If you’re in the market for information on the keto diet for beginners, the first thing you should know is that this diet is not your typical “get rid of excess body fat diet”, but is a person-specific way of eating to help treat those with epilepsy.
The protein-controlled diet was created in the 1920s as a way to treat epileptic seizures in people, mostly children, who did not respond to medication. The diet, which is created specifically on a person-by-person basis, is designed by an experienced epilepsy specialist and dietitian.
In saying that, the ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, has become somewhat of a fad even among reality show stars and has been promoted on personal websites as a new way to eat.
The keto diet explained
The jest of the diet is low carbs and high fat. The fats come mostly from things such as butter, creams, oils and other naturally fatty foods, while including very little carbs and a moderate amount of protein. Each meal created as a medical treatment plan includes a strict ration of fat to protein and carbohydrates.
The idea behind the medical treatment diet is to reduce the number or severity of seizures suffered by those with various forms of epilepsy. While designed mainly for children, adults may also benefit from the protein-controlled way of eating by forcing the body to burn fat rather than carbs, putting the body into ketosis.
Does the keto diet work?
A 2008 clinical trial at Great Ormond Street Hospital showed that when applied to children, the diet did significantly reduce the number of seizures by half for about 38 percent of patients over a three-month span. While not all children had a reduction in seizures, others did benefit in areas such as increased alertness, responsiveness and awareness.
It is important to understand that the keto diet is not meant as a quick weight loss diet or cleanse, but again, is a high fat, low carb, low protein way of eating (as opposed to the traditional way of thinking of a diet) for those suffering from epilepsy.
How does the keto diet work?
The goal of the true keto diet is to force your body to use a different type of fuel. Instead of using sugar fuel derived from grains, fruits and vegetables, the true keto diet works on ketone bodies, a type of fuel (stored fat) produded by the liver.
If you’re a fad diet follower, then you’ll understand that the Paleo, South Beach and Atkins diets all fit into the keto category, being sometimes referred to as ketogenic or keto diets. Keto diet recipes can include naturally high fat foods such as avocados, creams, cheeses, ghee, oils and butters as well as vegetables and lean protein.
A key difference between the fad keto diet and the true ketogenic diet is that fad keto diets focus on low carbs, whereas the ketogenic diet is centered around fat consumption.
Unless you are subscribed a ketogenic diet, there are risks that come with following such a way of eating. An increase in liver problems for those who already have liver issues, constipation, nutrition deficiency and kidney problems with an overload of protein.