Published on July 10th, 2013 | by Joe Starks0
Eat That! The Ketosis Diet
Many modern dieters hate carbohydrates, just as much they hated fats in the sixties. You used to hear it everywhere that eating less fat makes you less fat and low fat products flooded the markets of old. Now you hear that sugar makes you hungrier and offers you nothing but energy. Of course we know it was all just hype about the low fat products, but do we realize that the carbohydrate mania might be just another marketing trick to get us into buying weird, ultra-processed food? Why do they call low carbohydrate diets ketosis diets anyway? Do they actually have any benefit? Do you really lose weight with a ketosis diet? Let’s take a look at the facts.
What is a ketosis diet?
In contrary to what some celebrities cry about in the magazines and some doctors thoroughly endorse, carbohydrates are actually a very important group of nutrients. Our brain tissue works optimally only when it can consume glucose at certain doses. When our body doesn’t have any sugar stores left the body fight to give your brain energy by giving it second rate fuel, derived from proteins and fats. Breaking down proteins and fats to create carbohydrate-like energy sources also fills your body with the waste created during those chemical reactions. One of those waste products are the ketones, useless substances excreted as fast as possible by our urinary system.
When our blood is full with ketones, because we eat no carbohydrates, our breath starts to smell like rotten apples and our sweat smells a bit rancid too. Since you have to eat more protein to stay healthy while not eating carbohydrates you actually tax your kidneys with excessive filtering. Kidneys have the problem that only a few types of proteins can pass through the kidney into the urine. When we eat too much protein, our kidneys have a very hard time trying to get rid of the excess protein (our bodies cannot store pure protein) and the protein waste products.
Our brain isn’t the only tissue that prefers sugars above all else as its ideal fuel. Hard working muscles work optimally when they have energy sources which release their energy fast. The fastest energy releasing source is certainly carbohydrates. This is why athletes often drink sports drinks, filled with vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates, after each session. It’s not a fad; it’s science!
Benefits of the ketosis diet
It would be highly unfair to dismiss the ketosis diet as absolutely unhealthy and useless. There are many people whose lives depend on the ketosis diet. It has been found that children suffering from a lot of seizures and / or epilepsy can benefit highly from the ketosis diet. Depriving their brains from its main fuel source can slow down the erratic brain function during seizures, helping those children regain some normality in their lives. Sadly the diet doesn’t work for all cases, but for some it can be truly life-changing and downright miraculous.
The ketosis diet is an excellent way to curb an unhealthily large appetite. People who eat more because of emotions may find it easier to get bored of food when their diet is restricted and monotonous. Protein is certainly the macronutrient that keeps people saturated for the longest time, making hunger during diets less prevalent and painful.
Side-effects of the ketosis diet
Sadly, the diet can have very serious side effects when one overdoes it. Eating a lot of protein makes your sweat smell very bad (really). Some people do not mind, but many find the odor insufferable, especially in sports teams and gyms. Your breath also smells pretty awful too, making your social life just a bit harder and causing numerous awkward situations (most ketosis sufferers cannot smell their own malodor). Your kidneys suffer too, especially if you combine eating a lot of protein with heavy exercise and low calorie consumption. While most will only have mild chronic effects it can ultimately lead to serious kidney problems.
Kidney stones and gout are some of the more severe side effects of ketosis, but you have to remember that they only happen in cases of prolonged ketosis. A couple of weeks won’t lead to such effects. You can also get calcium deficiency and heart palpitations. All in all it is not a healthy state to be in.
Diabetics often already are in a state of ketosis because of their disease. Since diabetes is a chronic disease this state is often a prolonged state of ketosis. Adding a ketonogenic diet to that can actually be very dangerous.
A state of prolonged ketosis has too many side effects for it to be considered a healthy way of living. People who wish to live without carbohydrates for a very long time should rethink their position and discuss their ideas with a Physician. Our bodies are made in such a way that we actually thrive when we eat some carbohydrates. Our brains and muscles work optimally when there is a bit of glucose stored in our bodies, so eating a balanced diet with some nutritious carbohydrate sources (like fruit) is a good thing for your health.