When starting the ketogenic diet the body will see changes fairly soon if done right. The body will enter ketosis and start losing weight, more energy, mental clarity and much more. However many people want to know if these result are lasting, and if you can stay on a keto diet more than just short term.
There are also very many famous people who utilize the keto diet frequently not only for fat burning, but also for helping to build lean muscle. For example, the famous basketball player LeBron James began doing keto in 2014 and he ended up combining this with exercise. He became a better and healthier basketball player, both losing weight, and building lean muscle, as well as cognitive function. And many other celebrities follow the same rules. While they are not always on them, there are other normal people who actually are on a sustainable keto diet because they’ve developed the taste for the foods that they ate after they started the keto diet. These claims wouldn’t be out there if you couldn’t stay on the keto diet, as some people have been doing for years. Their argument? If a diet such as the Mediterranean diet is sustainable, then why can’t keto be?
The body uses glucose from carbohydrates as its main source of fuel; however when in ketosis the body uses ketones for fuel which in turn burns body fat instead. This process is known as ketosis.
In order to achieve the metabolic state of ketosis a strict diet needs to be followed. The diet consists of high fats, low carbohydrates and adequate proteins. The process is not as simple as it seems though. Ketosis takes time and commitment as well as life style changes.
This process is worth the time it takes to go in affect though, as the body gains many benefits from the changes made. Everyone’s body is different and may take longer or shorter periods to reach ketosis.
Eating on the Keto Diet
Low sugar fruits in moderation – These consist of smaller amounts of berries being careful to watch carb intake.
Dairy- When consuming dairy it needs to high quality. Items that are consumable from dairy are full fat cheese, sour cream, full fat unsweetened yogurt and heavy creams while on a keto diet.
Fats- Fats that are healthy will allow your body to stay full longer and will not kick you from the state of ketosis. These types of fats include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, ghee, avocados, nuts, grass fed butters and seeds.
Low carb vegetables – Green vegetables such as kale, spinach, asparagus and broccoli are great for getting micronutrients the body needs.
Protein – Proteins should be high quality grass fed of wild caught, you will want fatty cuts of meat so that you have healthy fats to burn. A few that are great for keto diets are: grass fed beef, chicken, salmon, mackerel, tuna, organic whole eggs, pork, lamb and goat.
What not to eat
Beans and legumes – Many beans and legumes are loaded with carbohydrates with protein and very small amounts of fat. This contradicts the keto diet by having so many carbs and so little healthy fat.
High sugar and low fiber fruits- Most fruits are high in natural sugars such as pineapple, papaya, tangerines and mangos. Berries are more acceptable for fruit and even they should be moderated as they contain natural sugars as well. The avocado is considered to be a fruit and is an exception to the rule as it offers high fat and fiber content. When you eat sugary foods even those that are natural the body can be kicked out of the state of ketosis.
Whole grains and processed- Grains like wheat, rice, corn, millet, rye, oats, barley and quinoa are all loaded with carbohydrates. Even a half cup of a lower carb grain can contain the daily amount of carbs allowed on the keto diet.
Starchy vegetables- Starchy vegetables such as yams, carrots, potatoes, parsnips and peas should also be avoided with the keto diet. Most of these starchy vegetables are capable of spiking blood sugar and block ketone production.
Is Ketogenic bad for health?
For many years we have been told that fats are bad for us, that fats make us fat. The ketogenic diet pushes for healthy fat consumption which to some no fats seems healthy. Growing up we learned with the food pyramid that some fats were healthy though.
Despite the fact that doctors have been saying that fat consumption is bad for nearly 70 years now there has been many researches and studies done on how the ketogenic diet and the state of ketosis works with the body.
The ketogenic diet may not be for everyone as some people may have health risks and this type of diet may pose a risk to their long-term health. More often than not though, the keto diet is more beneficial to most people who have health problems.
Is keto bad for kidneys?
Some people have talked about the risks of kidney disease and kidney stones caused by the keto diet. These ideas come from the fact that too much protein is dangerous for our kidneys, it isn’t a lie. There are many diets that promote high protein intake and the keto diet doesn’t promote higher intakes it promotes healthy intake based on ones need with activity levels. These levels and the amount of proteins needed daily are calculated with a macronutrient calculator with specific algorithms in place for health.
