A ketogenic diet principles

The ketogenic (ketogenic) diet is one of the high-fat and low-carbohydrate diets. If you want to feel extremely light and feel great, turn off carbohydrates from your daily menu and replace them with fat. This method is used, among others in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children. Read or listen and find out what the ketogenic diet is.

What is ketogenic diet

The ketogenic diet is a high-fat and low-carbohydrate diet. In normal, balance diet about 35 per cent of daily energy need should be fats, 50% carbohydrates and 15% proteins. In the ketogenic diet, fat can constitute even to 90 per cent of daily energy demand, and the remaining 10-20% it’s a total of protein and carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. When they are missing, the body begins to look for another “fuel”. These are fats, specifically ketone bodies (when body starts to use ketone bodies as energy, it is so-called ketosis state) formed in the process of fat breakdown. However, they provide orgasm only with 70 per cents of the energy need, so you can feel malnourished.

After a few days of using the ketogenic diet, a person enters a euphoric state (this is how doctors determine the effect of ketones) – they have an excellent mood, are cheerful, feel light. After 2-3 months, everything passes. The loss of appetite, drowsiness and constipation appear, the smell of sweat, urine and breath changes, thirst increases.

Keto Diet food pyramid
Keto Diet food pyramid

Ketogenic (ketogenic) diet – indications

The ketogenic diet has found application in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy in children and some inborn issues with energy metabolism (e.g. congenital lack of GLUT-1 glucose transporting protein).

There are other indications for its use, such as Rett syndrome, Dravet syndrome, epilepsy with myoclonic asthma attacks (Doose syndrome), and tuberous sclerosis. Therapy using the ketogenic diet in autism, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, other types of epilepsy or some encephalopathies is also being considered.

Ketogenic (ketogenic) diet in an epilepsy

It has not yet been explained why the ketogenic diet reduces the frequency of seizures. High fat supply with a negligible amount of carbohydrates in the diet leads to changes in fat metabolism, similar to fasting. From the fat, ketone bodies acetone, acetoacetate and beta-hydroxybutyric acid are formed in the liver, which penetrates the central nervous system and represents a substitute energy material for neurons in the absence of glucose. However, they are only indirectly responsible for the anticonvulsant effect.

Also, ketone bodies can protect nerve cells, including against damage from free radicals (they reduce oxidative stress).

The ketogenic diet – remember to supplement the deficiency of some vitamins

A ketogenic diet may lead to a deficit of some micronutrients. Therefore, when using it, remember to supplement supplements containing calcium, vitamin D, water-soluble vitamins and some trace elements.

Currently, several versions of the ketogenic diet stand out in the treatment of drug-resistant epilepsy

People with liver, kidney and pancreas disease and diabetes cannot use the ketogenic diet.

The traditional ketogenic diet generally uses a diet of 4:1 or 3:1, i.e. 4 or 3 g of fat for 1 g of protein and carbohydrates combined. The diet should begin under the control of a doctor and dietitian, preceded by starting it with 1-2-days of fast. Then gradually the amount of energy and nutrients administered increases up to the values determined according to diet assumptions. Further treatment is carried out at home and usually lasts 2-3 years. During this time, diet rules should be strictly followed, as any deviation from the norm may promote epileptic seizures.

Ketogenic (ketogenic) diet for cancer?

Some argue that a ketogenic diet can be used to treat obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic fatigue, hypertension and even cancer. However, specialists emphasize that there is no evidence confirming the effectiveness of the ketogenic diet in people struggling with malignant tumours.

What’s more, switching to a ketogenic diet during cancer can result in complications due to the increased amount of metabolic products in the body.

Ketogenic (ketogenic) diet for slimming

During the ketogenic diet, the body does not get energy from carbohydrates, but from consumed and own fats and proteins, which are used by people who want to get rid of unnecessary kilograms. Also, ketone bodies suppress hunger.

Ketogenic (ketogenic) diet – side effects

Adverse effects may occur during the ketogenic diet. At first, the patient may complain of constipation or diarrhoea, vomiting, abdominal pain, which usually disappear after the body adapts to the diet. The accompanying symptoms are fatigue, drowsiness, loss of appetite, and feeling thirsty.

With prolonged use of the ketogenic diet, urolithiasis and hyperuricemia (increased blood uric acid levels) may occur.