What is the ketogenic diet? Benefits and side effects

What is the ketogenic diet?

“Ketogenic” is a term for a diet low in carbohydrates (such as the Atkins diet). The idea is that you can get more calories from proteins and fats and less from carbohydrates. It cuts again most of the carbohydrates that are easy to digest, such as sugar, soft drinks, cakes and white bread.

How the ketogenic diet works

When you eat less than 50 grams of carbohydrates a day, your body eventually runs out of fuel (blood sugar) that you can use quickly. This usually takes 3 to 4 days. Then, you will begin to break down proteins and fat for energy, which can make you lose weight. This is called ketosis.

Who uses the ketogenic diet?

People often use the ketogenic diet to lose weight, but it can help control certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy. It can also help people with heart disease, certain brain diseases, and even people with acne. Although it is necessary that there is more research in these areas. Talk to your doctor to find out if it is safe for you to try a ketogenic diet, especially if you have type 1 diabetes.

Weight loss

A keto pills can help you lose more weight in the first 3 to 6 months than some other diets. This may be because more calories are needed to transform fat into energy than to transform carbohydrates into energy. It is also possible that a diet with a high content of fats and proteins satisfies more, so you eat less. Although this has not been proven yet.


Insulin is a hormone that allows the body to use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets cause me to burn this fuel quickly, so it is not necessary to store it. This means that your body will need – and will – less insulin. Those lower levels can help protect against some types of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. However, more research is needed on this subject.

Heart disease

It seems strange that a diet that requires more fat can increase “good” cholesterol and reduce “bad” cholesterol, but ketogenic diets are linked only to that. It may be because the lower insulin levels that result from these diets can let your body produce more cholesterol. That means they are less likely to have high blood pressure, hardening of the arteries, heart failure and other heart diseases.


Carbohydrates have been linked to this skin condition, so reducing them can help. The drop of insulin in a ketogenic diet can also help stop acne outbreaks (insulin can cause your body to produce other hormones that trigger outbreaks).


Low-carb diets seem to help keep blood sugar lower and more predictable than other diets. But when the body burns fat for energy, it creates the compounds called ketones. If you have diabetes, particularly type 1 diabetes, too many ketones in the blood can cause disease. So it is very important to talk with your doctor about any changes in your diet.


Ketogenic diets have helped control the seizures caused by this disease since 1920. But again, it is important to talk with your doctor to find out what is right for you or your child.

Other disorders of the Nervous System

These affect the brain and spine, as well as the nerves that bind them. Epilepsy is one of them, but others can be helped by a ketogenic diet, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and various sleep disorders. Scientists are not sure why, but it may be that the ketones that your body produces when you break down fat for energy help protect brain cells from damage.

Polycystic ovary syndrome

This is when a woman’s ovaries become larger than they should be and small pockets full of fluid are formed around them. High levels of insulin can cause it. Ketogenic diets reduce both the amount of insulin you make and how much you need, and can help treat it, along with other lifestyle changes, such as exercise and weight loss.


A ketogenic diet can help endurance athletes – runners and cyclists, for example – when they train. Over time, it helps improve the muscle-fat ratio and increases the amount of oxygen your body is able to use when you’re working hard. But while it may help in training, it may not work as well as other diets for optimal performance.

Side effects

The most common are usually not serious: You may have constipation, a slight drop in blood sugar, or indigestion. Far less often, low-carbohydrate diets can lead to kidney stones or high levels of acid in your body (acidosis).

Diet with care

When the body burns its stores of fat, it can be harmful to the kidneys. And starting a ketogenic diet – or returning to a normal diet later – can be difficult if you are obese due to other health problems you are likely to have, such as diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure. If you have any of these conditions, make changes in your diet slowly and only under the supervision of your doctor.