You might be starting or contemplating about starting the keto diet. Whichever one it is, there might be several questions popping up in your head and I’m going to answer some of them right now.
- Is this diet safe to follow long term?
This diet was originally developed to treat epilepsy but is now widely used for weight loss.
In terms of the short-term positive effects, it has been shown to significantly reduce obese patients’ body weight and BMI. It’s also observed to have lowered their cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels along with increasing their HDL cholesterol levels (Dashti et al., 2004).
Some side-effects that might be experienced when starting off this diet include, dizziness, a feeling of lethargy, irritability and since your body is not used to using fat as energy, hypoglycemia. These symptoms with proper follow-up can be managed. The period of adapting to this new diet can last for a few days or up to 3 weeks. So if you’re persistent enough, quick weight loss is what you’ll get with this diet!
2. Does this diet provide enough fiber?
Constipation is one of the side-effects that you might experience when starting off this diet. This could occur due to the loss of water after starting the diet. When there’s not enough fluid in your blood, it’ll absorb water from the colon and hence make your stool drier and harder to move through. So if you’re constipated on this diet, drink more water!
3. Does a keto diet cause deficiencies? Is supplemental use necessary when starting with this diet?
Since you might experience loss of water when starting off this diet, there is a possibility of you losing electrolytes, such as sodium, potassium and magnesium. It is important to notice symptoms like muscle weakness and cramping, dizziness and constipation which are caused by deficiencies in these electrolytes and to compensate for their loss by increasing their intake.
4. Can I maintain my muscle mass while on the ketone diet?
The amount of protein that you will be consuming will be adequate for the maintenance of your muscle mass. Your carbohydrate levels are going to be low and your fat intake will be high, but the amount of protein that should be consumed will be just enough to keep you in the state of ketosis while maintaining your muscle mass.
If you often train rigorously, this diet might not be suitable for you as you need to consume an adequate amount of carbohydrates to provide you with enough energy for an optimum workout.
5. Isn’t there too much fat in this diet?
The purpose of increasing the amount of fats consumed in this diet is to provide a source of energy for your body through its metabolism. With the low amount of carbs that are being consumed, having another adequate source of energy is essential for the functioning of your body. So in this diet, the higher amount of fats consumed will be used for driving the state of your body into ketosis.