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Ketogenic Diet Facts

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The symptoms of the first few weeks are often referred to as “keto flu” which is usually over within a few days. Keto flu includes poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort and decreased exercise performance. In order to minimize this, you can try a regular low-carb diet for the first few weeks. This may teach your body to burn more fat before you completely eliminate carbs. A ketogenic diet can also change the water and mineral balance of your body, so adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements can help.

At least in the beginning, it is important to eat until fullness and to avoid restricting calories too much. Usually a ketogenic diet causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction. A Ketogenic Diet is great, but not for everyone. it can be great for people who are overweight, diabetic or looking to improve their metabolic health. It may be less suitable for elite athletes or those wishing to add large amounts of muscle or weight. And, as with any diet, it will only work if you are consistent and stick with it in the long-term. That being said, few things are as well proven in nutrition as the powerful health and weight loss benefits of a ketogenic diet.

Although the ketogenic diet is safe for healthy people, there may be some initial side effects while your body adapts. While your body metabolism is refitting itself to burn fat instead of relying on glucose, switching to a ketogenic diet plan can be uncomfortable in the initial stages. However, most of the symptoms can be avoided. Here's a list of all of the common side effects that will happen the first week or so of starting a ketogenic diet. Knowing about them allows you to take steps to minimize them, and save yourself some carb withdrawal misery

For minerals, try taking 3,000–4,000 mg of sodium, 1,000 mg of potassium and 300 mg of magnesium per day to minimize side effects.

Ketosis and Ketoacidosis

Please remember that Ketosis is NOT the Same as Ketoacidosis

People often confuse ketosis and ketoacidosis. While ketosis is part of normal metabolism, ketoacidosis is a dangerous metabolic condition that can be fatal if left untreated. In ketoacidosis, the bloodstream is flooded with extremely high levels of glucose (blood sugar) and ketones. When this happens, the blood becomes acidic, which is seriously harmful. Ketoacidosis is most often associated with uncontrolled type 1 diabetes. It may also occur in people with type 2 diabetes, although this is less common.

Bottom Line: Many of the side effects of starting a ketogenic diet can be limited. Easing into the diet and taking mineral supplements can help.

Ketones and the Brain

It’s a common misunderstanding that the brain doesn’t function without dietary carbs. It’s true that glucose is preferred and that there are some cells in the brain that can only use glucose for fuel. However, a large portion of your brain can also use ketones for energy, such as during starvation or when your diet is low in carbs. In fact, after only three days of starvation, the brain gets 25% of its energy from ketones. During long-term starvation, this number rises to around 60%. In addition, your body can use protein to produce the little glucose the brain still requires during ketosis. This process is called gluconeogenesis. Ketosis and gluconeogenesis are perfectly capable of fulfilling the brain’s energy needs. In addition, severe alcohol abuse may lead to ketoacidosis.

Epilepsy is a brain disorder characterized by recurring seizures. It’s a very common neurological condition, affecting around 70 million people worldwide. For the majority of patients, anti-seizure medications can help control the seizures. However, around 30% of patients continue to have seizures despite using these medications. In the early 1920s, the ketogenic diet was introduced as a treatment for epilepsy in people who don’t respond to drug treatment. It has primarily been used in children, with some studies showing remarkable benefits. Many epileptic children have had massive reductions in seizures on a ketogenic diet, and some have even seen complete remission


Bottom Line: When the brain isn’t getting enough glucose, it can use ketones for energy. The little glucose it still needs can be produced from protein.