5 Proven Keto Diet Benefits [+5 Side Effects to Watch for]

  • Usman 
benefits-of-keto-diet

The keto diet follows a pattern of restricting your calories by consuming low carbohydrates and a high-fat diet. There are many benefits of keto diet which entices people to opt for a ketogenic diet nowadays, and of course, the main reason is weight loss.

The ketogenic diet has gained a lot of fame recently. Despite its role in weight loss, it has been shown to help in many medical conditions. You might get attracted to transformation pictures and success stories of people following this diet, as they may have stolen everyone’s heart.

Normalized blood pressure, diabetes reversal, and favorable changes in metabolic syndrome are among the benefits people experience by changing their way of living and switching to keto diet.

In these times of Covid pandemic, need for an effective diet plan is more in demand, as due to severe lock-downs and self-isolation, many people started relying more on processed and unhealthy foods. The closing of gyms and parks have made the situation even worse, leaving us more sluggish and inactive. Thus, there is no doubt that we might see ourselves at risk of obesity if this persists for a more extended period.  

All the diets have some benefits and some side effects; it’s all about what suits you the best. Before blindly following a diet, you need to focus on how it will affect all aspects of your life, especially your lifestyle and finances.

Benefits of Keto Diet

We will review the benefits of keto diet, and the side effects that ketogenic diet may bring with it.

Weight loss

One of the primary reasons people follow this low carb diet is the amount of weight loss. People often complain of adopting many diets and exercises to shed weight, but they say nothing has worked for them so far.

It is termed as thriving by people as they find it more comfortable and fruitful. People often compliment it by saying that keto has become their lifestyle more than a diet. Now they can enjoy amazing foods, i.e. high-fat foods, without counting on calories. 

A handful of different studies also supported that a low carb diet has a significant role in reducing weight and belly fat.

Reduces your appetite

Common advice you might have heard is that it’s easy to shed weight on any diet-just you have to eat fewer calories than burn-Right? But this advice ignores a major factor i.e “hunger.”

People often give up on any diet due to unwanted and uncontrollable hunger pangs. Most of the diets are not considered as sustainable as the weight you lose is gained back quickly. The feeling of hunger and unsatisfied could be the main culprits behind it. Your hunger can be your worst enemy. That’s why people get frustrated and give up easily in achieving their target weight loss goals. 

Here comes the point where Keto has an advantage over other eating plans, which reduces your desire to eat. You will notice a decrease in your desire to eat, along with lesser cravings for unhealthy snacks. Many people feel less hungry as fatty foods take a longer time to break down in their bodies.

As per a Pub Med study, you will notice a suppression in your appetite, as fats and proteins provide a feeling of fullness. Thus, a low carb diet reduces your hunger, and eating less can be much easier than before.

Keto is proven to treat epilepsy in children.

You might have heard this keto diet’s name like 1 to 2 years before, but it has its origin since the 1920s. Initially, it was designed to treat children with epilepsy. Doctors have been therapeutically using it to reduce seizure in children who don’t respond to medications alone.

According to studies by the Epilepsy Foundation, it has been studied that the keto diet may have been proven helpful in reducing the number of seizures. A drastic decrease in the number of strokes, up to 50%, has been reported in children fed with a ketogenic diet.

In addition to this Keto also has been found beneficial for brain function apart from controlling seizures. As per a PUB Med study, an improvement was seen in various brain patterns in almost 65% of children who followed a ketogenic diet.

Improves Metabolic Syndrome

Besides weight loss, Keto is being adopted to treat a lot of other diseases too. Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of risky health factors, including high blood pressure, low levels of good cholesterol, and abdominal obesity.

According to the study conducted on adults with a metabolic disorder, following a ketogenic diet for ten weeks has shed more weight and fat than people who followed other diets.

 Different studies have also agreed with it as they found it useful in improving cardiovascular disease, diabetes and lowers blood pressure markers (12).

Positive effects on Diabetes Management

Almost 50% of all U.S. adults suffer from diabetes or prediabetes, and around 90% aren’t even aware.

The ketogenic diet is widely believed to bring about significant changes in diabetes. In some cases, people even discontinued their medicines as values were back to normal with this diet pattern. 

With the backing of several studies and trials conducted over the years, it appears that diabetes has shown a positive response to a ketogenic diet, as severity of diabetes considerably improved along with other health benefits (34)

Eating fats and losing weight.

