The under-reported benefits (and drawbacks) of the Keto diet

Since its inception back in 1921, the Keto diet has faced scrutiny in regards to its purported health claims. Initially contrived as a regimen meant to help mitigate seizures in young children suffering from epilepsy, some physicians have since warned otherwise healthy adults against considering the fad diet as a speedy weight loss method.

“More often than not, it’s not sustainable. Oftentimes weight gain may come back, and you’ll gain more than what you lost,” Rachel Kleinman, RDN, LDN, a clinical dietitian at Ingalls explained to UChicago Medicine. 

The sustainability factor has been assailing the principles of flash in the pan diets for decades. The new-age slight against them is energized by the breakneck rise of diets like the Mediterranean diet and intermittent fasting. These diets are noted and celebrated for their pluralistic health benefits. If adhered to correctly, weight loss is accomplished by a body with all of its gears polished as opposed to one starved into submission. Instead of cutting out major food groups, your intake of them is adjusted according to very specific health objectives.

Though not as frequently publicized, the Ketogenic diet operates in a similar space.  Not unlike intermittent fasting, the keto diet works by shepherding your body into a desired metabolic process. When the body is deprived of the sufficient amount of glucose needed to maintain energy levels, it resorts to burning stored fats instead. This sugar dearth enacts a domino effect of sorts: High-blood sugar reduction leads to fewer insulin complications, which in turn prevents many forms of cancer. This process also raises the amount of High-density lipoprotein or good cholesterol in the body, which improves heart health and lowers one’s risk of developing cardiovascular disease. More broadly, occasional ketosis has been studied to yield neuro-protective advantages in addition to improving cognition in young developing children.

Uncovering the benefits and drawbacks associated with any diet will never be a closed case. As we continue to better understand the cognitive and somatic legislation that governs human biology, experts will continue to retcon all the things we thought we knew.

For instance, a new study conducted by researchers out of Yale University using  mice models found that carbohydrate restriction leads to an increase in mucus production in the lungs. The more mucus the more illnesses trapped and nullified before they can infect their host.

“This was a totally unexpected finding. This study shows that the way the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies from the food we eat can fuel the immune system to fight flu infection.” commented the researchers to Medical Daily.

Something to consider as we gear up to face the infection’s busiest season. Speaking of seasons, of all the celebrated fad diets, the keto diet seems to be the one best served by a  provisional observance. Prolonged adherence has been documented to lead to muscle degeneration, kidney stone formation, and abnormally high acid levels in the blood, saying nothing of the onslaught of complications that headline the diet’s adjustment period.  Medical News Today reports,

“Because you don’t want your body to stay in ketosis for too long, you’ll want to discuss other options for dietary changes for an extended period of time. The ketogenic diet encourages the elimination of refined and processed carbohydrates. However, not all carbohydrates are created equal. Many health benefits come from a diet that includes a variety of nutrient-dense, fibrous carbs, fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.”