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How Long Should I Really Stick to the Keto Diet?

You may already know a lot about the benefits of a ketogenic diet, and you may have even followed it with positive results. However, without knowing one critical piece of information, this diet can be detrimental to your health. The key point is how long you should follow the ketogenic diet. Some people see the ketogenic diet as the healthiest diet and choose to stay on it for life, which can come with some serious risks.

Why a Ketogenic Diet Can Help You Lose Weight Fast

The ketogenic diet is considered a very effective way to lose weight quickly. It differs from the general diet in that the ketogenic diet has two main characteristics, which include high fat and very low carbohydrates.

the percentages of dietary calories in a ketogenic diet they are about 70 to 80 percent fat, 5 to 10 percent carbohydrate, and 10 to 20 percent protein. Sometimes the lipids in a ketogenic diet even provide up to 90 percent of daily calories.

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If we use the daily dietary intake With 2,000 kcal as a standard, a ketogenic diet requires carbohydrate intake to be 20 to 50 grams, and not to exceed 50 grams. This means strict control of carbohydrates. As you may know, a medium banana has 27 grams of carbohydrates.

When daily carbohydrate intake is restricted to less than 50 grams, insulin secretion is significantly reduced. When carbohydrate availability is low and glycogen storage is depleted, the body is forced to undergo certain metabolic changes, such as “gluconeogenesis” and “ketosis.”

Gluconeogenesis is the endogenous production of glucose, and this process occurs primarily in the liver. The liver uses other substances, such as lactic acid, glycerol, and amino acids, to make glucose.

When endogenous glucose is also unable to meet the body’s energy needs, the body begins to use fats to produce ketone bodies to replace glucose as the body’s energy source.

During ketosis, blood sugar is relatively low and relatively little insulin is secreted. This corresponds to a decrease in glucose storage and a decrease in fat production. At the same time, other hormonal changes can stimulate the breakdown of fats and convert them into ketone bodies, which accumulate in the body. This metabolic state is called nutritional ketosis. In the state of nutritional ketosis, the energy demands of organs and tissues are met primarily by ketones and fatty acids. Nutritional ketosis is considered relatively safe for a certain period of time.

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Ketone bodies, also known as “superfuels”, produce more energy than glucose, i.e. adenosine triphosphate (ATP). This allows the body to produce energy efficiently even in caloric deficits. Ketone bodies can supply energy to the heart, muscle tissues, and kidneys; and they can also cross the blood-brain barrier to provide alternative energy to the brain.

As the state of nutritional ketosis continues, feelings of hunger decrease and overall caloric intake decreases, helping to further reduce weight. Compared to a low-fat diet, another benefit of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that it can maintain basal metabolism without consuming a lot of muscle.

Experiments have also shown that, in addition to being a good source of energy for the body, ketone bodies can also reduce free radical damage, improve endogenous antioxidant capacity, and reduce inflammation, with a positive impact on longevity and health.

6 to 12 Months of Highly Efficient Keto for Weight Loss, Beneficial for Health

In recent years, the ketogenic diet has received increasing attention and admiration. In addition to effective weight loss in a short period of time, it has also been shown to improve a number of indicators in the human body, such as lowering blood lipids in a short period of time.

The best duration of a ketogenic diet is 6 to 12 months. After this period of time, especially after two years, the positive effects of the diet may no longer be apparent.

A general revision published in “Obesity Reviews” conducted an overview of low-carbohydrate diets. He found that during the first 6 months and between 6 and 11 months, several indicators related to obesity and poor health were significantly reduced.

Between 6 and 11 months, direct indicators of weight loss, such as waist circumference, weight, and fasting blood sugar, continued to decline. However, BMI and blood insulin levels stopped falling and plateaued. The calming and regulating effects of the diet on blood pressure were also weakened.

vintage photo

vintage photo

Entering the period between 12 and 23 months, except for the fasting plasma glucose index, which continues to decline, most other indicators have stopped falling, and have even started to rise. At 24 months, many indicators were close to zero change, and the fasting plasma glucose index even increased.

Institutions like the University of Florida have more study the impact of ketogenic diet duration on health.

