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What is the keto diet? Weight loss diet explained

By Vaseline May31,2024


Weight loss and overall health benefits are the top two reasons why people choose to start the ketogenic diet, according to recent research.

In recent years, the diet colloquially known as “keto” has become a popular weight loss mechanism. But is this actually your best choice?

“Restrictive dieting is really not necessary and is usually counterproductive for most people,” dietitian Jamie Nadeau tells USA TODAY. “Not only do most people regain the weight after the diet becomes unsustainable, but many also end up with disordered behavior around eating. … It often makes you feel like there is something wrong with you or that you have no willpower, while it In reality the diet is setting you up for failure.”

Here’s what health experts want you to know about the Keto diet.

What is the keto diet?

Originally developed as a diet to treat epilepsy in children, the keto diet has become a popular weight-loss mechanism for adults, Nadeau says.

It’s a low-carb diet, but instead of focusing on protein like many others do, it emphasizes consuming higher amounts of fat — and especially saturated fats, including butter, lard and palm or coconut oil, according to Harvard Health .

“It puts you in a state called ketosis, which causes your body to burn fat instead of glucose,” explains Nadeau.

From a dietitian’s perspective, that can be troubling because it deprioritizes many foods known to contain essential nutrients, including whole grains, legumes and fruits, she adds. Health experts also say that diets high in saturated fats are linked to heart disease, and that keto in particular also poses risks, including liver and kidney problems, constipation and mood swings.

How quickly do you lose weight on keto?

While rapid weight loss is a common goal with diets like keto, Nadeau emphasizes that it’s “fairly unsustainable” for most people.

“Even if you lose weight initially, and many do, you will likely gain it back if the diet becomes unsustainable,” she says. “In fact, many people who initially lose weight on keto end up regaining the weight they lost, plus a lot more.”

Harvard Health recommends that if keto is used for weight loss, it is only used as a short-term means to jump-start weight loss and not as a long-term solution.

If you want to lose weight, Nadeau recommends focusing on small changes to your habits: adding more physical activity to your daily schedule, eating more fruits, vegetables and foods high in fiber and protein, and drinking more water.

“New diets always sound exciting and it’s easy to get carried away thinking this is the magical diet you’ve been looking for,” says Nadeau. “However, the truth is that restrictive diets don’t work in the long term. If it’s not something you can envision for yourself forever, it won’t work. Your diet changes should be things you can fit into your life forever, so you can keep your health and results forever.”

Paleo, Atkins and Keto are all low carb. What is the difference between these diets?

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