What is a Keto Diet

What is a Keto Diet

An Introduction To The Ketogenic Diet

What is the ketogenic diet?

The ketogenic diet is a type of high-fat, low-carb eating pattern that modifies your body’s metabolism to start burning fat.

Generally speaking, carbohydrate intake is limited to 20–50 grams per day, forcing your body into relying on fats instead of glucose to produce energy.

This puts you in a metabolic state referred to as ketosis, where your body breaks down fatty acids for energy and produces by-products known as ketone bodies.

Similar to intermittent fasting, the ketogenic diet leads to considerable weight loss during the first few weeks. Additionally, hundreds of research papers advocate for the use of this diet to treat other chronic illnesses (e.g., cardiovascular disease, diabetes).

Now that we’re familiar with the ketogenic diet, let’s see what side effects it could lead to:

What are the side effects of the keto diet?

Most nutrition experts consider the ketogenic diet to be relatively safe since no serious side effects were reported of this diet.

With that being said, some people may go through a set of annoying symptoms, especially during the first few days (carbohydrate deprivation).

In some rare cases, people may experience confusion, cold extremities, and trembling, which are signs of hypoglycemia.

If you have any of these symptoms, you need to contact your primary care physician.

The keto flu

The keto flu is a common side effect of the keto diet, manifesting with flu-like symptoms. The vast majority of cases get reported during the first week of starting the ketogenic diet.

The clinical presentation includes the following signs and symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Chills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Arthralgia (i.e., joint pain)
  • Myalgia (i.e., muscle pain)

Unfortunately, many people abandon the keto diet after having these symptoms. The reason this is bad is that sugar-deprivation symptoms only last for a few days and disappear quickly after proper supplementation with electrolytes and water.

According to studies, the keto flu is the result of the abrupt drop of glucose levels in the body. This is further exacerbated by dehydration and electrolyte imbalance.

Can I cheat while on the ketogenic diet?

As explained above, during ketosis, the liver starts utilizing fatty acids to produce energy. This process is complicated and could take up to 10 days before full initiation.

Therefore, if you have a cheat day and want to get back to ketosis, it will take around 7–10 days before the transition occurs.

In other words, whenever you consume carbs (higher than 50 grams), your body is set back to default parameters.

For this reason, you should avoid having a cheat day until you achieve your goals behind starting the diet.

Takeaway message

The ketogenic diet is a fantastic pattern of eating that offers many health benefits, including weight loss, reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, and a boost in energy.

We hope that this article managed to introduce the ketogenic diet, but if you found anything vague or confusing, we urge you to share your thoughts in the comment section below.