What is the Keto Diet?

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Over the past few months it's been hard to ignore the Keto Diet. It's a new trend among people trying to lose weight.

It allows almost no carbohydrates, but lots of fattening foods. Believe it or not, steaks, ranch dressing, and cheese are helping people lose weight. The keto diet is meant to help people lower insulin, eliminate seizures and control symptoms of illnesses.

The diet puts the body in ketosis, where you basically burn fat instead of sugar. So, how do the benefits weigh up against the potential risks? WEAU Health Correspondent Dr. Alicia Arnold sat down with Tyler Mickelson to answer that question. Their Q&A can be found below and you can watch the video above to learn more!

So, eating fatty foods to put your body in ketosis... What does that mean?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Ketosis is a metabolic process that occurs when your body doesn't have enough carbohydrates for your cells to turn into energy, so your body burns fat for energy instead. Ketones are a byproduct of your liver breaking down fat.”

Are there any risks to eating like this?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “The keto diet is based on extremely low carbohydrate intake. Because of this, not only do you have to cut things like refined sugars, pastas, and bread, you also have to avoid most fruits and higher carb vegetables like potatoes and sweet potatoes. One concern with these restrictions is that it can lead to nutritional deficiencies. It can also be hard to get enough fiber on this diet.”

Would a diet involving these foods be difficult to maintain?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “That is a concern with the keto diet even compared to other low carb diets like the Atkins diet because it is so restrictive on carbohydrate intake. Some people get tired of counting carbs every day and because it limits your ability to eat a lot of the things you might normally enjoy, there's risk for rebound binge eating of all the foods you miss.”

Is exercise important for this diet?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “Exercise is an important part of healthy living. One thing to look out for with this diet and exercise is short burst, high intensity activities like weight lifting and sprinting typically use carbs for energy. On the keto diet, people may find that they do not have enough carbohydrates in their system to perform these activities as they normally would.”

Is this a viable option for people to lose weight?

Dr. Alicia Arnold, “At the end of the day, the best diet plan is one you can stick to. The keto diet can help you lose weight, but because it is so restrictive on carb intake it can be tough to stay with it long term.”



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