The ketogenic diet is a very special diet that has been in fashion for a few years. Used for therapeutic purposes, this hyper-lipid-rich diet, according to some researchers, has real potential in the prevention of certain diseases.
Main features of the scheme
Existing for almost a century in our societies, the ketogenic diet (or keto) is mainly characterized by intake of lipids, up to 75%. In addition, the followers will not modify their protein intake, but will considerably reduce that relating to carbohydrates.
Usually, carbohydrates provide between 45 and 65% of daily calorie intake, but “keto” followers will be content with only 5%! In other words, it is about overturning the traditional food pyramid and its main principles. Indeed, fats become the primary source of energy for the body, the goal being to cause a state of ketosis.
What to say from a health point of view?
The ketogenic diet was born in the 1920s, used by medicine to reduce epileptic seizures. Generally, the diet lasts only a few days and requires hospitalization. In 50% of cases, the diet is effective in reducing seizures. Fashionable in recent years – especially in the United States – the ketogenic diet is becoming more and more popular. People indeed want to test this method, most often independently. In this case, it is still advisable to benefit from medical monitoring.
Indeed, the body will undergo during the first weeks of unpleasant changes and symptoms, beyond a rapid weight loss. There is talk of “ketogenic flu” involving nausea, headaches, fatigue, but also fever and the risk of dehydration, even hypoglycemia. The risks can nevertheless go further. For example, when this diet is practised at home for the long term, the risk of kidney stones is very real as well as that of the decrease in bone density. Furthermore, metabolic acidosis represents a danger (renal failure and cerebral oedema), especially in patients with type 1 diabetes.
Today, researchers are showing some interest in the ketogenic diet. According to them, there is a real therapeutic potential to exploit Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, but also diabetes (type 2) and cancer.