First up — the keto diet.
The high fat, moderate protein and low carb diet is exploding with food products, cookbooks and high profile endorsements.
Dr. Ania Jastreboff explains, “There’s a way where you’re eating things like avocado and nuts, healthy fats. Then there’s another way that people do keto which is they eat more things like bacon and things that are potentially less healthy fats. Technically both are keto diet but less healthy fat, people call dirty keto.”
Endocrinologist Dr. Jastreboff with Yale Medicine specializes in obesity medicine and answered the most common questions about keto.
Is it safe?
She answers, “It depends, so if you have heart disease, if you have heart failure, if you have kidney or liver disease, this diet may not be right for you.”
Why is the keto diet popular?
She says, “It’s definitive. Eat more fat, don’t eat a lot of carbs. Okay, black and white kind of thing. Initially people notice a decrease in hunger and craving and so if you notice a decrease in hunger in the first three days, it takes about three to four days, it’s easier for you to say ‘oh I’m going to continue doing this.'”
How long can I be on it?
“It depends on your health and what I would say is talk to your doctor because every person is different. Every person is individual and for me to say you can stay on a certain diet for a certain period of time when we don’t have long term studies wouldn’t be a very good answer,” says Dr. Jastreboff.
Side effects of keto?
“Dehydration is definitely a side effect, ” she says. “People will develop constipation which can also be related to the dehydration as well as decreasing fiber in their diet.”
What is the so-called keto flu?
“People can get dizzy,” says Dr. Jastreboff. “And that can be related to dehydration. They can also feel very tired and they can have trouble sleeping, which exacerbates this feeling of tired and that’s what kinda happens with this phenomena, so the way to avoid is to make sure you’re staying really well hydrated.”
How do you know when you’ve reached the state of ketosis? Key to losing the weight.
She says, “Ketosis basically means that a majority of your energy is coming from fat so you’re breaking down fat for your energy. You can buy keto sticks and basically check your urine to see if you’re in ketosis. The other way, there are some signs. For example, people will develop keto breath or halitosis and it’s related to the ketone bodies and how your breath smells. It smells kinda fruity.”
What’s the connection between keto and epilepsy?
Dr. Jastreboff says, “In terms of epilepsy, decades ago before the discovery of anti-seizure medication, keto diet was used to decrease seizures. It is still used today to help with decreasing seizures in some patients.”
She highly prescribes talking with your doctor and a dietitian to figure out if the keto diet is a fit for you.
Have a health question? Send it to News8OnCall@wtnh.com.