Important: It is not recommended to follow a diet without first seeing a doctor. These rules are relevant not only for those who have identified the disease, but also for others.
Unlike most diets today, the purpose of a ketogenic diet is medicine from the beginning. They remain on the agenda at the moment. In general, the word "diet" was originally not related to weight loss. The word means a set of dietary rules that must be followed in certain situations - in the treatment of certain diseases, during postoperative therapy.
The keto diet owes new popularity to an American filmmaker whose son has been suffering from epilepsy for a long time. While there have been many visits to the most well-known and well-known neuropathologists who have tried, apparently, all the most effective antiepileptic drugs available in nature, the child's condition has not improved at all. A father who almost gave up reading a lot of literature on epilepsy treatment at the local library and unexpectedly found a description of a ketogenic diet that has not been recommended to him by any expert until now. She immediately included her son for this diet and was happy to find that the frequency of the boy’s seizures had significantly decreased.
Well, a ketogenic diet was created to reduce the incidence of epileptic seizures - especially in children. At the same time, there is no decrease in calorie content in the diet, only carbohydrates are replaced by fat. Children underwent such a diet for 36 hours, and their frequency of seizures decreased.
The ketogenic diet is now used to treat not only epilepsy, but also Alzheimer's disease, fatty liver disease and even some types of cancer. In general, its benefits in medicine are undeniable. What about weight loss?
A ketogenic diet is a diet consisting of high-fat foods (animal fats and some vegetable oils), animal proteins, and very low carbohydrates, up to about 80% of the body's energy needs are met by fat breakdown (fat contentin the European diet on average provides 30-35% of the energy needed by the body during the day). And just as it happens during fasting, the breakdown of fat in large amounts causes an increase in acidity in the body. This, perhaps, could explain why the use of such dietary complexes causes a decrease in the frequency of epileptic seizures.
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to put the body into ketosis.
Ketosis is a pathological condition of the body in which ketone bodies dominate in tissues. A state of ketosis means that the body only uses fat stored under the skin to meet energy needs, it prevents muscle damage. During ketosis, you get energy from ketones - carbonyl compounds that form when fat is broken down. By the way, ketones are an excellent source of energy for the brain, almost replacing glucose.
Another positive feature of ketosis is that in this condition you will not experience hunger, therefore, you will eat less, which means that you will not cover your energy costs completely.
To put the body into a state of ketosis, the diet is arranged in such a way that fat is clearly dominant in the diet, moreover, especially saturated (diet consists of 90% fat, based on calories).
In fact, the diet used by many professional bodybuilders in the last week before the competition can also be called ketogenic: it consists only of salmon (usually grilled, but you can also in other forms), bean jam and green vegetables (salad, broccoli, spinach, cabbage). It is better to add flaxseed oil or walnut oil to such a diet. There is already more protein here, which reduces the problem, but does not eliminate it at all.
Advantages and disadvantages of the classic ketogenic diet
The addition is that this diet is very effective, the diet works, and how! The main thing is that you will practically not feel hungry, which means that you easily withstand the restrictions of calorie intake. Ketones are an excellent source of energy for the brain.
The importance of a ketogenic diet reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, due to a sharp decrease in insulin secretion. But for people who lead an active lifestyle, this advantage can easily be turned into a minus, because insulin is a powerful anti-catabolic agent. Decreased insulin secretion is based on the ability of the ketogenic diet to provoke acidosis in the muscles, which means that proteolysis is enhanced, i. e. the body’s own protein breakdown is facilitated. And catabolism can be lost. Of course not, but in 3-4 days for sure.
It is impossible to follow a classic ketogenic diet for long periods of time - he starts vomiting in the most natural way. Not for nothing that for children with epilepsy, the ketogenic diet is limited to a period of 36 hours.
Ketogenic diets are now used in the treatment of some types of cancer. In particular, this is prostate cancer, and here the ability of the diet to reduce the production of IGF-1 (a growth factor such as insulin) is used.
Another disadvantage is the decrease in free testosterone levels in the blood plasma.
