Friday, June 1, 2012

The Ketogenic Diet

Out of curiosity, you may have asked yourself the question, what is the ketogenic diet? Well, the above diet is one which is hailed by some weight watchers as a safe and effective way to lose fat, but is considered by many experts as one of the many extremes of dieting that is unsafe to your health.

Many professional organizations have argued strongly against certain dietary practices, particularly the extremes of fasting and the low-carbohydrate, high-fat, and high-protein diets. These practices in particularly are a major concern to those who work in the fields of sports medicine and athletics, where reports consistently document that athletes frequently exhibit bizarre and often pathogenic weight-control behaviors, according to findings.

Ketogenic Diets
With  ketogenic diets the emphasis is primarily on carbohydrate restriction while generally ignoring the total caloric content of the diet.  Those in favor of these diets believe that with dietary restriction of carbohydrates, the body will use up significant lipids  for energy.  This leads to an excess in the plasma ketone bodies(byproducts of incomplete lipid breakdown resulting from inadequate carbohydrate catabolism) that supposedly suppress the appetite.

The ketones that ended up in the urine represents unused energy, the elimination of which further contributes to the weight-loss effort.  Some extremists firmly believe that this energy loss is so great, dieters can consume all they wish as long as carbohydrates are restricted. It's believed that at best, the energy lost by urinary excretion of ketones probably equals only 100 to 150 calories a day. 

However, contrary to the above belief,  some experts contend that this would account only for a small weight loss of approximately 0.45kg per month --- not very appealing when the major source of food is a liquid intake that may be as high as 70% of the calories consumed.  Also, any initial weight loss may be due largely to dehydration caused by an extra solute load on the kidneys, increasing the excretion of water.  Such water loss is of no lasting significance in a program designed to reduce body fat. 

Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets can also potentially result in a significant loss of lean tissue, as the body mobilize amino acids in muscle to maintain blood glucose by gluconeogenesis.  This is certainly an undesirable side effect of a diet designed to speed up a body fat loss.

Based on findings, when compared to a standard, well-balanced, low-calorie diet, the ketogenic diet offers no advantage in aiding in the loss of body fat.  It has been argued that this diet is potentially hazardous in several ways.  It can cause the serum uric acid levels to raise; alter electrolyte concentrations, initiating undesirable cardiac arrhythmias; cause acidosis; aggravate kidney problems due to the extra solute burden placed on the renal system; raise blood lipids; exhaust glycogen reserves to contribute to a fatigued state; and cause relative dehydration.  During pregnancy, this diet is definitely contraindicated  because dietary carbohydrate is essential to fetal development.

 The ketogenic diet is just one example of the extremes of dieting; Presently, in the weight loss arena, the extremes of dieting are insurmountable.  The extent to which some people is willing to go to lose weight is unbelievable. However, most of these weight loss approach, such as the carbohydrate restriction diet, is certainly not safe, based on the above mentioned negative health issues that may result from such a diet. Again, a better approach to dieting is to consume well-balanced, low-calorie diets along with regular exercise.