The benefits and dangers of ketogenic diet

The benefits and dangers of ketogenic diet

Keto diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been shown to help improve blood sugar control, reduce inflammation and weight loss. The keto diet works by turning the body into a fat-burning machine. This way of eating helps people lose weight without feeling hungry or deprived.

A ketogenic diet, or keto diet, is a very low carbohydrate, high-fat diet that has been shown to have many benefits for people with epilepsy. However, there are also risks associated with keto eating, and it is important to be aware of both the benefits and dangers before beginning a keto diet. While the keto diet is not for everyone, it may be a good option for people with epilepsy who have not found success on other treatments.

How keto helps in staying healthy

Despite data and continuous advances in medicine and science, obesity remains a major health risk worldwide. The majority of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are largely linked to obesity, usually the product of an unhealthy lifestyle and poor eating habits. Diets suitable for weight loss can help manage obesity to some extent. According to several researchers, the ketogenic diet, a very low-carb, high-fat diet, is effective for rapid weight loss in some subjects.

Based on the available scientific evidence, most researchers point out that a well-formulated ketogenic diet (balanced diet) does not appear to pose major safety concerns for the general public. Thus, it can be considered a first-line approach to obesity and diabetes, more than a way of life. However, besides recommended follow-up with a healthcare professional, high-quality clinical trials of ketogenic diets are still needed to assess important questions about long-term effects and full potential in clinical medicine.

What is keto

The ketogenic diet also called the “keto diet” or “healthy keto,” is not yet another new diet, even if its strong media presence suggests the opposite in recent years.

The ketogenic diet or “keto diet”

The ketogenic diet was born in the 1920s. Initially, the first data essentially existed in the management of epileptic children suffering from severe forms that this diet proved to be effective.

Several studies show that up to 60% of children with epilepsy who try a ketogenic diet experience a 50% or more reduction in their seizure frequency. Moreover, in this area, the most reliable studies are currently available.

How keto diet works

Currently, we talk about it mainly as a weight loss diet. However, it is far from a balanced diet since it is particularly rich in fats. It is also not uncommon to find topics like “ketogenic diet and cancer” because it would be able to “starve” cancer cells. With the weight of these allegations, it is more than necessary to take stock and understand how the body works under the influence of this eating behavior.

How can a diet so rich in fat make you lose weight?

Eating 80% of calories in the form of fat very quickly gives you the feeling of not being hungry anymore because you are disgusted, have nausea, headaches, and certain fatigue.

There is much information that shows that the ketogenic diet is quite active in weight loss and would be slightly superior to the results of high protein or low-fat diets. It would also be able to help fight cancer cells. But in reality, many researchers point out that we still lack long-term studies to make it a diet suitable for the greatest number.

How Ketogenic diet helps appetite control

On the ketogenic diet, you will likely have better appetite control. It is a very common experience where feelings of hunger satiety decrease significantly.

This usually allows you to eat less and lose excess weight. The goal is to wait until you are hungry before eating. This also facilitates intermittent fasting, which may improve efforts to reverse type 2 diabetes and accelerate weight loss beyond the unique effects of this diet.

On the other hand, you could save time and money by not having to snack all the time. Moreover, many practitioners feel the need to eat only twice a day on this diet, for example, skipping breakfast.

Indeed, not struggling with hunger could also help solve problems such as sugar consumption or food addiction. Feeling full and satisfied can be part of the solution. Food can cease to be an enemy.

Controlling blood sugar and managing type 2 diabetes

Finally, studies prove that a ketogenic diet is excellent for controlling blood sugar and managing type 2 diabetes and prediabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease.

Several pieces of research on this diet show that it lowers blood sugar levels, reduces the need for medications, and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.

Ketogenic diet helps with obesity

Although various studies have examined the short-term effects of a ketogenic diet on weight reduction in obese patients, its long-term effects on various physical and biochemical parameters are not well known.

A study published in 2004 in the scientific journal Experimental & Clinical Cardiology tried to determine the effects of a 24-week ketogenic diet (composed of 30 g of carbohydrates, 1 g/kg of protein of body weight, 20% saturated fat, and 80% polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat) in obese patients.

Increase HDL and decrese LDL

In the present study, a control group of 83 obese patients (39 men and 44 women) with a body mass index above 35 kg/m2 and high glucose and cholesterol levels were selected. Bodyweight, body mass index, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, often referred to as “good cholesterol,” triglycerides, blood sugar at fasting, urea and creatinine levels were determined before and after administration of the ketogenic diet. Changes in these parameters were monitored after 8, 16, and 24 weeks of treatment.

The results reveal that the patients’ weight and body mass index decreased significantly from the first weeks. Total cholesterol levels decreased from week 1 to week 24. HDL cholesterol levels increased significantly, while LDL cholesterol levels decreased significantly after treatment. The level of triglycerides decreased significantly after 24 weeks of treatment. The blood glucose level has dropped significantly. Changes in the level of urea and creatinine (body waste product that comes from the breakdown of muscle creatine) were not statistically significant.

