The ketogenic diet is low carb diet that lets the dieter consume different types of food items. This diet includes even those that are high fat, as long as the calorie count are within the acceptable ketogenic diet plan. It is highly restrictive in portion size but not the food type. It ideally results in ketosis or the metabolic process of the body wherein it burns fats instead due to a lack of carbohydrate intake.
In short, the ketogenic diet forces the body to go into a regular state of ketosis by eating low amounts of carbohydrates forcing the body to consume the stored fats instead. This should ideally result in weight loss and improved metabolism. This approach to weight loss however also raises some important questions such as “How long should I do the keto diet?” and “Will the keto diet be beneficial for me in the long term?”. In this article, we will look at how long the ketogenic diet should be done and what are the health benefits and disadvantages of it in the long run.
Is the Ketogenic Diet Safe meant as a long-term diet plan?
Since the ketogenic diet is a relatively new program, comprehensive twenty (20) year studies are currently not available. However, the data on hand clearly indicates some advantages and some disadvantages to doing the ketogenic diet long term. More importantly, it is best to emphasize that there is no definite answer yet as to whether or not the ketogenic diet is effective in the long run or if it is only effective if done within a specific timeframe. It should primarily be about how the person’s body reacts to the program. If the diet plan is working wonders on the body of the dieter then, he/she should, by all means, continue with it. There are a number of advantages and disadvantages of the ketogenic diet long term. We shall examine these more closely in the next section.
Advantages of Doing the Ketogenic Diet Long-Term
1. The ketogenic diet can help children with epilepsy.
The ketogenic diet is a relatively new diet program. It does not have enough substantive research to easily identify its various health benefits. There is, however, one health benefit of using the ketogenic diet. It can reduce and prevent seizures in children with epilepsy. The ketogenic diet is supposedly able to eliminate or at least lessen the possibility of seizures by almost fifty (50%) percent. Patients who do not respond well to seizure medicines were also advised to go on a ketogenic diet. This is to lessen their medication intake and at the same time lessen the possibility of having seizures. Adult patients with epilepsy may also benefit from long term keto diet. Those who followed the keto program for around four (4) years experienced being seizure free at the end of the study.
2. The ketogenic diet can help in weight loss and keep the weight off.
People go on the keto diet primarily for weight loss. This diet program will not disappoint. The ketogenic will at first result in water loss as one transitions into a low carb diet. Eventually, however, the body will use up its stored carbohydrates and fats forcing an individual’s body into ketosis. This will also result in lower blood sugar and refined carbohydrate levels in the body which in turn, will result in a more consistent and steady source of energy.
3. The ketogenic diet can help the body in its fight against disease prevention and treatment.
Aside from helping children with epilepsy, it helps aid people aiming for weight loss. The ketogenic diet may also be responsible for the body’s ability to fight against certain diseases. Listed below are some of the ailments that may be addressed by the Ketogenic diet:
- Metabolic Syndrome – Those with metabolic syndrome lost more weight on a ketogenic diet. THis is compared to patients who stuck with an American diet which is high in added sugars and preservatives.
- Type 2 diabetes – The low carbohydrate nature of the ketogenic diet can lead to lower blood sugar levels for patients with type 2 diabetes.
- Bipolar Disorder – Patients with bipolar disorder may experience a more stable mood and temperament while on a ketogenic diet.
- Obesity – People who were obese experienced more weight loss compared to other low calories diets. It was also observed that inflammatory visceral fat was also significantly decreased by the ketogenic diet.
- Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease – A study conducted in 2013 observed that patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia experienced better memory function after six (6) weeks on a ketogenic diet.
- Parkinson’s Disease – As patients have a higher risk of dementia, researchers are looking into how ketosis can help improve the condition of parkinson’s patients.
- Cancer – The ketogenic diet can be useful against certain types of cancers if used together with chemotherapy
- Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) – Due to PCOS being directly linked to a greater risk of diabetes and obesity, scientists are suggesting the Ketogenic diet. This is to reverse the possible onset of advanced PCOS, type 2 diabetes and morbid obesity.
Disadvantages and Risks of doing the ketogenic diet long term
The advantages and benefits of doing the ketogenic diet may entice some individuals to try it out long term. However, there are some disadvantages or risk factors in doing the ketogenic diet long term. Below are some of these risks:
- The Ketogenic diet is a program that is hard to faithfully adhere to. Researchers found that the keto diet is difficult to follow and maintain. It requires a complete change in the diet people are used to.
- People doing the ketogenic diet may experience the “Keto Flu”. People who undertake the keto diet may experience flu like symptoms such as headaches and fatigue. The keto flu may add a significant level of challenge to dieters as it may be discouraging to some.
- The Ketogenic diet may result in vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The ketogenic diet limits the intake of several food groups such as fruits, legumes and whole grains. This may lead to certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies. To fight the possible deficiency, dieters are advised to have well planned and balanced keto meal plan