The main danger of the keto diet is an increase in blood ketone levels, which lowers blood acidity (pH) and can lead to death in extreme cases. This condition is called "ketoacidosis". First of all, this is true for people with severe and moderate diabetes. If it is not there, there is no need to worry, as there are many ketones in the blood of healthy people that can be processed by the body.
The body needs time to release glucose and learn to feed the brain with ketone bodies, so that physical and mental activity can decrease in the first week. The main symptoms are lethargy, dizziness and dizziness.
Many people experience this condition very painfully, and "get out of the race" literally on the second day. But the state of health is fully normalized on the third or fifth day, when the body is being rebuilt.
Lack of fiber causes intestinal function to slow down. The main point of a ketogenic diet is the complete rejection of carbohydrates. Therefore, the diet should consist of protein and fat, and fiber should be complex carbohydrates. It is possible to consume fiber in pure form and only include in the diet of green vegetables or lettuce leaves, which contain a lot of coarse dietary fiber.
An important weakness in diet is the lack of micronutrients caused by the exclusion of carbohydrate-containing foods from the diet. Basically, any meat or dairy product recommended for a ketogenic diet lacks most vitamins or minerals. The best way to avoid deficiencies is to take vitamins and minerals, supplements that contain minerals. A number of minerals, such as zinc or magnesium, are essential for vital bodily functions and hormone levels.
Ketogenic diets are contraindicated in the presence of or showing a history of liver disease, kidney disease, metabolic disorders (including congenital and genetic metabolic disorders), progressive encephalopathy, as well as diabetes mellitus, diseases of the cardiovascular system, cerebrovascular and lipid diseases, such as valproic acidsimultaneously (valproate). Other contraindications to its use are not yet known.
When prescribing a ketogenic diet, the diet for each child and for adults is calculated only by a doctor! Individually, taking into account the diagnosis, age and weight of the child, his nutritional needs. The content of the main nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates) in food is selected in a certain ratio, which is determined only by experts! During treatment, this ratio can change, therefore, it is necessary to constantly monitor the patient by the attending physician, who, if necessary, corrects the diet. The patient's diet includes a variety of fatty foods - smoked meats, heavy creams, vegetable oils, such as flaxseed. In countries where ketogenic diets are widely used, the food industry produces a variety of specialty foods that can provide a varied and complete menu.
For starters, nutritionists have created a special milkshake with a large amount of fat, which can not only be drunk, but also eaten frozen like ice cream. This helps the child to get used to fatty foods and make the necessary biochemical changes in the body that provide antiepileptic effects. During treatment, great skills in compiling the menu are required from the doctor, otherwise the child will quickly get tired of the monotonous diet and he may refuse to eat at all. During various illnesses, such as the common cold, metabolism is constantly changing. This can reduce the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet. In such a situation, it is important that you see your doctor so that he can correct the menu.
What can you eat on a ketogenic diet and what recommendations to follow?
The ketogenic diet focuses on foods rich in protein and fat. It is important that moderate fat intake is beneficial and necessary, as these fats cause long-term satiety.
Fats can be divided into three groups:
- saturated fats (found in red meat and dairy products);
- unsaturated (found in vegetable and vegetable oils);
- single saturated (found in fish and olives).
Fat has many functions in the human body:
- energy (with a lack of calories, fat can be broken down, supplying the body with energy);
- protective (cover all organs with a thin layer, has high thermal insulating properties);
- construction (cell membrane part);
- enzyme (some lipids are part of the cofactor);
- hormonal (some lipids are part of hormones, middlemen).
The best choices are protein-rich foods - meat, fish, milk, cottage cheese, eggs, cheese, and even its derivatives. Carbohydrates are acceptable, but only in small amounts. 30-50 grams of fiber will be enough for digestion.
Any starchy foods (cereals, pasta, potatoes) and sugar in any form are strongly discouraged. Almost all fruits contain a lot of sugar in one form or another, so they are also prohibited. You should always look at the composition of the product on the label, because even in a glass of milk there are about 15 grams of carbohydrates. In addition, a list of essential food additives is being studied, which should also be excluded, if only because it is harmful.
Drink plenty of water to promote weight loss. Water helps the body burn more calories and prevents constipation. Limit your caffeine intake. Exercise regularly.