Healthy way to lose weight

 the researchers explain that this study shows the possible positive effects of a ketogenic diet. It significantly reduced the body weight and body mass index of patients. In addition, it decreased the level of triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and blood glucose and increased the level of HDL cholesterol. On the other hand, they state that practicing a ketogenic diet for a relatively long period did not significantly affect patients.

ketogenic diet helps to fight against influenza virus infection

A ketogenic diet (which provides 99% of calories from fat and only 1% from carbohydrates) produces health benefits and harms that are insufficiently known to date.

Research results show that mice fed a ketogenic diet were better able to fight off the flu virus than mice fed high-carb foods, according to a study from Yale University published in 2019 in the scientific journal Science Immunology.

The ketogenic diet (which for humans includes meat, fish, poultry, and non-starchy vegetables) activates a subset of T cells (gamma delta T cells) in the lungs that were not previously associated with the immune system’s response to influenza, thereby improving the production of mucus by airway cells that can effectively trap the virus. Thus, they wondered if diet could affect the immune system’s response to pathogens such as the influenza virus.

They showed that mice fed a ketogenic diet and infected with the flu virus had a higher survival rate than mice fed a normal high carbohydrate diet. Specifically, the researchers found that the ketogenic diet triggered the release of gamma delta T cells. These immune system cells produce mucus in the cell walls of the lungs, unlike the high carbohydrate diet.

When mice were raised without the gene encoding gamma delta T cells, the ketogenic diet offered no protection against the flu virus.

Finally, the researchers conclude by explaining that this study shows how the body burns fat to produce ketone bodies from the foods we eat can fuel the immune system to fight influenza infection. Other studies are in progress to know more precisely if a therapeutic application in humans is possible.

Ketogenic diet helps reduce chance of cancer

A modified ketogenic diet might be worth exploring for people with brain tumors, according to a new study published in 2021 in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

This study found the diet safe and feasible for people with brain tumors called “astrocytomas” (a type of glioma that originates in glial cells). The researchers point out that there are currently not many effective treatments for these brain tumors, and survival rates are low. All participants had completed their radiotherapy and chemotherapy during the study.

According to the researchers, the diet led to body and brain metabolism changes. However, the study was not designed to determine whether the diet could slow tumor growth or improve survival.

They point out that these cancer cells depend on glucose, or sugar, to divide and grow. Because the ketogenic diet is low in sugar, the body changes what it uses for energy. Instead of carbohydrates, it uses what are called ketones. Normal brain cells can survive on ketones, but the theory is that cancer cells cannot use ketones for energy.

The study involved a control group of 25 people with astrocytomas. They followed a type of ketogenic diet for eight weeks. The diet includes bacon, eggs, heavy cream, butter, leafy green vegetables, and fish. Participants met with a dietician at the start of the study and then every two weeks. Five days a week, they followed the ketogenic diet, which combined carbohydrate restriction and high amounts of fat. Two days a week, they fasted, eating up to 20% of their recommended daily caloric intake.

The study’s main goal was to see if people were able to follow the diet without serious side effects. According to their food records, a total of 21 people completed the study, and 48% of them followed the diet completely. But urine tests showed that 80% of people reached the level where their body used mostly fat and protein for fuel, rather than carbohydrates.

The diet was well tolerated overall. Only two people had serious side effects during the study – one was unrelated to the diet, and the other was possibly related based on the authors.

At the end of the study, changes in body and brain metabolism were observed. Hemoglobin A1c (glycated hemoglobin) levels, insulin levels, and fat mass decreased. Lean body mass increased. Specialized brain scans (nuclear medicine medical imaging method) that detect changes in brain metabolites have shown increased ketone levels and metabolic changes in the tumor.

Of course, more studies are needed to determine if this diet can prevent the growth of brain tumors and help people live longer. Still, these results show that the ketogenic diet may be safe for people with brain tumors and successfully produce changes in the body’s metabolism and the brain. A limitation of the study is that study team members provided a large number of participant contacts, which may not be feasible in a larger study or routine clinical care.

Ketogenic diet and sport

In a study published in 2018 in the journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, a team of researchers examined the physical performance of 16 men and women after following either a low-carb ketogenic diet or a high-carb diet. In carbohydrates for four days. The team then tested the participants’ anaerobic exercise performance.

Researchers found that participants did not perform as well on exercise tasks after following the ketogenic diet. In popular discussions, the term ketogenic diet is often used as a broader term for low-carb diets, including the Atkins diet.

Keto and atkins diet

there is much confusion. According to the authors, people often think they are low in carbs and high in protein. It’s related but different because protein can only be at normal levels for a true ketogenic diet.

The benefits and dangers of ketogenic diet

The goal of a ketogenic diet is to starve the body of carbohydrates. If there is too much protein in the diet, the body will use the protein to make carbohydrates, defeating the purpose. When the body is sufficiently deprived of carbohydrates, it manufactures ketone bodies as an alternative fuel. It is an emergency rescue system that helps survive when someone is at risk of starvation but has side effects.

The authors point out that the ketogenic diet is touted for weight loss. Some studies have shown it to be effective for weight loss. However, the researchers explain that we lack evidence to confirm this point fully. So if a person restricts carbs, they may not eat as much. So if a person eliminates most food options, weight loss is often linked to cutting calories.

