The keto diet is a top food and health search phrase. The ketogenic diet has been popular for over a decade as a fast weight loss method, unlike fad diets like the master cleanses and grapefruit diet.
Does the keto diet assist in managing chronic conditions beyond weight loss?
Keto Diet 101
What Exactly Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The keto diet has high fat, moderate protein, and low carbs. By eating more fat than carbs, your body changes from using carbohydrates for energy to using fat.
Unless on a low-calorie ketogenic diet, macronutrient distribution is prioritized above calorie intake. Most ketogenic diet sources recommend 70 percent fat, 25 percent protein, and 5 percent (or 20 to 50g) carbs.
Why Was the Keto Diet Invented?
The ketogenic diet was developed approximately 100 years ago to treat epilepsy. Many health professionals call the keto diet a “fad diet.” However, short-term keto diet weight reduction and muscle building are new.
In the 1920s, Dr. Wilder proposed that the ketogenic diet might reduce epileptic episodes. He hypothesized that a high-fat, low-carb diet might likewise minimize epileptic episodes after seeing that fasting did. Wilder’s research concluded that a ketogenic diet helped manage epilepsy.
Researchers tested the ketogenic diet for type 2 diabetes, pediatric nutrition, and Rett syndrome before the 2000s. It is being utilized for weight reduction and sports endurance.
RELATED: Surprising Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
Science of Calories
All cells require energy to operate. Energy is needed to transfer ions in and out of cardiac myocytes, which contract muscles. Neurons require energy to transmit impulses. Chemists, food scientists, and health experts decided to use kilocalories (kCal) to assist the public in understanding how various foods contribute to their energy demands.
The body has hundreds of different cell types and an estimated 32.7 trillion cells (32,700,000,000,000 cells!). These cells need plenty of energy from meals. Cells like glucose. Glucose, a basic sugar, may be generated from protein, glycogen, or carbs. It is quickly digested and stored as glycogen in the muscles and liver for energy.
Balancing Energy Needs
Contrary to common misconception, vitamins and exercise do not “speed up” or “slow down” metabolism. Metabolic processes in the body break down macronutrients to supply energy to cells. Understanding how our bodies evolved to digest fats and carbs is the greatest approach to understanding how they affect us. This evolution is summarized below:
- Researchers believe that human cells evolved to “prefer” glucose as their major energy source because carbohydrate-rich diets have always been readily available. In contrast, fat- and protein-rich foods were limited.
- Carbohydrates are still the most affordable and accessible macronutrient.
- In abundance, our bodies store glucose and fat. This helped hunter-gatherers survive famine and seasonal hunger by drawing on fat storage.
- One theory for why digestible carbs, and hence glucose, were so crucial in the human diet was that the brain required more energy to expand. However, brain development requires dietary fat.
- Our body could temporarily use fat energy reserves when food is limited. The body breaks down adipose tissue into ketones to use stored fat. Most cells utilize ketones instead of glucose for energy. Ketones underpin the ketogenic diet.
- Protein makes hormones, muscles, enzymes and transports proteins. The body may produce glucose from muscle and food protein under specific circumstances.
Our predecessors had a very different food environment than we had. Western diets are high in