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Ketogenic diet

The original ketogenic diet was designed as a medical diet to treat pediatric epilepsy in the 1920s. Since then, many modified versions of the ketogenic diet for weight loss have appeared in the market. In simple terms, the ketogenic diet is a high fat, sufficient protein, and low carbohydrate diet. While there is plenty of material written on various types of ketogenic diets, it is important that you consult your doctor or dietician before you decide to follow a ketogenic diet. Owing to the rigid nature of the ketogenic diet, dieters may require medical supervision to monitor their health.
Pre-diet, your doctor may recommend blood tests and metabolic tests. In addition to these tests, your doctor may also check for any allergies or any specific food intolerance. As you progress through different phases of the ketogenic diet, ensure that you get a regular health check up.

Ketogenic diet foods list includes foods that are low in carbohydrates. Our body uses carbohydrates to produce energy required for various bodily processes. In the absence of carbohydrates, the diet forces the body to break down fats in the body for energy needs. Additionally, the high fat aspect of the ketogenic diet allows the dieter to consume foods that are high in fat content. Thus, the body breaks down fat to create energy. In doing so, the body produces fatty acids and ketones. The ketones are absorbed by the blood stream. The body uses energy from ketones instead of glucose from carbohydrates. Excess ketones are passed into the urine and are washed out. This elevated level of ketones in the body is called ketosis. While medical practitioners preached the benefits of the classic ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy, today modified versions of the ketogenic diet may help bodybuilding and athletic fitness.

The reason a ketogenic diet shows successful weight loss results is that in the state of ketosis, the body does not feel hungry. It acts as an appetite suppressant. In a state of ketosis, the body utilizes calories from fat to form energy. Your burn calories without losing lean muscle mass. Also, an adequate intake of proteins allows your body to build muscle strength without adding bulk. Ketogenic diet for bodybuilders follows a cyclical pattern of high fat, high protein, low carbohydrate diet interspersed by small periods of a high carbohydrates, high protein, and low fat diet. This cyclical ketogenic diet will allow the dieter to regain nutrition from carbohydrates in small burst, while the majority diet will focus on ketosis. Recent studies also reveal that ketogenic diet may help fight cancer and tumor growths. Some studies suggest that ketosis allows the human body to develop a stronger immune system, fighting cancer at the cellular level. In addition to this, a ketogenic diet changes the metabolic mode of the body. Ketone bodies replace glucose, which may provide a protective shield over healthy cells free of cancer and lower insulin production, another factor that enables multiplication of cancer cells in the body.

Ketogenic diet plan

The ketogenic diet plan focuses on eating a balance of foods that will provide the body with an appropriate amount of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. It is important that a certified dietician design your daily ketogenic diet menu. A ketogenic diet plan is calculated in terms of ratios. Your dietician may specify a 4:1 ratio, referring to four parts of fat for one part of protein and carbohydrates combined. Ketogenic diet foods may consist of small servings of fruits and vegetables to provide low carbohydrates. Protein intake may constitute beef, veal, lamb, pork, chicken, and turkey. Lean cuts of meat, skinless poultry, seafood, and eggs maybe recommended. Rich sources of fat include animal protein as well as butter, cheese, cream and oil. Even vegetables such as avocado contain traces of fat. While the early phase of ketogenic diets may not allow grains, later phases do allow whole grains and whole grain products such as oats, brown rice, whole-wheat pasta, and multigrain breads. Some of the disadvantages of a ketogenic diet are as follows.

• Your dietician may recommend vitamin supplements to you if you are on a ketogenic diet. This is because the ketogenic diet does not provide you with vital vitamins and minerals, and without vitamin and mineral supplements, you may experience nutritional deficiencies.
• Fluid intake is also very essential while following the ketogenic diet. Proper fluid intake will ensure that the body will flush out excess ketone bodies. Depending on the ketogenic diet you decide to follow, beverages such as tea and coffee maybe allowed. Avoid artificially sweetened juices, sodas, and colas. Alcohol should be avoided or limited on a ketogenic diet. 
• Low carb ketogenic diet recipes are difficult to follow due to their dependence on animal proteins, especially if you are a vegan. However, the weight loss benefits from a ketogenic diet may encourage you to follow it. Many diet books and references provide ketogenic diet recipes for your meals and snack time.
• Since the ketogenic diet is low on carbs and dietary fiber, dieters may experience constipation. Consuming high fiber vegetables and drinking plenty of water will help bowel movement.
• Rapid or uncontrolled ketosis may lead to ketoacidosis, a potentially fatal condition. Dehydration, nausea, weakness, and lightheadedness are a few symptoms of ketoacidosis. Another adverse effect includes electrolyte imbalance.
• With its emphasis on fat and proteins, ketogenic diet may have an adverse effect on your kidneys and heart. Kidney stones and gallstones are potential problems arising from a ketogenic diet. High cholesterol concerns have also dogged the ketogenic diet with its focus on fats from oil and butter.
• Another potential side effect of the classic Ketogenic diet is calcium deficiency. In the long term, this could lead to bone loss, dental problems, and other musco-skeletal disorders.
• Women on a ketogenic diet may experience menstrual irregularities since the metabolic shift also leads to hormonal changes in the body.
• Since the ketogenic diet emphasizes the consumption of eggs and seafood, it is essential to eliminate the risk of any related allergies. On the other hand, gluten intolerant individuals may find it easy to follow the ketogenic diet.

The classic Ketogenic diet has given rise to less restrictive diets such as Atkins diet and Low Glycemic Index diet. While weight loss results depend on following the diet carefully, the ketogenic diet is not a fad diet or a crash diet. It is a therapeutic diet and research shows that ketogenic diet maybe useful in treating other disorders such as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a nervous disorder.
Submitted on January 16, 2014