keto flu’. Keto flu usually consists of fatigue, aches and some nausea. It occurs because of the bodily transition that switching energy sources causes.

One important point to retain through all of this is the importance of staying safe throughout any diet or exercise routine. It is imperative that those who decide to participate in the ketogenic trend, or any dieting trend for that matter, keep control and conversation about their bodies with their doctors.

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