Keto diets are all the craze in the weight watchers circles across the world but do you know what is even more popular? Keto 2.0 is the upgraded, ‘improved’ version of this diet that is fast gaining adherents and fans. Many people who have given up on trying to lose weight with keto or have only tasted marginal success have jumped over to the Keto 2.0 bandwagon in a desperate bid to drop a few pounds and keep it that way. But does it work? Is Keto 2.0 really a good weight loss strategy as compared to the original Keto diet? Should you be following it at all? Is it a better diet to follow than Keto 1.0? That’s debatable, but let’s start by understanding what Keto and its elite cousin Keto 2.0 are and how they differ from each other.
Introducing Keto and Keto 2.0
The biggest appeal of keto diets is that they allow you to eat fat rich foods pretty much without the serious restraints that other diet plans impose on you. Keto dieters get 60 to 75 percent of their calorie needs fulfilled from fat, cutting down carbs drastically to get just about 5 to 10 percent of calories from this source. 15 to 30 percent of the calories come from proteins. Super low on carbs and high on fat is the basic idea. The idea is to increase your fat intake to such a level that your body learns to burn fat and convert it into energy. The keto diets rely on a process called ketosis that occurs in the human body to produce the weight loss effects that dieters seek.
However, keto diets severely restrict the plant based food intake for the dieter. Keto 2.0 was aimed at rectifying this, and the tweaked proportions allow you to include many plant based food stuffs in your diet plan without impairing your ketosis goal.
To achieve this, the Keto 2.0 diet tweaks the Keto diet requirements somewhat. If you are following this modified keto diet, you would be getting about 50 percent of your calories from fats, 30 percent from protein, and 20 percent from carbs. The key thing to remember here is that your carbs can’t be accounting for any more than 20 percent of your calories because, in this situation, your body does not go into the ‘desired’ state of ketosis – that is, it does not begin to burn fat instead of carbs for energy. Evidently, achieving ketosis is the end game for Keto diet and Keto 2.0 diet followers. But what exactly is ketosis, and why is this desirable?
It was an endocrinologist named Dr. Rollin Woodyatt who found that two compounds – beta hydroxybutyric acid and acetone – were found in high levels in those who were fasting. Also called ketones, these compounds are produced when the body is in ketosis state, when the body is using fat to convert into energy rather than converting carbs into energy. In this process, a higher level of ketones are produced than normal.
The idea behind the keto diets is that, if the body is pushed to a state of ketosis, it begins to burn fat instead of carbs. The burning of fat results in weight loss. To bring this about, the keto diet is restricted and tweaked so that it has a predominance of fats and reduced carbs, pushing the body into a state of carb depletion.
The Keto diet, or rather the concept, is not something new, although the fad may be fairly recent. In fact, way back in 1921, the effects of fasting were studied, and this fact about fat burning was gleaned. But the alarming part of this is the reason why the effects of fasting were studied at this time, which was to show that fasting brought about certain metabolic changes that have the potential to control epileptic fits. Interestingly, even before this, fasting was used as a means to control fits, although the exact reason why it seemed to work was not researched in detail then.
As these facts came to light, that ketosis brought about a positive impact on those suffering from epileptic fits, doctors studied the fasting process in detail and discovered that it was the depletion of carbs that did the magic and not necessarily overall fasting. The earliest keto diet consisted of a diet plan with a gram of protein per kilogram of body mass, with carbs no more than 15 grams.
What you should also know is that fasting is used even today as one of the means to control epileptic fits, although the plethora of effective medications available to treat the condition make it largely unnecessary.
Why the Keto and Keto 2.0 Diets are Not a Healthy Option
To begin with, you should know that studies show that a long term use of fasting in epileptic children heightened the risk of growth retardation, poor bone strength owing to osteopenia, and kidney stones. The fasting also resulted in short term issues, such as constipation, nausea, dehydration and hypoglycemia. Even if you set this aside as a potential risk only for children, the keto diet is not exactly healthy for adults either. Perhaps the most alarming and most overlooked aspects of this include:
Subdued Brain Electrical Activity
The keto diet, or the modified form of it, was used with epileptic patients for its ability to impair the brain’s electrical activity. It is a well known fact that this kind of fasting or a very low carb diet results in the brain not getting enough access to glucose. The ketosis state is also a state where the brain’s electrical activity is severely impaired. While this is desirable in the event of a severe epileptic fit for medical reasons, in a normal state, why would you wish to subdue your brain’s electrical activity at all?