Some people restrict some food groups to lose weight while others keep on eating in the hope to shed weight. It will not surprise you if we say that fats and carbs are two fuel sources for the body. If you restrict intake of one, you must consume another in handsome amount.

Eating high-fat foods and shedding weight goes hand in hand with a ketogenic diet. It gains everyone’s attention when they find that to lose weight is not difficult even by eating their favorite high-fat foods like cheese, butter, meats and fatty fish.

Learning the amount of fat, you can eat would be a tremendous help, as you are allowed to consume 70 to 80 % of your calories from fats. These fats supply your body with energy, and the body burns them as fuel.

Side effects of keto diet

There seem a lot of controversies and myths about the ketogenic diet. Despite the impressive benefits that a low carb ketogenic diet has, it’s not for everyone. Just like any other diet, it has its downside too.

So, if you are planning to start keto diet reading about keto diet benefits, you should also know whether it’s fit for you because there are some keto side effects. Some of the important side effects of keto diet are discussed below.

No more social gatherings

As we all know, most of our social gatherings revolve around food. When following any specific diet, it gets tough for people to find suitable keto diet menus at every restaurant. So, you might get the feeling of being left alone and under pressure.

Most of the time, people dine out because of their busy schedules, as they don’t have time to cook or are too tired or to attend families get together. There are chances that you get influenced by your family’s choices and will end up ordering a burger also.

It is most likely that after eating your favorite food, you will develop a feeling of guilt and inadequacy. Simultaneously, restricting so many food choices will lead to creating a negative association of your body with food. It can be mentally and physically damaging and frustrating.

So never join a track that let you feel unhappy and lonely. Enjoy your food and enjoy your life, but moderation should be the key.

Difficult to sustain

This drawback of keto diet holds true for many other diets too. When people start a diet, they feel very motivated about it. As the weeks pass on, their behaviour and stamina begin to change. They find it difficult to sustain it for long. This is the point where you notice a lapse in success.

People mostly find it hard to follow in the long run because it’s a complete shift from what your body is used to. As when people get back to their routine and start eating carbs, chances are higher that the weight they have shed will also come back.

Every time you are not under similar circumstances. Some people eat in stress, some like to munch on something while watching TV. It becomes challenging and unrealistic to look up calories all the time. 

When you micromanage your food intake, it disconnects you from hearing what your body needs and monitoring foods in such a manner will lead you towards binge eating.

There is also no hand pack of proven research on whether ketogenic followers will regain weight or suffer from other health consequences in the future.

Risk of nutritional deficiencies

As whole grain foods are excluded from the diet, nutrients from certain food groups like legumes, fruits and whole-grain are cut, which may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Lack of fiber may cause constipation.

Thus to feel satisfied by eating a limited variety of food groups and missing some of the more pleasurable foods like fruit, rice dishes, pasta or ice cream becomes challenging. You will find yourself weak and lousy, especially if the diet is followed incorrectly or without proper guidance.

Thus, don’t go after the scale blindly; you need to monitor your health too. Therefore, it’s vital to consult a dietician beforehand if you don’t want to suffer from any nutritional deficiencies as a side effect of keto diet.

You might suffer from Keto flu.

During the transition period of keto diet, as your body switches over its fuel supply from glucose to ketones, you may experience symptoms of lightheadedness, irritability, diarrhea, and brain fog. People often report feeling foggy and tired by following it.

Such uncomfortable side effects which occur due to restriction of carbs are known as “keto flu.” These symptoms can last for several days. So, you have to bear them for some time.

Risk of heart, kidney and other diseases

Beginners of the keto diet are mostly unfamiliar that the body does not metabolize all fats in the same way. When you prioritize fats consumption over other macro-nutrients, it can lead to an increased risk of heart diseases.

As per studies, around 10% of people suffer from kidney stones due to a lack of fiber during a ketogenic diet.  

It is essential to discuss any of your intended plans with a physician or dietician, especially if you are suffering from any disease or metabolic syndrome.

While keto diet benefits are well established but it’s mandatory not only to monitor your scale but also know how you feel. If you are looking to start Keto, keep in mind that the diet requires a complete shift to the way you usually eat. Thus, to be on the safe side, always ask your doctor if it’s right for you or not and discuss keto diet side effects as well. You may also like to read our post on 7 keto diet mistakes you must avoid.

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Muhammad Usman

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