Still, the headlines keep coming. Men’s Health declared, “Ketogenic Diet Side Effects: How the Trendy Low-Carb Diet Can Give You Acne.” The health and fitness website Livestrong.com warned about “The Ketogenic Diet and Insomnia.” Other articles raised fears of bloat and constipation or cautioned that the regimen requires inhuman willpower from its followers.
During the 1920s and 1930s, when the only anticonvulsant drugs were the sedative bromides (discovered 1857) and phenobarbital (1912), the ketogenic diet was widely used and studied. This changed in 1938 when H. Houston Merritt, Jr. and Tracy Putnam discovered phenytoin (Dilantin), and the focus of research shifted to discovering new drugs. With the introduction of sodium valproate in the 1970s, drugs were available to neurologists that were effective across a broad range of epileptic syndromes and seizure types. The use of the ketogenic diet, by this time restricted to difficult cases such as Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, declined further.
After initiation, the child regularly visits the hospital outpatient clinic where he or she is seen by the dietitian and neurologist, and various tests and examinations are performed. These are held every three months for the first year and then every six months thereafter. Infants under one year old are seen more frequently, with the initial visit held after just two to four weeks. A period of minor adjustments is necessary to ensure consistent ketosis is maintained and to better adapt the meal plans to the patient. This fine-tuning is typically done over the telephone with the hospital dietitian and includes changing the number of calories, altering the ketogenic ratio, or adding some MCT or coconut oils to a classic diet. Urinary ketone levels are checked daily to detect whether ketosis has been achieved and to confirm that the patient is following the diet, though the level of ketones does not correlate with an anticonvulsant effect. This is performed using ketone test strips containing nitroprusside, which change colour from buff-pink to maroon in the presence of acetoacetate (one of the three ketone bodies).
Sodium reduction is part of the DASH equation, but it’s not the only focus. Eating by DASH recommendations also increases your intake of potassium, calcium, magnesium and fiber—all nutrients that play a role in cardiovascular health, as well as the prevention of other chronic diseases. It’s thought to be the combination of increasing your intake of these nutrients and decreasing your intake of added sugar, salt, sodium and unhealthy fats that leads to lower blood pressure and a laundry list of other long-term health benefits.
Lots of apps and websites offer keto diet challenges—basically, a blueprint for the keto diet with a fixed starting and ending point (they typically last for a week to a month, though some may be longer). Speaking of apps, plenty of keto-centric ones are right at your fingertips (a.k.a., your smartphone), like the KetoDiet app, which can help you calculate your macros and track your keto diet effectively.
So my question to all of you is: why do most people trying to improve their health appear to not care at all about how their food choices impact the earth and the future of all our children? (Not to mention the horrific conditions that the great great majority of animals bred for food endure?) Is it because you have not been told or do not believe how bad it is (our society has many many who are in total denial about global warning, for instance), or is it because you truly don’t care?
One review, published in April 2016 in The American Journal of Medicine, looked at five research trials on overweight and obese people and found that after one year those who followed a Mediterranean diet lost as much as 11 pounds (lbs) more than low-fat eaters. (6) (They lost between 9 and 22 lbs total and kept it off for a year.) But that same study found similar weight loss in other diets, like low-carb diets and the American Diabetes Association diet. The results suggest, the researchers say, that “there is no ideal diet for achieving sustained weight loss in overweight or obese individuals.”
But what I think is funny is that the keto diet has been staring us in the face forever. Look at Inuit tribes that survived off of blubber in a region that grows next to nothing most of the year. Yet their people didn’t die out or show signs of metabolic disorders or heart disease until introduced to the modern western diet that prioritizes carbohydrates over fat. Here is an interesting link, however I find the conclusion disheartening and frankly more than a little suspicious. (Basically the people in charge decided to drop the study and introduced a bunch of “what about…” questions to obfuscate a clear pattern in observation across many indigenous people from across the face of the planet and decided the outcome “wasn’t enough” to introduce into public policy…)
A ketogenic diet helps control blood sugar levels. It is excellent for managing type 2 diabetes, sometimes even leading to complete reversal of the disease. This has been proven in studies. It makes perfect sense since keto lowers blood-sugar levels, reduces the need of medications and reduces the potentially negative impact of high insulin levels.