Low Carbohydrate Diet (Keto Diet): Is It Safe?

What is the Keto Diet?

The Keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet that contains low carbohydrate, high fat, and moderate protein. It has been around since the 1920s and was used to treat epileptic patients. There are different kinds of keto diets, and they all try to ensure that your body’s main source of energy – glucose is replaced with ketones. This is achieved by reducing carbohydrate consumption because carbohydrates are the main source of glucose. [bctt tweet=”The reduction of carbs and the increase of fat pushes the body into a state called ketosis. In this state, your body converts the fat into ketones which becomes your body’s fuel”] The reduction of carbs and the increase of fat pushes the body into a state called ketosis. In this state, your body converts the fat into ketones which becomes your body’s fuel.

What Are The Types Of Keto Diet?

There are different types of the keto diet, but one thing that is common across all kinds is low carbohydrate.

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet: This type of keto diet involves a very low carb, moderate protein, and high-fat diet. They are usually in a 10:20:70 (Carb: Protein: Fat) ratio.
  • Cyclical ketogenic Diet: Just like the name implies, this kind of diet is in cycles. You eat a ketogenic diet for about 5 days and then a high-carb diet for 2 days.
  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet: With this kind of keto diet, you can add carbs around workouts.
  • High Protein Ketogenic Diet: The difference between this diet and the standard ketogenic diet is that it includes more protein. The common ratio is usually 5:35:60 (Carbohydrate: Protein: Fat)

What Are The Benefits Of A Keto Diet?

  • Keto Diets Can Boost Weight Loss: Several studies indicate that ketogenic diets are more effective for long-term weight loss compared to low-fat diet plans.
  • Insulin Sensitivity Increases With Keto Diet: Being on a ketogenic diet may be helpful for diabetics. It has been shown to burn excess fat, increase insulin sensitivity, and lower blood sugar levels.
  • Improve chronic disease outcomes

Although the research is not conclusive, ketogenic diets have been shown to reduce seizures in children, improve the symptoms in people with polycystic ovarian syndrome, and slow down the progress of Alzheimer’s disease.

What Are The Risks Of A Keto Diet? 

Like everything that has a good side, ketogenic diets also have demerits.

Here are some of the dangers of a keto diet.

  • Nutritional Deficiency

Eating a keto diet may lead to a reduction in your intake of fruits, grains, and vegetables. This reduction can make you prone to nutritional deficiencies because these food items usually supply you with necessary micronutrients.

  • Liver disease

Ketogenic diets put a lot of pressure on the liver because it helps to process the fat into ketones. This pressure can make any pre-existing liver disease worse.

  • Constipation

Ketogenic diets are often low fibre diets, and this can increase your risk of constipation.

  • Brain Fog & Weakness

Lack of glucose can affect your normal functioning and make you feel weak and tired. You may also be a little slow mentally due to the reduced glucose in your diet.

How Can I Eat A Keto Diet As A Nigerian?

Eating a keto diet as a Nigerian may be tricky because carbohydrates form the core of most of our meals.

Avoid the following if you want to eat a keto diet:

  1. Grains or starch like rice, garri,
  2. fruits except for small portions of berries
  3. beans
  4. yam & sweet potatoes
  5. refined sugar in fast food, cakes, fruit juice, and carbonated drinks
  6. alcohol and
  7. vegetable oil.

Eat more

  1. meat
  2. fatty fish like sardines and tilapia
  3. eggs
  4. unsalted butter
  5. unprocessed cheese
  6. walnuts, almonds, and groundnuts
  7. use extra virgin olive oil and red palm oil
  8. Vegetables like ugwu, lettuce, spinach, garden egg, cucumber, and okro.

You can also drink green tea, black tea, unsweetened almond milk, and coffee.

No matter how healthy you may feel, you should consult a doctor or nutritionist before starting a keto diet. Luckily for you, you can get access to these health professionals through the Hygeia HMO Telemedicine plan.

By Dr. Okonkwor Oyor C.

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