The keto diet is based on low carb, not high protein. The low carbohydrate intake has been proven to beneficial to kidney health. High blood glucose caused by too many carbs has been known to cause significantly more damage to the kidneys than the ways of the keto diet. That being said, the keto diet has shown to reverse affects of diabetes or at least lower symptoms caused by diabetes.
Is the ketogenic diet bad for the heart?
As stated previously there have been several studies as well as research done on the keto diet and its effects on the body. Studies have found that eating a keto diet has benefits for dieters on several markers for heart disease. Keto diet helps people with high blood pressure, higher body mass index, chronic high blood glucose, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides.
Once in the state of ketosis the body has more anti inflammatory brought on by BHB which is a ketone found in blood. Calming inflammation is great for relief and to prevent heart disease. If the body benefits from ketosis and can in fact prevent heart disease, protect kidneys, and lower blood sugar levels then what is the fuss? The main worry from many is thinking that a very low carb high fat diet may cause negative issues down the road and may not be sustainable.
Is keto sustainable long term?
The question for many skeptics is that we know there are benefits of a low carb and high fat diet for short term but can your body handle the diet long term? The truth is the research is still in the working on long term effects of the ketogenic diet. The diet has only been in mainstream attention the past couple years. It is also difficult to have long term research in humans. To do so they would need to be in controlled environments that stick to keto life style changes. Without a controlled environment the research can be difficult to conclude as people often cheat or do things differently than what is expected. We can’t trust that everyone who would participate in a study long term would be honest about every detail.
We can go by what history has shown with ancestors long ago and how life was. We can use the studies we do have today to help predict outcomes. These things are not true as they are predicted and from history that was not documented entirely.
Science backing sustainable keto
Being in the state of ketosis for more than a year is possible and the body will lower blood glucose, change BMI having healthier weights, help with blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and triglycerides. If the body couldn’t handle ketones then we wouldn’t be able to see so many benefits from the state of ketosis.
Ketosis and Inflammation
Many diseases can be stemmed from inflammation or help cause inflammation. The ketone body known as beta hydroxybutyrate (BHB) has been studied and found that it has the ability to block inflammatory receptors. This means when in the state of ketosis the body has inflammatory blocking chemicals flowing through the blood regularly and naturally to help prevent diseases associated with inflammation. Inflammation is link to almost all chronic diseases including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. The science behind ketosis and inflammation is that ketosis helps control inflammation which helps in protecting the body from complicated diseases.
Ketosis is easy for life style changes long term
One of the single hardest parts of being on a keto diet is finding keto friendly foods which can be found easier today than a few years ago. When people first started following the keto diet they had more issues finding keto friendly food when on the go, which is why it was harder for long term use. Today there are many options every where one might go, even McDonalds can be keto friendly once you know how to spot what is keto friendly. Ordering food without breads or condiments is one way of keeping a meal keto friendly.
Keto long term precautions
The science hasn’t proved that there are definite long term effects, we do know there are things to be cautious of though. Knowing what to take precaution to actually helps make keto for long term use easier and more acceptable.
When following the keto life style long term there is a possibility of micronutrient deficiencies over time. It is possible to get your micronutrients, but the diet is restrictive so many people eat the same foods repeatedly which can cause important micronutrients to become deficient. To avoid these deficiencies one needs to consume low carb veggies and to make sure that you know which micronutrients are covered by each one, if need be switch them up. Meats also need to be switched up from time to time to provide adequate micronutrients from them as well.
To ensure you are getting all of your micronutrients and don’t become fatigued, dizzy, have digestive issues or any other issues down the road talk with your doctor. Many doctors are for the keto diet and are aware of possible negative side effects .They will gladly help ensure you’re staying healthy and draw bloods to find levels.
Nourish the Microbiome
Thinking of lack food diversity still the lack of diversity could also cause issues with the gut microbiome. The microbiome protects our body from germs and breaks down food and helps produce vitamins. In order to protect the microbiome we need to make sure that the body gets plenty of fiber. The keto diet isn’t as fiber aware as some diets. In order to get plenty of fiber needed get plenty of low carb veggies, nuts, and seeds.