The study has implications for those turning to ketogenic diets to lose weight and for athletes aiming to improve their performance. Short-term low-carb and ketogenic diets reduce physical performance in activities that rely heavily on anaerobic energy systems. These findings affect athlete performance, particularly for high-intensity, short-duration activities and sports.

Finally, the researchers insist that this diet is not suitable for everyone. Unless there are compelling reasons to follow a low carbohydrate diet, athletes should be advised to avoid these diets.

Resident hepatic macrophages directly influence ketogenesis

Ketogenesis is the process of producing ketones from fatty acids and glucose in the liver. Ketones are important for energy production and can be used as an alternative fuel source when blood sugar levels are low. The ketogenic diet is a popular weight loss strategy that involves restricting intake of carbohydrates, which can lead to increased ketogenesis. However, few studies have examined how resident hepatic macrophages (RHM) influence ketogenesis.

Immune system and ketone bodies

Fasting metabolism and immunity are closely linked; however, how immune cells contribute to metabolic homeostasis during fasting in healthy subjects is largely unknown.

According to new research published in the journal Cell Metabolism on February 3, 2022, researchers show that the immune system is also busy and active when a person is in perfect health. For example, it helps convert fat into energy when a person is fasting.

“The mission of the immune system is to protect the body against foreign or dangerous invaders. These invaders can be: Micro-organisms (generally called germs, such as bacteria. They are among the first known life forms on Earth “.

The immune system has cells spread throughout the body, and they do their job even if a person is in great shape. This is shown in a study published in the scientific journal Cell Metabolism, entitled “A macrophage-hepatocyte glucocorticoid receptor axis coordinates fasting ketogenesis. “

Until recently, it was believed that the immune system was mostly inactive unless the body was attacked by infections (germs, bacteria). However, it now turns out that the immune system most likely also plays an important role in perfectly healthy people and can affect the body’s production of vital energy sources.

Specifically, the immune system causes the liver of a healthy body to produce an energy source called ketone bodies (produced by the process of ketogenesis in the liver). This happens by letting the liver burn fat while fasting.

When a person fasts, their body begins to tap into fat deposits, but not all cells in the body are capable of burning fat. This applies, among other things, to the brain, which depends instead on the production of ketone bodies, which the liver forms by metabolizing fats. Ketone bodies thus energize the body and allow it to function even if a person is not eating anything, explain the authors of the research.

Ketone bodies are also central to many popular weight-loss diets that reduce carbohydrates from the diet. Other research also suggests that ketone bodies may positively impact, among other things, risk factors for the development of cardiovascular disease.

The authors explain that “we combined cell-type-resolved genomic and computational approaches to map crosstalk between hepatocytes and hepatic macrophages during fasting to achieve these results. We identified the glucocorticoid receptor (GR) as a key driver of fasting-induced reprogramming of macrophage secretome, including cytokines suppressed by fasting. We showed that absence of macrophage GR impaired induction of ketogenesis during fasting as well as endotoxemia. Mechanically, macrophage GR suppressed tumor necrosis factor (TNF) expression and promoted nuclear translocation of hepatocyte GR to activate a gene program related to fat oxidation/ketogenesis, cooperatively induced by GR and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARĪ±) in hepatocytes. Together, our results demonstrate how resident hepatic macrophages directly influence ketogenesis in hepatocytes, describing a strategy by which the immune system can set the metabolic tone during inflammatory disease and infection.”

Researchers now believe that the immune system affects the production of ketone bodies in fit and healthy individuals. Given the beneficial effects of ketone bodies in various common metabolic disorders, they hope this knowledge can also be applied to understand how the immune system keeps the body in balance when a person is sick.

The health danger of the ketogenic diet

Even though the ketogenic diet shows many benefits proven by more and more studies, it remains controversial. It cannot be practiced without the wise advice of a health professional. The attending physician will thus be able to carry out regular examinations (blood tests, urine analysis, etc.). Whether people are healthy and athletic, scheduling an appointment to discuss any lifestyle changes with the treating physician or a nutrition professional is imperative. This consultation with a health professional avoids an increase in risk that can be linked to changes in diet and the state of health of each person. The primary goal of our diet and the ketogenic diet is health.

The side effects of the ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet’s most commonly identified side effects, depending on the person and the duration of the diet, are excessive thirst, frequent urination, fatigue, anxiety, irritability, tachycardia, dizziness, and excessive sweating.

There is evidence that following a keto diet can impair physical performance. This is because the keto diet requires a high amount of energy to be burned, which can lead to fatigue and decreased endurance. Additionally, the keto diet can lead to weight loss through starvation, which can also lead to decreased endurance and fitness.


Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet that has been shown to improve blood sugar control and help manage weight. According to the Mayo Clinic, people following a keto diet should aim to consume between 50 and 70 grams of net carbs per day. This means that all of your carbs should come from fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, rather than processed foods or grains.

It has many benefits and helps to stay in a good shape. But please consult your health care provider before starting a keto diet as it has negative effects sometimes

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