The ketogenic diet, or keto diet for short, is a diet in which carbohydrates are almost completely avoided. This is intended to force the body to draw the energy it needs from the fat deposits. The extremely low-sugar diet is also used in tumor and epilepsy therapy. Read everything you need to know about the keto diet here.
What is a keto diet?
The keto diet is a low-carb diet – a maximum of five percent of the daily food intake consists of carbohydrates. This form of nutrition is based on the assumption that carbohydrates, not fat, make you fat. One of the most well-known representatives of the catabolic diet is the Atkins diet.
A ketogenic diet consists mainly of fat and protein. By not eating grain, fruit and vegetables, the body has no “fast” sources of energy available. This is supposed to get him to generate the sugar needed for the brain and other organs from the fat reserves. This process is called ketosis.
Ketosis was also crucial for the emergence of the diet. It was originally conceived in 1921 as a treatment for neurological disorders such as epilepsy. It turns out that patients had fewer epileptic seizures during the diet due to ketosis.
The keto diet is also used in cancer and tumor therapy. The basis is the theory that tumor cells can hardly utilize fatty acids. With the ketogenic diet, the tumor is supposed to be starved.
Ketogenic diets can also help significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels.
How to recognize ketosis
If the body gets more carbohydrates than it needs for energy production, it stores them as fat. In addition, insulin, which becomes active as a storage hormone for carbohydrate storage, inhibits fat burning.
In ketosis, the body uses fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates. This happens when carbohydrates are significantly reduced in the diet and the supply of sugar (glucose) is restricted as a result. As a result, fat is converted into so-called ketone bodies in the liver. The body gets energy from them. So there is a change from carbohydrate metabolism to fat metabolism.
Blood, urine and breath tests help to determine ketosis. From a value of 0.5 millimol (mmol) / liter there is talk of a slight ketosis. A value between 2 and 5 mmol/liter is called ketosis.
Certain physical symptoms can also indicate ketosis. This includes:
- increased thirst
- dry mouth
- frequent urination
- decreased hunger or appetite