Getting enough calories
Many diets restrict caloric intake however with the keto diet one may feel fuller longer and it will become much easier to control hunger by your own will. Staying full longer is a natural effect of being in a ketosis state as it helps regulate hunger hormones. This is great for many people as dieting can be hard on the body and leave peoples stomach growling or even hurting due to still being hungry. However, the feeling of staying full longer can have serious side effects when it comes to caloric needs. Tracking caloric intake is important to assure you are getting all that your body does need, it should be recalculated every couple of months as well. As your body changes your calorie needs will change as well.
Supplementing is going to be needed even if it is only here and there. Supplementing is a great way to ensure the body gets what it needs to stay on the right track. Some supplements that many people use to help their bodies stay healthy include the following.
Electrolytes – Electrolytes are chemicals that regulate nerve and muscle function. When these become scarce the body cramps. Electrolytes are used even more often when in ketosis so it is important to keep them up.
Micronutrients- As we have read some times it is hard to get all of our micronutrients when following the keto diet. It is important to change up our foods to ensure that levels stay well balanced.
Whey protein – On the keto diet you are likely to find that hunger stays satisfied whey protein is a way to provide more than just protein to the system. It has many other nutrients that support biological effects and is one of the best studied supplements worldwide.
It is important to avoid a food rut. This can happen due to not feeling hungry or getting tired of thinking about what foods are good or bad. These can be hard on the body when it comes to motivation to eat.
In order for keto to continue to be sustainable long term one needs to keep variety to food, this can be done by finding recipes that are keto friendly for snacks and meals. Switch up the foods you are used to for new foods that are healthy to the keto diet.
The pros and cons
While studies have shown great benefits to the keto diet and the body there are many things to worry about for some. It is still hard to argue with those benefits. The keto diet can control blood sugar levels, protect the body from inflammation, keep cholesterol levels in check, and protect the body against other chronic diseases and illnesses.
The cons are the usual cons of any diet, having to be proactive and keep up with tracking and record taking. Needing to ensure you get all your daily needs. Most of the cons are easily avoidable though. Learning about the keto diet and ways to adjust it to personal needs helps allow for the con of the keto life style to not be a con at all.
There isn’t enough research out there on the long term effects of the keto diet. Right now a list of cons cannot put the keto diet trend to bed, as all we have seen in studies and research are the benefits of the diet. If this isn’t good news for someone thinking of using the keto diet there are other options. If the short term sounds better, go short term keto diet. Switch up when and how you need as time goes on. As time goes on you may find yourself going long term because the benefits show for themselves and who would want to not have those?
Keeping up with tracking and recordings of caloric consumption, activity levels, weigh-ins, and health checkups will allow for the keto diet to be more adjustable and not seem as though it is the same diet. As your physique changes, your needs will change as well. The longer one is on the keto diet the more they will see going through past recording that even small changes here and there have paved the way for a better outlook on oneself as a whole.
The body will have better mental health, better physical health, feel better inside and out as well as be better. As the body sheds weight, builds muscle, and has better internal health, a person will have a better mental clarity as well as have a boost of self confidence.
It takes a lot of motivation and changing at the beginning of the keto diet as well as research. The research one needs to do is about what to eat what not to eat, health benefits, properly calculating personal needs, how to track and record and why, as well as learning about possible down sides to the keto diet.
There are many changes that need to be done, as well as many levels that need to be watched in order for ketosis to work correctly with personal needs. One needs to stay tuned in to their own body to see symptoms that may not be great for long term health. Staying in tune with your own body and talking to your primary care doctor can help aid in long term goals. There are many ways to avoid the negative side of following the keto diet and staying up to date on new studies and research are great ways to do so.
The keto diet is still newer to mainstream and although there have been many studies and researches done they have not been able to conduct long term effects of being on a keto diet. What we do know is that our ancestor’s bodies were often in a state of ketosis due to having scarce availability to foods. Most of these ancestors were rather healthy as long as they were able to find means to keep up with body needs. Those who were not did suffer from starvation, which is another issue that is easily avoidable today with many foods being easy to access. This is what we do have to go on based on history and the short term effects that have been studied. Together the information looks fairly positive with many ways to counteract negatives the diet may bring.
If one is unsure of the effects of the keto diet they can talk with their doctor and talk about how it can be beneficial for one’s health compared to where they are with health at the time. To compare even the short term benefits to your current health can be the deciding factor on if the diet is worth a try. Once the diet is started will depend on how motivated you are to stick to it long term or to move on.