The Bacon Diet (aka Keto Diet) - is it good or bad?
If you spend any amount of time reading about health or nutrition, you’ve likely encountered numerous mentions of the Keto Diet. “I can eat bacon and sausage every day and still lose weight?” you may have thought to yourself. Unbelievable! Commonly referred to like the bacon diet, there is more to it than meets the eye!
What is the Keto Diet?
The keto diet has you eating A LOT of fat while keeping your carbohydrate intake to an absolute minimum. Stick to this unwaveringly and soon a change in your body will occur; it will go into a state of ketosis where your body uses the fat you’ve consumed instead of carbs to fuel your body. Due to the absence of carbs in your diet, your body is unable to get glucose and so your liver will start to convert all the fatty acids you’ve been consuming into ketones, which it then uses as an alternative fuel source for your body.
With the recent uptick in talk about the keto diet, it’s not hard to think that this is a new diet, but that is hardly the case. The keto diet has been around for nearly 100 years at this point! Originally developed to aid in the treatment of people suffering from epilepsy, researchers all the way back in the 1920s discovered that elevated levels of ketones in the blood resulted in patients experiencing dramatically fewer epileptic seizures! To this day, the keto diet is still being used as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children where anti-epileptic drugs have failed!
To help you decide whether this diet is the right choice for you, continue reading for some pros and cons of the bacon diet:
The Advantages of Ketogenic Diet:
- Burns Fat: Having elevated levels of ketones in your blood suppresses the hunger hormone ghrelin while increasing cholecystokinin, resulting in you feeling full. By reducing your appetite, it makes it easier for you to go for longer stretches of time without eating which goes on to encourage your body to use up the fat you’ve stored in your body for fuel! All this can result in rapid weight-loss!
- Reduces Inflammation: Followers of the keto diet may enjoy some of its anti-inflammatory effects. This may protect you against things like cancer and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s!
Provides Food and Fuel for Your Brain
- Provides Food and Fuel for Your Brain: Elevated levels of ketones provide your brain with a faster source of energy! When you are in ketosis, 70% of your brain’s energy requirements are met by fat. Your brain is comprised of more than 60% fat, so in order to keep it running at top capacity, it needs lots of fat. Increasing your fat intake will help to keep your brain healthy and strong. Getting adequate amounts of saturated fat will ensure the insulation layer around your brain, called myelin, is strong, resulting in more efficient communication between your neurons. Making sure to get enough omega-3s and other essential fatty acids will help in developing and growing the brain.
- Increases Energy: Being in a state of ketosis will result in your brain producing more of the power generators contained in your cells, called mitochondria. When there is more energy in your cells, you will feel more energized as a result! Ketosis helps the brain create more mitochondria, the power generators within your cells. More energy in your cells means more energy for you to get stuff done. Anecdotally, many who follow the keto diet have claimed that they experience much-increased stamina and energy as a result of their diet! Increased performance during athletic activity is noticed for some. By keeping carbohydrate intake to a minimum, blood sugar levels are much more stable which results in a steady flow of energy, with fewer spikes.
Lowers Blood Sugar
- Lowers Blood Sugar: The keto diet can potentially cure or at least reverse some peoples’ diabetes! By maintaining a keto diet, blood sugar will be lowered, and insulin levels will hold more stable. For some diabetics, they have been able to get to a point where they no longer need their medication anymore as a result of the keto diet!
- Suppresses Appetite: Food with higher fat contents tends to be much more filling than their low-fat counterparts, resulting in a natural means of reducing one’s appetite! This means less urges to snack throughout the day and more long-lasting feeling of satiety!
The Disadvantages of The Ketogenic Diet:
There Is an Adaption Period
- There Is an Adaption Period: When you first start the keto diet, your body must go through what’s commonly called an adaption period. This period typically lasts between 1 and 2 weeks for most be can be an unpleasant experience. Flu-like symptoms, headaches, cravings for sugar, and cramped muscles are all common side effects of this adaption period. The symptoms that come along with this adaption period are all lumped into what is commonly called the “keto flu”. Keto flu is the result of a very restricted carb intake, which means your body doesn’t hold as much water as it used too, often resulting in a loss of electrolytes. To combat these symptoms, exogenous ketones or mineral supplements may be taken.
Must Be Followed Precisely
- Must Be Followed Precisely: In order to truly realize the benefits on offer from this diet, you must follow its rules to a T. Sticking to this diet’s restrictions can be hard for lots of people and it can make going out to eat with friends not so much fun.
Increased Digestive Issues May Occur
- Increased Digestive Issues May Occur: When you make a drastic change to your diet sometimes digestive issues can occur. With the keto diet, it is common for fiber intake to take a hit which can result in constipation! Your liver, pancreas, and gallbladder must get used to processing a large amount of fat mandated by the keto diet, and until then nausea is not uncommon. Once your body has become fat-adapted, these symptoms should subside.
- It’s Restrictive: While following the keto diet, who food groups may be virtually eliminated from your diet! Protein and vegetable intake end up being quite low and unless you are careful, vitamins, minerals, and other micro-nutrients are not consumed in adequate amounts. For your body to maintain a state of ketosis, all forms of sugar must be eliminated from your diet and avoided. You can’t eat pasta, rice, bread. Obviously, no donuts, candy, or ice cream! Due to fruit’s fructose content, as well as the starch content of many vegetables such as corn and potatoes, these should be avoided as well. The good news though is that your body will get used to this and your usual cravings for sugar will subside.
May Result in Elevated Cholesterol Levels
- May Result in Elevated Cholesterol Levels: For those genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, the increased amount of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol consumed as a part of this diet may result in high blood cholesterol levels. For those without this genetic predisposition, cholesterol levels are actually very likely to fall! If you are genetically predisposed to high cholesterol, the keto diet may unfortunately not be for you.
The keto diet has been all the rage over these past few years and with so many success stories, it’s tempting to jump on the bandwagon! With the keto diet, special considerations need to be made, and for you to truly succeed at your goals with this diet, it needs to be followed precisely!
Guest Author Bio: Dai Manuel
Dai Manuel is a super dad, dating his wife and currently doing life with his family around the globe. He is also an award-winning digital thought leader and author at DaiManuel.com, executive performance coach and certified lifestyle mentor who empowers people to lead a FUN-ctionally fit life through education, encouragement, and community. He models his work based on 5 F’s: Fitness, Family, Finances, Faith with an overarching roof of FUN, erected on a rock-solid foundation of Health. Keep the conversation flowing and connect with Dai on Instagram, Facebook or email.