Q:

What is the keto diet?

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Quick Answer

The keto diet is a high-fat, low-carbohydrate approach to shedding unwanted pounds and improving health. The theory is that when the body is deprived of carbs, it will break down fat to provide energy.

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Full Answer

A Favorite of Celebs
Rumored to be a favorite weight loss technique among contemporary celebrities, the keto, or ketogenic, diet was actually created about a century ago as an epilepsy treatment, according to Prevention. There are four different versions of the keto diet. The most common, the Standard keto diet, calls for a regiment that is 75 percent fat, 35 percent protein and only five percent carbs. Beyond weight loss, the diet can bring other health benefits, notes Healthline.

Foods Allowed on the Diet
Although the keto diet carries many dietary restrictions, it allows for a variety of goodies. Foods that can be eaten include meat, poultry, fatty fish, eggs, butter, cream, unprocessed cheese, nuts, avocados, tomatoes and most green vegetables. Also on the list are avocado oil, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, according to Prevention. Dieters can choose from among these foods with no worries over calories, points out Healthline.

Foods To Avoid
Foods to be avoided include sugary treats, soda, grains and root vegetables and tubers such as potatoes. Dieters should also steer clear of processed meals and foods containing unhealthy fat, including mayonnaise, Most fruits are outlawed, too, with the exception of small portions of berries, Prevention says.

Benefits of the Diet
Many studies have confirmed that people do lose weight on the keto diet. Other studies demonstrate the keto diet helps diabetics to absorb insulin more efficiently. There is also some evidence the diet helps to alleviate conditions that include Parkinson's Disease, cancer, Alzheimer's Disease and acne, Healthline maintains.,

The "Keto Flu"
While their bodies get accustomed to the new diet, many people experience a few days of the "keto flu," with symptoms that include fatigue, headaches and pain. Dieters can head off those symptoms by remaining hydrated, according to Prevention. Beverages permitted on the diet include water. bone broth and unsweetened coffee and tea. Some people might want to ease themselves into the keto diet by gradually decreasing the amount of bread, pasta, rice and other carbs they eat before eliminating these foods from their daily routines almost entirely, Healthline suggests.

Other Risks
Before starting out on any diet, people should consult their doctors to make sure they are good candidates. It's also useful to talk with a nutritionist to map out a plan for healthful meals and snacks. Depending on the amount of saturated fat consumed, the keto diet can increase the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, so dieters should work with their doctors to monitor their cholesterol levels on an ongoing basis. The diet can also raise ketone levels, putting the dieter at risk of constipation and kidney stones. Dieters can monitor their own ketone levels by using ketone strips.

Is the Keto Diet the Best Choice?
The keto diet can work very well as a quick weight-loss tool but the long-term effects are unclear. The diet is certainly not for everyone. Heart disease patients might find it too risky, for example, according to Prevention. Additionally, as people lost fat they also lose muscle tissue, so the keto diet isn't the best option for athletes and bodybuilders, Healthline says.

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