What is a ketogenic diet?Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock
It’s actually really simple: The diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrates. I decided to give it a try because I wanted to lose fat and had already started transitioning to a lower carb diet. Ketogenic was the next logical move to target the extra fat on my body. (It’s also its way to becoming one of the more popular diet styles to try.)
According to nutritionist Vanessa Rissetto, RD, “The ketogenic diet forces the body to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. When you go through periods of following a carbohydrate-restricted diet, you deplete glycogen stores from the muscles.” The result is that the body is forced to convert fat stores to glucose to provide energy for your muscles.
How safe is a ketogenic diet?Syda Productions/Shutterstock
There are questions, but there are also some impressive success stories with the ketogenic diet. Obviously before starting any new diet plan, you want to make sure that you talk with your doctor. I had hired a health coach to help me get on the keto diet plan, which was right for my goals, but everyone’s body is different. I have a friend who started the diet, lost weight, but when she went in for a check-up with her doctor, found that her cholesterol was through the roof. I was worried that might happen to me, so I spoke with Jennifer Stagg, ND, naturopathic physician and author of Unzip Your Genes: 5 Choices To Reveal A Radically Radiant You. Dr. Stagg informed me that, “Ketogenic diets have been used as a medical treatment for epilepsy for more about 90 years. They are relatively safe but there are certain people with genetic disorders for whom the diet is contraindicated.” Some people have experienced side effects like dizziness, weakness, and change in bowel habits on this diet; and some have more significant problems like increased cholesterol, gallstones, kidney stones and elevated liver enzymes, she explains. Also, a recent study looking at physical performance found that the diet can reduce endurance and peak performance, leading ot faster exhaustion. This suggests the ketogenic plan is not the best diet for athletes.