The Keto Diet is an eating plan that focuses on restricting carbohydrates in the diet. The goal is to eat 5% or less of your daily calories from carbs. A general rule of thumb is to eat no more than 30g of carbs per day. As an example this would equate to 1 medium banana worth of carbs.
The aim of the ketogenic diet is to get your body to burn fat to produce ketones as the energy source that your body runs on. The theory is that your brain and body perform way better on the cleaner fuel of ketones as opposed to your body’s default energy source of glucose (broken down from carbs).
Although there seems to be a lack of long-term scientific studies into the Ketogenic Diet it is generally considered to be safe for most people. However the following groups should avoid it or seek medical advice before embarking on the plan:
As you are changing your body’s default metabolism mode from burning glucose from carbs to burning fat to produce ketones some potential side like headaches, brain fog, dizziness/confusion, irritability, fatigue and nausea can pop up in the first few weeks of the diet. These flu like symptoms are commonly referred to as “Keto Flu”.
Keto Flu primarily happens because your body needs some time to adjust to running on fat instead of carbs. So time can be the best cure for Keto Flu.
Other factors/causes may play a part in Keto Flu – below are the 5 most common along with the remedy:
When you follow the keto diet and your body starts burning fat to produce Ketones. There are 3 types of Ketone Bodies that your body produces:
When you have an excess of Ketones your body passes this excess via your urine or breath. Acetone is an ingredient in nail polish remover which can explain the strange, sweet smell of your breath. It’s actually a good sign that you are in Ketosis (burning fat to produce Ketones) if there are Acetones on your breath. Unfortunately it’s unavoidable apart from gargling with some natural mouthwash (minus the fake or natural sweeteners).
Additionally if you eat loads of protein on the keto diet your body uses ammonia to break down the protein and any excess ammonia gets excreted via your urine or breath. Ammonia has a super strong chemical like smell similar to cleaning products.
So if you want to eliminate the Ammonia smell you need to cut back on the protein you are eating.
It’s fairly common for those new to the Keto diet to be diagnosed with high cholesterol. But first check these 2 ratios:
If you are outside of the limits indicated above the following remedies should fix the issue:
Some people who go on the Keto Diet suffer hair loss. This can be disconcerting when you are losing weight and feeling good, then your hair falls out!
The most common cause of unexplained hair loss is rapid weight loss or a change in diet. If this is the cause it is likely only a temporary change and the thickness of your hair should remain unaltered.
If you are eating a keto diet high in Omega 6 and depleted of essential nutrients like selenium and iodine this can lower Thyroid producing hormones like triiodothyronine (T3). So you should get your thyroid checked if this is the case. It is best to eat properly from the start by avoiding to many Omega 6’s and maintaining essential nutrients.
I definitely believe Keto works and in my opinion has numerous health benefits and also supports a healthy weight.
The trouble I have personally is that I love Carbohydrates. I like having a beer or two and I enjoy a glass of wine or a jacket potato / baked potato. I also personally believe that it is hard to be fully social and stick to a Keto diet long-term. Life happens, birthday dinners happen, 40th trips away to Lisbon happen!
I applaud anybody who can keep the Keto diet up long term. Perhaps the answer is to follow it for 3-4 days a week and then loosen the reins a bit the remaining days of the week?