You can’t open a magazine or attend a party without hearing someone talk about the ketogenic diet. Recently, this diet has gained popularity as a weight loss tool but did you know that it has been used to treat epilepsy since the 1920’s? In simplified terms, when the body is deficient in glucose for energy, fat is broken down into ketone bodies, which provides fuel for the brain.
Although there are several variations of the ketogenic diet, the “classic” version is the one that has been utilized for seizure management of epilepsy patients. There are many ways “classic” keto can go wrong, which could mean your body continues to switch fuel sources. Here’s breakdown of classic keto calories: 90% fat, 6% protein and 4% carbohydrates.
Ways the Keto Diet May Be Done Incorrectly
You are Going Overboard on Protein
Classic keto typically provides 90% of calories from fat – think oils and whipping cream. However, some individuals are instead consuming high amounts of animal protein. While fish, organ meats and wild game are a part of the diet, too much can impact ketosis. If you are following a keto plan, ensure you have an outline of the types of foods you should eat and how much. Strategic calculation of a ketogenic plan is essential to keep your body utilizing ketones for fuel consistently.
You are Having “Cheat Days”
Cycling off and on any diet can be dangerous and may even lead to increased weight later on. Getting off and on the keto train can decrease energy and alter metabolism. You are shifting how your body gets energy - changing this every few days could make your body work harder than it needs to. If you have a hard time resisting sweet and high carbohydrate foods, the ketogenic plan may not be the best eating pattern for you.
Your Following the Keto Plan you Found on Pinterest
Please don’t try to adopt this new eating plan on your own. This creates room for confusion and susceptibility to false information. While Pinterest can be a wonderful resource, there may be a lot of variety and opinions out there. Have a game plan so you can spot variations that don’t fit. Consult a provider you trust to run labs, discuss your current health status and review medications to ensure a keto diet is appropriate for you.
The ketogenic diet can be done well or poorly. Perhaps the stakes are a bit higher with keto as it has strict guidelines for fruit, grains and starchy vegetables. That being said, it can be a beneficial therapeutic diet for certain individuals, especially the well-studied effects on those with epilepsy. If you want to learn more about the history and variations of the ketogenic diet, check out the Charlie Foundation's website.