The Saturated Fat Risk
Both with Keto and Keto 2.0, the dieter needs to have a good understanding of what kind of fats are healthy and which are to be avoided. A keto diet is predominantly found to push the dieter towards saturated fats – since they are easy to get access to, prep, and take. Loading up your body with saturated fats is hardly a good idea given how harmful they can be to your overall system. Keto 2.0 aims to address this by bringing in more leeway about the kinds of fats you can have and also slightly increasing your carbs so you have a far more expansive choice to pick from. However, unless you spend time and attention in discovering which fats are good and which carbs are healthy, you could still be eating all the wrong things that will slowly cause your system to become less and less healthy. Keep in mind that you would still be losing weight over the initial period simply because your body is attacking the fat, but in a more insidious way, you could also be depriving your body of health nutrients and loading it with unhealthy stuff.
According to diet experts at the University of Chicago Medicine Ingalls Memorial, the keto diet is not something they recommend at all because it is highly unrealistic and unsustainable. In fact, they do NOT recommend this diet to anyone because in their own words, it is not sustainable and the weight that is lost initially just comes right back. The dieticians point out that the special products that are branded and sold as ‘keto diet’ compliant ones are often costly and also quite unnecessary for your body, offering nothing in terms of value add to your health.
The Fat Intake Problem
To ensure that you fulfill your fat intake requirements, you may have to take foods that are not quite healthy for you and take them in far bigger quantities that you would normally consume. For example, you would be eating eggs, dairy, fatty fish, oils, etc. all in generous proportions, far above what could be healthy for you. While this will ensure that your keto regimen is maintained, what about the other impact it has on your health? In particular, if you are already suffering from certain ailments, such as diabetes or heart disease, you could be significantly heightening your risk by following this diet without proper understanding of how the regimen can impact other aspects of your health. For instance, if you are a diabetic, you may give your system a rude shock when you start out on this diet, so much so that your medication needs to be tweaked. Worst case, it could lead to ketoacidosis or diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Risk for Those with Liver Ailments
The ketosis that occurs in your body requires your liver to work harder than usual. If you already suffer from liver ailments, this could be impossible for this organ to handle, or you may be subjecting it to far more stress than it is safe to load it with. Your bid to lose weight could end with more serious complications with your liver ailments.
Unpleasant Side Effects
Apart from the fact that changing your eating habits so drastically can be tough to handle and sustain, the keto diets, both original and modified, also come with side effects that are unpleasant. These are known to be so tiresome that keto diet followers have a term for it: Keto flu. Keto flu can manifest itself in the form of dizziness, stomach upsets, fatigue, lethargy, and mood swings.
According to a California based doctor, keto diets could also result in a lowered libido initially. In the same article a registered dietician points out that the keto diet is not well researched at all, and its possible ill-effects may not be known fully yet. There is definite risk in following this diet as of now since there has not been extensive studies done on its benefits and adverse reactions.
Possible Kidney Damage
This is one of the most serious potential risks of a Keto or Keto 2.0 diet. The restricted diet options can easily result in a low electrolyte state within the system, and this leads to a drop in sodium, potassium and magnesium levels. A sharp drop in these and failure to restore balance quickly can result in kidney damage. Mere dehydration is enough to put you at risk of developing kidney stones or damaging this organ in other ways. The electrolyte loss is also not good news for your heart because they are necessary for maintaining a steady, stable heartbeat.
Possible Muscle Loss
In a normal, nutritious diet, you take in both protein and carbs adequately that work in conjunction to help with muscle building. Keto diets restrict the carbs and thus also subdue the efficiency of protein to build muscle. As a result, a long term keto diet can result in muscle loss, especially if you tend to lead an active lifestyle with regular exercising as a part of your weekly schedule.
When you start the Keto or Keto 2 diet, you tend to lose weight at a rapid rate but this is mainly the loss of water from your body and not the fat stored away, say experts. Heartened up by the weight loss, if you quit and come back to your regular diet, you quickly put back the pounds you lost. This could push you back into another cycle of Keto 2.0. Or you may decide to adopt this as a permanent diet style, which as we already saw, can be dangerous because this diet can have long term adverse effects on your overall health. If you end up yo-yoing between dieting and regular eating, you are actually more likely to accumulate abdominal fat that is tough to get rid of.
Overall, even if Keto 2.0 claims to improve upon the original keto, it still is fallible enough to warrant a serious rethink if you are planning to adopt it. Remember, there is no hard evidence yet to show that either of these are actually effective in reducing weight loss and keeping your overall weight in control. Given this, it may not be worth taking on all the potential risks in a bid to lose a few inches via Keto 2.0 diet.