Exercise can help you lose fat faster on a ketogenic diet. Walk, bike, run in the park, or work out in the gym. Introducing a daily physical activity schedule can help you maintain heart health and lose weight.
Sleep tight. During the early stages of ketosis, you may feel very tired. Sleep at least 7-8 hours a day to restore energy. Good rest will also help to lose weight.
See your doctor if you have flu-like symptoms. Many people experience fatigue and mild headaches during ketosis. Sometimes side effects become so severe that they require medical treatment.
When does the diet take effect?
The effects of ketogenic diet use begin gradually over the first 3 months after starting. Usually, long-term treatment is required (for several years, more often 2-3 years), after which continuous improvement is observed, which persists even with a regular diet. Therefore, it is not necessary to follow a ketogenic diet for life.
In many cases, the positive effects can be seen as early as the first or second week of treatment. However, sometimes within one to two months after using the diet, there is no visible effect - in this case, it is too early to conclude on the ineffectiveness of treatment, perhaps the doctor will need to calculate biochemical parameters more carefully.
In the conventional sense, this is more of a variation on the theme of therapeutic fasting followed by "loading" foods that promote ketosis. For the first three days of therapy, you should reject food completely and limit drinking only large quantities of water. Mineral water and artificial sweeteners with and without gas, as well as juice are prohibited. You can drink green tea. Water can be boiled or purified. For this period, it is necessary to reduce the physical activity of the patient, sometimes sleep breaks are indicated. The next three days should be slow, in a quarter of a regular portion, food should be introduced. In the process of choosing a product, you need to be guided by the principle of 4 parts fat to one part protein and carbohydrates.
This menu is somewhat reminiscent of the so-called fat diet for weight loss. The main thing is that you should eliminate foods such as cereals, fruits, plain bread, carrots, beets, potatoes and pasta.
Like any method of therapy, the use of a ketogenic diet in some cases is associated with some adverse reactions, the main ones of which are listed below.
- Hair loss.Some children experience rare hair loss or hair growth on the background of long-term ketogenic diet use. It is believed that this complication is mainly related to mineral deficiency.
- Linear growth delay.In some patients, developmental disorders of this type have been noted, but their association with ketogenic diets continues to be debated to this day. Increased blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels. The ketogenic diet, almost 90% of which consists of fat components, in some cases causes an increase in blood cholesterol and other lipids. At any lipid content (cholesterol - more than 800 mg%, triglycerides - more than 1000 mg%), stopping the diet is not necessary. Decreases in the ratio of fats to protein-carbohydrates from 4: 1 to 3. 5: 1 usually results in a rapid decrease in lipid levels to acceptable levels.
- Kidney stones.Complications of this ketogenic diet occur in about 1 in 6 patients. It is believed to be due to inadequate fluid intake by children. Therefore, during a ketogenic diet, urine is examined to determine its density and detect blood impurities. If necessary, ultrasound examination of the kidneys is performed.
- Drowsiness and lethargymay occur due to excessive ketosis or toxicity of antiepileptic drugs used concomitantly. Medication blood levels can be increased with a ketogenic diet even if the dose is not increased. For this reason, it is necessary to check their concentration in the blood and make a timely decrease in the dose of potentially sedative drugs such as fenobarbital and benzodiazepines.
- Constipationis usually associated with relatively small portions of food on ketogenic diets and limited water intake. Increasing the daily fluid intake by 100-150 ml helps prevent bowel movements.
- Overweightpatients are caused by excessive calorie intake, not fat. Therefore, the energy capacity of the diet while prescribing ketogenic diets must be tailored to the needs of each.
- Weight.This can be explained by some characteristics of individual metabolism, as well as the level of physical activity of the patient. If it turns out that the child's weight in 1 month has decreased 400-500 g, the energy capacity of the diet can be increased by about 100 kcal per day. Keep in mind that increasing the caloric intake of a toddler or patient with a low level of physical activity, at one time the amount of energy consumed should not be increased by more than 25 kcal.
We remind you once again that your personal menu for this diet should be compiled by a specialist!
When using a ketogenic diet, it is necessary to perform a thorough clinical and laboratory examination of the patient before starting treatment with EEG and ECG data registration, as well as biochemical blood tests.