Research Question Impact and Benefits of Ketogenic Diet

Obesity is becoming an epidemic for almost every demographic in the United States. With numerous attempts from countless health care organization to educate and reiterate the importance of dietary intake and weight control, obesity is still increasing dramatically. Risk factors included in obesity are an increased number of cardiovascular and metabolic disorders.

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Genetics and pre-existing conditions combined with high-calorie diets and an unhealthy, inactive lifestyles affect weight gain and overall health. Besides weight gain and obesity, individuals with genetic predispositions face a high likelihood of developing hypertension, type-2 diabetes, as well as other diseases in various organs (i.e. heart, liver, or gallbladder disease). Research shows the social, physiological, and biological aspects of certain lifestyle changes, trend diets, and increased changes in nutritional beliefs. While there is not a set formula for weight loss and a healthy lifestyle, there are numerous ways to counteract weight gain and the other issues that could arise. One of the more recent strategies for weight loss/control, along with various other uses, is the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet is based off utilizing the naturally occurring process of ketosis. Many studies have shown the benefits of a ketogenic diet, but there are certain risks associated with the trend as well. This review discusses the basis and motive of the ketogenic diet, the impact, and the positive and negatives effects of this diet.

Introduction

The ketogenic diet is based on the ketosis process and establishes a low carbohydrate, moderate protein, and high in fat diet. Ketosis being the metabolic process in which cells are deprived of carbohydrates, the body’s main source of energy, and as a result, starts breaking down reserves of stored fat into molecules called ketones. When there is a restriction of carbohydrates in the body, fat is broken down by liver, glycerol, and fatty acids are then released (Ruled me). The liver uses two processes to fuel your cells, they are called ketogenesis and gluconeogenesis (Ruled me). To achieve a ketosis breakdown the individual’s diets consists of about 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs “Once an individual reaches ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until the individual starts eating carbohydrates again. After the individual reaches the stage of ketosis, they can begin to experiences the health benefits that come with it. One of the few examples of the ketosis health benefit includes the protection and regenerates of the nervous system, stimulation of mitochondrial production, ketones acting like an antioxidant, and helping to prevent the growth of some cancers.

The majority of individuals consume a high-carb diet, their body burns glucose for fuel. There are problems with glucose. The body can store about 2000 Calories of glucose energy at any one time in the form of glycogen. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day” (Campos). Essentially meaning there is a decrease in easily digestible carbohydrate consumption, while there is an increase in calorically intake from proteins and fats.

The Ketogenic Diet is very difficult regimen to follow due to the fact that most American foods are very high in sugar and carbohydrates (UNM). But with practice and understanding what the diet aims to achieve, it can be reduced to a manageable routine (UNM). There are four reasons why people find Ketogenic Diet to be difficult. The first reason is the supply, finding food in the grocery can be very challenging because one needs to buy food that is low in carbohydrates otherwise you get the kick out of ketosis. The second reason is the Disciple, for this diet to work, one has to be strict in self- control because it is very easy to be tempted. The third reasons are having the knowledge of the ketogenic diet which will give one a better understanding of the diet. The fourth reason is it takes time and patience for the results to show but unfortunately not everyone has that patience to wait.

Dr. Russel Wilder was the creator of the ketogenic diet and has since been used to help combat weight gain. He created the diet in 1921 at the Mayo Clinic for the purpose of treating patients especially children with Epilepsy. “For almost a decade, the ketogenic diet enjoyed a place in the medical world as a therapeutic diet for pediatric epilepsy and was widely used until its popularity ceased with the introduction of antiepileptic agents” (Masood).

Recently with diet trends, The resurgence of the ketogenic diet as a rapid weight loss formula is a relatively new concept the has shown to be quite effective, at least in the short run. The ketogenic diet was originally “developed for the treatment of pediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant drugs” (Realize Health). Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

Methods

Many studies have been conducted by various scientists and nutritionists that seem to defend the beneficial aspects of utilizing the ketogenic diet to regulate weight loss and the other health issues that can arise from obesity. But due to the intense nature of the diet, most participants do not use the ketogenic diet as a long-term diet. There were several methods listed below that explain the testing of the ketogenic diet and its benefits in the short-term.

In researching this topic, there was a study entitled “Ketogenic enteral nutrition as a treatment for obesity: short-term and long-term results from 19,000 patients” conducted by Gianfranco Cappello, Antonella Franceschelli, Annal”isa Cappello, and Paolo De Luca. In this study, participants underwent cycles of the diet in 10-day periods which consisted of being given a solution consisted of 50-65 grams of protein, vitamins, and electrolytes, through a tube”

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