Keto Diet Explained
History of the Keto Diet
Wondering how the keto diet started? While it may have only recently boomed in popularity, this diet plan was actually created decades ago. Initially designed to help those suffering with epilepsy, today it is largely used for its weight-loss benefits. Here, you’ll discover a brief history of the keto diet and how it became as popular as it is today.
The Creation of the Keto Diet
The keto diet was actually created back in the 1920s. It started out as a therapy for those living with epilepsy. It was designed to provide a healthy alternative to fasting.
After the introduction of new medical treatments, the diet was temporarily abandoned. However, it was discovered that even with the new treatments, around 20% to 30% of those suffering with epilepsy still experienced seizures. So, the diet was reintroduced to help control the condition.
The keto diet we know today was started by Rollin Woodyatt, an endocrinologist. He discovered that ketone bodies were produced by the liver when patients followed a high-fat, low-carb diet. He used this to create the keto diet, which was then used to treat epileptic patients in 1921.
The Development of the Classic Keto Approach
Although Rollin Woodyatt started the keto diet, it was physician Dr. Peterman who is credited for developing the classic keto diet we know today.
The modern keto diet follows a 4:1 ratio of fat, protein and carbohydrates. It suggests getting 90% of calories from fat, 6% from protein and 4% from carbohydrates. This is the ratio most experts suggest you follow. However, benefits can still be felt from consuming just 75% calories from fat.
The changes in the diet from the 1920s have helped to make it possible to follow the diet for longer periods of time. Nutritionists also suggest consuming 1g of protein for every kilogram of body weight.
How Did the Diet Come Back into Popularity?
It is thought that the popular TV show “Dateline” was responsible for bringing the keto diet back into the mainstream. One of its episodes in 1994 showed a two-year-old who experienced severe epileptic seizures. After following the keto diet, his seizures were able to be managed.
This sparked a lot of research into the keto diet. It gained so much attention that the father of the two-year-old directed a film about their experience which featured star Meryl Streep. From there, more people started to look into the benefits the diet could provide.
Understanding the Modern Keto Diet
Today, the modern keto diet focuses on so much more than its epilepsy benefits. It is also thought to have neurological benefits and is most commonly followed for its weight-loss benefits. It isn’t certain when the switch to the diet for its weight-loss benefits occurred, but it has exploded in popularity in recent years.
So, while it may only recently be gaining in popularity, the keto diet has been around since 1921. Over the years it has changed somewhat in how it works and the foods that should be consumed. The above are just some of the way the diet and its use has changed over time.
How Does the Keto Diet Work and How Long Should You Do It For?
The keto diet has become one of the most popular diet plans in recent times. You’ll find hundreds of blogs and articles online discussing the benefits and science behind it.
With so many success stories out there, you may be thinking of trying this popular diet. However, before you decide whether or not to give it a try, it’s worth looking at how the keto diet works and how long you should follow it.
What Is the Keto Diet?
Keto is short for ketogenic. The diet focuses on high fat and low carbs. It is said that a significant reduction in carbs puts the body into what is known as ketosis. This means the body becomes extremely efficient at burning off fat. It also transforms fat within the liver into ketones, which are said to provide energy to the brain.
The keto diet is thought to improve insulin and blood sugar, while also presenting multiple health benefits. There are actually different types of the keto diet you can follow, but most follow the standard diet plan.
How Does the Keto Diet Work?
So, how exactly does the keto diet work? Well, as mentioned above, the foods you consume on the diet help to put the body into ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process which occurs when there aren’t enough carbohydrates in the body to turn into energy. When there aren’t enough carbs, the body starts to use up its fat content for energy. While burning fat, it creates ketones which are what fuels the body.
The foods you’ll eat on the keto diet provide less than 50g of carbohydrates each day. After limiting your carb intake this much, your body will start to experience ketosis within 3-4 days. The standard keto diet requires around 75% of calories to be consumed via fat, 20% from protein and just 5% from carbohydrates.
Is It Safe?
The main question people have before trying this diet, is whether or not it’s safe. And while thousands of people successfully follow this diet plan, there are a few dangers you’ll need to familiarize yourself with.
For example, it’s not uncommon to develop flu-like symptoms when the body starts to enter ketosis. While it does tend to only last for a few days, these symptoms can be difficult to deal with, particularly the fatigue that comes with it.
Other common side effects of the diet include diarrhea, a decreased metabolism, and an increased risk of heart disease if it isn’t followed correctly. Generally speaking, however, it is safe to follow the keto diet.
How Long Should You Follow It For?
While the keto diet is largely safe, it should only be followed for a set period of time. So, it isn’t a diet you can add as a new lifestyle. Experts recommend following the keto diet for no longer than a year. You’ll also need to keep an eye on kidney function throughout the diet.
If you’re looking for a short-term diet that’s going to help you to lose weight and get healthier, the keto diet could prove beneficial. Just remember that there are side effects and it isn’t a diet you should follow for the long term.
Health Conditions That the Keto Diet May Help With
While primarily used as a weight-loss aid today, the keto diet can actually have a number of health benefits if it’s followed correctly. You will need to pay attention to the risks and side effects too, but the health benefits you can experience are fantastic.
Here, we’ll look at some of the main health conditions the keto diet may help with.
One of the main conditions the keto diet can be used to treat is obesity. It has long been known that low-carb diets can be great for losing weight. There have been several studies which have highlighted the benefits the keto diet can provide in terms of weight loss.
One study showed that men who followed the keto diet for 24 weeks lost double the amount of fat than those who ate a low-fat diet. The study also showed that their levels of good cholesterol increased.
The keto diet can also help to reduce the appetite. Because of this, it can make it easier to stick to compared to some other low-calorie and low-fat diets.
Another condition a keto diet may help with is metabolic syndrome. Sometimes known as prediabetes, this condition occurs due to insulin resistance. When you have metabolic syndrome, it increases your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
When you follow a keto diet, it can improve the symptoms of the condition. For example, it can raise good cholesterol levels, reduce blood sugar and improve blood pressure.
The only condition the keto diet has been proven to help is epilepsy. This is what the diet was initially created for and it’s proved for decades it can help to control seizures, particularly in children.
Studies have shown that the keto diet can help to improve seizures in approximately 50% of patients. It doesn’t just help to stop seizures either. Researchers have assessed the brains of children suffering with epilepsy after following a keto diet, and discovered it improves numerous brain patterns in approximately 65% of patients.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Caused by hormonal dysfunction, PCOS can be a frustrating condition to live with. However, following a keto diet can help keep its symptoms controlled.
One of the main factors of PCOS is insulin resistance. It’s common for women suffering from the condition to experience weight gain, alongside excessive hair growth. In one study, it was revealed that a keto diet led to weight loss in 12% of patients with PCOS. It also managed to improve reproductive hormones and reduce fasting insulin by 54%.
Finally, those suffering with diabetes may find the keto diet helpful. However, there is also evidence to suggest that it can lead to ketoacidosis. This means diabetics that are considering following this style of diet should talk to their healthcare practitioner. They will need to be monitored frequently to ensure they don’t develop ketoacidosis which can be extremely dangerous to their health.
These are some of the main conditions the keto diet can help with. While there hasn’t been a substantial amount of research into its health benefits, the above are some of the main benefits that have been proven.