Breaking it Down: What is a Keto Diet, Anyway?

“New year, new me” is the battle cry around this time of year. Everyone is starting to hit the gym, try new diets, and heading to bed earlier. But what are some of those rich modern diets, and should you try them? Read on to learn a little bit about each of the fad diets and the health benefits and risks to each!

Keto Diet

The Ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, is a diet plan that encourages you to eliminate nearly all carbs and replace them with fats. This low-carb, but high in fat diet plan creates the conditions for your body to enter ketosis. With ketosis, your internal organs become extremely adept at converting fats to energy. As an added benefit, your body translates ketones in your liver into fuel for your brain to replace the glucose it usually relies on.

However, expect to see a negative trend in your cognitive abilities on a keto diet. In a research study conducted in 2008, women on high and low carb diets had their cognitive abilities compared. Those on the high carb diet outperformed those on the low-carb diet. Some other side effects that you can expect with the keto diet include nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, hair loss, weakness, and impaired mood and cognition.

If you’re looking to lose weight, the keto diet is a fantastic way to do so. Its fat-burning qualities far surpass that of the low-fat diet. You can use the keto diet, which was initially intended to treat diabetes and pre-diabetes, to address a handful of other conditions. If you have heart disease, epilepsy, acne, brain injuries, or different similar situations, you might want to consider a keto diet.

Whole30 Diet

The Whole30 diet takes a different approach than the keto diet. While the keto diet restricted a macronutrient, carbs, the Whole30 diet recommends staying away from entire groups of foods. On the Whole30 diet, you avoid legumes, dairy, grains, sugar, alcohol, MSG, or baked goods, regardless of their ingredients. One other caveat of the Whole30 diet is that you can’t weigh yourself during the 30 days of the diet challenge.

Some exceptions to the diet include ghee, fruit juice, coconut, salt, vinegar, and snow peas, sugar snap peas, and green beans. Any deviations from the Whole30 diet, even if it’s “one lick of the spoon mixing the batter,” requires you to start over again. After you’ve completed the thirty-day challenge, you’re encouraged to reintroduce foods you eliminated to see if you have reactions to them.

This version of an elimination diet has received mixed reviews from the people who have tried it. While people talk about their increased productivity, boosted mood, great workouts, and no cravings, experts aren’t sold on the diet just yet. Experts rated it unnecessarily restrictive, not helpful for diabetes or heart disease, and potentially dangerous. The one area this diet excels, though, is in short-term weight loss. 

Paleo Diet 

This one’s been around for a while compared to the other two diets on this list. The paleo diet encourages you to eat foods you might have found before farming. The meals included fruits, nuts, and meats. Like the Whole30 diet, you’ll want to avoid legumes, dairy, and grains. Researchers found that the paleo diet was good for weight loss but cautioned that there are no long-term studies about the menu. They added that you could achieve similar health benefits from a regular healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables.

Have another diet you’d like to learn more about? Want to learn more about one of these diets? Leave a comment down below with your thoughts!

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