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The study found that during the first 6 to 12 months, decreases in blood pressure, triglycerides, and glycosylated hemoglobin, as well as increases in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (good cholesterol), and weight loss could be seen.

However, after 12 months of following the ketogenic diet, these effects generally disappeared.

After following the ketogenic diet for more than a year, blood lipids increased

The ketogenic diet allows the use of some healthy unsaturated fats such as nuts (almonds, walnuts), seeds, avocados, tofu, and olive oil. However, in addition, people are also encouraged to consume saturated fats in palm oil, coconut oil, lard, butter, and cocoa butter in large amounts.

Compared to a low-fat diet, following a ketogenic diet for too long can lead to abnormal health indicators, such as low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, which is an increase in blood lipids that can lead to the development of atherosclerosis and increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The researchers conducted experiments comparing 12 relatively convincing low-fat diets and the ketogenic diet, with 1,258 participants. All experiment durations reached or exceeded 12 months. the results showed that following a low-carb ketogenic diet for up to a year resulted in significantly higher blood lipids than a calorie-restricted low-fat diet.

vintage photo

vintage photo

At least the ketogenic diet has relatively little regulatory effect on blood lipids, and may even increase blood lipids.

Also, some people may not be able to control their carbohydrate intake by 5 to 10 percent when following a ketogenic diet. Instead, their carbohydrate intake is above standard, while their fat intake is relatively low, and their protein intake remains similar but at relatively low levels. The problem with this diet is the increase in blood lipids.

For example, a to study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed that, compared to those who followed a low-fat diet, those who followed a low-carbohydrate diet (the proportions of carbohydrates, fat, and protein were 30, 45, and 23 percent , respectively) had significantly elevated blood lipids. People in the low-fat diet group (the proportions of carbohydrates, fat and protein were 48 percent, 29 percent and 21 percent, respectively) did not have this problem, and their blood lipids were reduced.

vintage photo

vintage photo

The scientists’ explanation is that low carbohydrate intake inhibits insulin production, which in turn inhibits the action of some enzymes, while stimulating the production of other enzymes, which “inadvertently” raises blood lipids , which can promote atherosclerosis.

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Extended keto can lead to anemia and reduced antioxidant capacity

Currently there few conclusions on the long-term effects of the ketogenic diet on the human body. Through animal experiments to simulate the effects of long-term intake of ketogenic diets on the human body, it was discovered that long-term ketosis can lead to metabolic acidosis, anemia, and reduced levels of antioxidants.

The study found that some physical indicators of rats that followed the ketogenic diet for 60 consecutive days had worsened, with 60 days in adult laboratory rats equivalent to 4 years in humans.

Among them, a distinctive change is that the ketogenic diet increases ketone bodies in the rats’ blood; their blood pH values ​​drop and acidosis occurs in them. In addition, the rats developed anemia, with significantly lower red blood cell and hemoglobin counts.

Long-term ketogenic diets also aggravated lipid peroxidation in the liver and kidneys. At the same time, there is a decrease in superoxide dismutase (SOD), a substance that represents the level of antioxidants in the blood.

vintage photo

vintage photo

The worst of the best diets? Other Side Effects of Long-Term Ketosis

“US News & World Report” invited various experts to rate the world top 40 diets. While the ketogenic diet ranks fourth in the best diets for fast weight loss category, it ranks only 19th in the best diets for weight loss category. And it ranks 35th in both the Best Heart-Healthy Diets and Easiest Diets to Follow categories. It ranks 37th in the overall best diets category; And in the category of best diets for health, the ketogenic diet actually ranks lowest.

The ketogenic diet severely restricts carbohydrate intake, so many vegetables, fruits, and grains are removed from the menu. This can lead to deficiencies in micronutrients such as selenium, magnesium, phosphorous, vitamin B, and vitamin C.

Restricted grains and legumes are high in fiber. Losing these sources of fiber, in addition to increasing the risk of cardiovascular disease, can also affect intestinal function and lead to constipation.

The human brain needs the sugar in healthy carbohydrates to function well, and a low-carb diet can lead to irritability.

Also, long-term Side effects of the ketogenic diet can include fatty liver, kidney stones, hypoproteinemia, and vitamin deficiency.

Remember to check how you feel on any diet plan.


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