Living without carbohydrates: the “Keto” diet

Like almost everything at this time, it began to spread online. “I discovered the ketogenic diet by my mentor in food and training through Instagram. I am constantly trying new things and seeing from my own experience,” says Tomás Rohmer, a young “fit” who knocked on the “Keto” diet six months ago. “I never felt so light, with so much energy and lucidity; I stopped being a slave to pecking and the giant carbohydrate industry,” he defends.

Fashion will say some, revolutionary diet others. Success stories abound on the internet and are exciting, of course, they are inspiring: lose weight quickly, flatten the belly in weeks, define muscles are always attractive topics. And with the “Keto” diet could be fulfilled, but nutritionists have their doubts: it is not something that can be sustained over time, mainly because they are not balanced diets.

Beginning

“The Keto or ketogenic diet is called that because it induces the body to ketosis, a process that is caused by a deficit in carbohydrate intake, which induces the catabolism of fats to obtain energy, generating compounds called bodies ketones,” explains nutritionist Pamela Petrel . In other words: since the body has no carbohydrates (sugars), it proceeds to burn fat to generate energy.

There is not a single ketogenic or ketogenic diet – Peyrel explains – but there are several options to generate ketosis. However, they all have one characteristic in common: they significantly reduce the intake of carbohydrates, reaching proportions of less than 50 grams per day.

“To reduce so dramatically, the consumption of hydrates increases that of other energy nutrients, such as fats and proteins, which will be present in amounts between 50-60% and between 20-30%, respectively. Eating unhealthy fats is not a valid option since it has great risks for cardiometabolic health, so the diet should be based on foods rich in protein and good quality fats: meats, eggs, oils, seeds, avocado, nuts, etc.”, Details the nutritionist.

Who, when and how much

“It is a beneficial type of diet to meet short-term objectives: a boxer who has to reach a certain body composition in a short time, to give an example. Or an average person, with regular training, who for aesthetic purposes wants, for example, to define muscles to go to the beach in 40 days … specific goals, short times. It is not something that can be sustained over time,” says Felipe Valoy, a nutritionist specializing in high sports performance.

The reason why it is not a long-term diet, Valoy points out, is that it is a restrictive diet when a balanced diet will always be optimal. “It does not necessarily imply a healthy lifestyle; The restrictive is not always healthy. In fact, some studies question even veganism, because there are nutrients that are missing in that diet … They are types of diets that have to be planned and assisted by a professional. It is not for any organism. For an obese, I would not recommend it; it is very aggressive. For someone who does not train much either: you have to use all those proteins and fats that are consumed because they also have calories …”, he warns.

There are several things to analyze, then, before being sent to do these diets that are shown on the internet as magical solutions.

Adaptation

Tomás is one of those people who is continually experiencing eating patterns and how his body responds to each one. “Adapting it to my routine was not difficult; It is exquisite and highly satiating, combined with fasting I realized that many times we eat out of boredom, stress or some negative feeling,” he says. For the nutritionists consulted, however, the period of adaptation or adherence is the most complex.

“It can take up to a week for the body to start adapting to this new fuel. There has to be a physiological adaptation to the lack of glucose. Having overcome that, you can start thinking about the objectives of the training and go progressively, getting what you want. But, again, in the short term,” Valoy insists.

Fatigue and headaches may be the body’s first reactions to this sudden change. “The body must get used to using fats as a source of energy, and not go to the main source to which the body uses for energy, which is hydrates. Therefore at the beginning, it can generate a feeling of fatigue and weakness. It is important in this case to adapt the physical activity to the diet in a progressive way to avoid this symptom. And drink plenty of fluids to eliminate ketone bodies, which cause not only fatigue but also a headache. Adequate hydration and adaptation of the intensity of physical activity are two key points,” Peyrel summarizes.

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