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What You Should Know About Ketogenic Diets

Diet fads come and go. Whether it’s low-carb or low-fat, it seems like every month, people are talking about a new diet. Lately, you may have heard people talking about ketogenic diets.

What are they? Are they healthy? And could they be an option for you if you want to lose weight? Read on for the scoop on ketogenic diets—and whether one may be worth trying.

The Breakdown

The food you eat contains carbohydrates, proteins, and fats, all of which your body can convert into energy. However, your body digests these macronutrients differently. Carbohydrates are converted into glucose, or blood sugar. Protein and fat, however, are not directly converted into glucose. This means they have less of an impact on your blood sugar. And when your blood sugar is too high, it can lead to weight gain.

The idea behind a ketogenic diet is that it limits the amount of carbohydrates you consume without limiting protein or fat. If you don’t take in enough carbs, your body must break down body fat into molecules called ketones. Your body then uses these ketones for energy instead of or in addition to blood glucose.

Is It Healthy?

Some studies have found that following a ketogenic diet seems to suppress appetite, which may make it easier to lose weight. After all, if you’re not hungry, you’re less likely to snack or overeat. And limiting your carbs (which includes starchy foods as well as dairy products, fruits, and vegetables) may help lower your overall calorie intake as well, which aids in weight loss.

Ketogenic diets also may be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. These diets are used to treat epilepsy and are being studied to see if they may help people with cancer. However, because ketogenic diets limit carbs, they can be hard to stick with.

Before you try one, talk with your doctor about the pros and cons of following a ketogenic diet to determine whether it’s right for you.

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