General medicine

The researchers find that the increasing accessibility to health information, many people now try to manage their weight and improve their health by following certain diets. However; there is much debate surrounding what exactly constitutes a healthy diet. Vegetarians think that eliminating meat is the answer; while fans of the ketogenic diet or simply “the keto diet” believe it is best to eat a lot of fat. In any case, one food people generally try to avoid when following a healthy diet is sugar.

Diet or simply “the keto diet”

Eliminating sugar from the diet can be challenging since it is find in foods people are not necessarily think of as containing sugar such as tomato sauce and even veggie burgers. However; if a person does cut sugar out of their diet, the health benefits will be almost immediate; according to Eric Pham from St. Joseph’s Hospital in Orange, California.

When a person drastically reduces their carbohydrate intake and replaces it with fat; the body enters a metabolic state called ketosis, where ketone bodies are produced from fat stores. These serve as a replacement for the energy usually produced by the breakdown of carbohydrates. For a person to enter ketosis; they would need to ensure they only eat around 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.

Carbohydrate intake and replaces

As well as the keto diet aiding weight loss, it is also associated with other health benefits. Research comparing the keto diet with a low-fat diet has shown that people on the keto diet not only lose weight in the long-term but their triacylglycerol levels and blood pressure fall. The diet has even been shown to reduce the number of seizures among people with epilepsy.

In the state of ketosis; glucose levels fall to a level that is too low for fat oxidation to occur and for glucose to be supplied to the central nervous system. The central nervous system is not able to acquire energy from fats directly; since fatty acids cannot penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

Central nervous system

After several days of glucose deprivation; the central nervous system starts to find alternative sources of energy in the form of ketone bodies, especially the ketones acetoacetate; β-hydroxybutyrate and acetone. As with most diets; certain foods must be avoided on the keto diet if a person is going to reap benefits. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as pasta, rice, and potatoes must all be avoided; as well as foods with a high sugar content such as fruit, soda, beer and chocolate. People are allowed to drink coffee; tea water and the occasional glass of wine.