5 Science-Backed Facts About the Keto Diet
The Keto (ketogenic) diet is still making waves in the media and with health experts. It has its believers and its skeptics, but it has shown to be a viable solution for various health conditions, which include treatments for epilepsy, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers.
A keto diet works by depleting the body of its sugar reserves resulting in the breakdown of fat for energy. There are numerous types of keto diets, such as the Standard Ketogenic Diet and the Cyclical Ketogenic Diet.
What is the Ketogenic (Keto) Diet?
The keto diet is focused on consuming high-fat and low-carb foods, the principle behind being that it makes the body burn fat instead of carbohydrates.
The process of ketosis is when your body runs out of carbohydrates to convert to energy and therefore relies on fat for fuel. Contrary to popular belief, you’re not supposed to eat only protein on the keto diet, you are supposed to eat a moderate amount of protein and not go overboard, as too much protein can affect your body negatively. The idea of it is that eating only small amounts of carbohydrates forces the body to turn to other macros and stored fasts for energy, shifting the metabolism into a state of ketosis, where fat burning is optimized and you lose weight.
There are claims that the keto diet will help with weight loss and boost energy levels, however, further research is still required to develop further understanding of these mechanisms. In fact, there is quite a bit of scientific debate on low-carb diets and how they impact the body overall, and the keto diet is still fairly controversial. Nevertheless, the energy benefits of ketone bodies are well-documented, sports coach and nutrition expert Paul Jenkins MSc explains:
Although the keto diet is considered a relatively new fad, it was, in fact, first started in the early 1920s by Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic. The diet was created to help in the treatment of epilepsy. Dr. Wilder’s research proposed that a low carbohydrate diet could cause health benefits of fasting, without needing to fast.
The keto diet is a plan to focus on eating foods that provide healthful fats, proper amounts of protein, and limited carbs. The goal is to get more calories from fat than from carbs.
But how do you know you’re in ketosis? The first thing you should notice is something unceremoniously called ‘keto breathe’. It’s very common once you enter ketosis for your breath to literally smell like nail polish remover. That’s because when your body is breaking down fats to produce ketones, some of them are lost in the urine and exhaled breath. One type of such ketones is acetone.