What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a nutritional strategy based on the reduction of carbohydrates intake, which “obliges” the body to independently produce the glucose necessary for survival and to increase the energy consumption of the fats contained in the adipose tissue.
There is not a unique type of ketogenic diet and all dietary styles that provide less than necessary calories, carbohydrates, and sometimes proteins are ketogenic. For example, the Atkins diet and the LCHF diet (low carb, high fat) certainly are low carb and potentially ketogenic.
Ketogenic diets can have many advantages:
- They facilitate weight loss thanks to:
- Reduction of total calories
- Maintaining constant blood sugar and insulin levels
- Increased consumption of body fat for energy purposes
- Increased calorie expenditure due to increased metabolic work
- They have an effect on reducing appetite
- They can be useful in countering the symptoms of non-responsive epilepsy, especially in children.
They also come with some disadvantages:
- Increased renal filtration and diuresis (excretion of ketone bodies and nitrogen waste)
- Tendency to dehydration
- Increased kidney workload
- The possible toxic effect on the kidneys by ketone bodies
- Possible hypoglycemia
- Possible hypotension
- Keto-flue, a syndrome linked to the poor adaptation of the organism after 2-3 days from the beginning of the ketogenic diet.
- In the presence of intense and/or prolonged motor activity, muscle catabolism
- They are often unbalanced and tend to limit the intake of some very important nutrients