Research connects health benefits for obesity and diabetes type 2 to a ketogenic diet.
In the preceding year, you cannot walk through the checkout line without finding a headline spouting the benefits of keto. The ketogenic or keto diet is another low-carb eating plan that has gained steam in the battle against our ever-expanding waistlines. These diet strategies are effective at inducing weight loss, but they are difficult to follow and there is concern about possible long-term repercussions. Recently, I have moved to a more ketogenic diet to lose weight. Because this extreme diet is hard to maintain, I have looked for research to motivate me to remain on the diet.
Why is the diet hard to maintain? Basically, our lives are full of foods high in processed carbohydrates and our busy lifestyles limit our ability to remain true to our plans. The average American eats a diet that has a carbohydrate content averaging between 45% and 50% of daily requirements. Low-carbohydrate diets (LCDs) entail less than 45% of daily macronutrients in the form of carbohydrates. Very low-carbohydrate diets, such as Adkins and Keto, limit carbohydrate consumption to fewer than 50 grams per day. I have been eating a diet that is less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day so you can quickly see why motivation is difficult.
In my search, I found a great review from 2021 that hit the spot. The review was published in the Journal Nutrients. The study looked at multiple prior trials and concluded that, at least for short studies, keto diets can be an effective option in patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes. This effect is likely tied to the insulin resistance changes that occur with Ketosis. Ketosis helps reduce hunger and promotes water loss. Not only that but keto diets have been used for years with seizure disorders so there is little doubt that they are safe.
The bottom line: People on ketogenic diets experience weight loss because of lower insulin levels and ketosis and a diuretic effect. The diet is tough to maintain early because of the negative effects which include “keto-flu”. These symptoms include light-headedness, fatigue, dizziness, and constipation which can hinder remaining on the diet. Once you get past the keto flu, dieters can benefit from hunger suppression. These diets are not for everyone, so they should be tailored to individual needs and patients should be followed for an extended period of time. More research is clearly needed, but this review points to promise.
- Bolla, Caretto, Laurenzi, Scavini, and Piemonti, “Low-Carb and Ketogenic Diets in Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes,” Nutrients. MDPI AG, p. 962, Apr. 26, 2019 [Online]. Available: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/nu11050962