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For the last few years, there has been a constant buzz regarding ketogenic diet and its blink-of-the-eyes transformation effects. I’ve been asked lately about – What is it? How does it work? And, does it have any side effects?

Simply put, ketogenic diet is a low carb, moderate protein and high fat diet. Consider your 75% of total daily calorie requirement coming from fat, 20% from protein and only 5% from carbohydrates. As a result, body starts to burn fat for energy instead of carbohydrate. Technically, this metabolic function is known as ketosis.

Originally, the diet was developed to aid people diagnosed with epilepsy. Soon, it became a fad as a lose-weight-fast strategy. However, if you are considering this diet, there are few side-effects that you should be aware about:

1.  Lack of Nutrients

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According to health experts high intake of fats could be a serious risk in long term. People are often impressed by the immediate short term results of keto. However, keto diet excludes many nutrient rich foods from a person’s daily intake list. This includes wheat, oats, all types of beans, fruits, potatoes which are otherwise rich in vitamins and fibre. As a result, people are more prone to long term health risks such as bone density loss and increased risk of chronic diseases.

2. Damages To Heart and Kidney

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Let us know a little bit about electrolytes. These help to form ions in our body fluids. Balanced amount of electrolytes in the body aids in smooth functioning. However, during ketosis, our bodies produce lesser electrolytes and are prone to urinating more frequently. This drains out salts like sodium, potassium and magnesium from the body. Also, this could lead to dehydration which can eventually result in lightheadedness, kidney injury, or kidney stones.

Apart from this, electrolytes are essential for normal beating of the heart. So, loss of electrolytes could result in a cardiac dysfunction as well.

3. Body Response – Flu Like Symptoms

As soon as you start with the keto diet, your body starts to adapt to the low-carb state. As a result, you can see symptoms like headache, weakness, irritability, constipation, nausea, and vomiting. Medical experts say that these symptoms occur as body changes its energy source from sugar to fats.

Along with this, as you shift your energy source from sugar to fat it may result in increased sugar cravings, loss of concentration and anxiety.

However, these symptoms do not last more than a week of starting the diet.

4. Lack of Consistency

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Ketogenic diet requires exemption of quite a few of our daily favorites. These include sweets, potatoes, rice, and chocolate. All of these are not only staple meals for a regular person but also fall under comfort food. Personally, it would be saddening to let go of food that helps me emotionally heal. Hence, for many, keeping a consistent keto-diet pattern might be too hard and they tend to break off within a few weeks. Moreover, switching between both will harm the body in the long run.

Our daily meals are dependant on how well we take them. Some of us may be allergic to certain meat and nuts. We need to take advice from our dieticians before investing in a new meal routine. It is important that we consider our health and its needs before rushing for a trendy diet regime that requires excluding food which helps us in our daily lives.

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