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Essay on Ketogenic Diet: Is It Healthy or Bad for You?

Updated August 8, 2022

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Essay on Ketogenic Diet: Is It Healthy or Bad for You? essay

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Fad diets are all the rage, especially in America’s 21st century where every American tries to lose weight at some point. From Adkins, to Paleo, to South Beach; Americans tend to just want a quick fix. Many question whether these diets are healthy, effective, and if they are truly effective. What about the Ketogenic diet? The ketogenic diet proves to be different than the rest of the other dieting options. Not only does the ketogenic diet provide satisfying weight loss, but there are many health benefits of abiding by the keto diet. The keto diet provides more good than harm as this diet promotes a low carb diet that transitions the metabolism into a state of ketosis where the body to use fat for energy instead of carbohydrates and sugar.

What is a ketogenic diet? A ketogenic diet, when in the state of ketosis, releases a byproduct of fat breakdown, or ketones, into the bloodstream to be utilized by cellular metabolism (Campos, 2018). When one consumes no more than around 50 carbohydrates in a day, the body will convert to a state of ketosis after two to three days typically. Usually, cellular metabolism utilizes glucose as its’ main form of energy, but with the ketogenic diet glucose is limited as carbohydrate and sugar intake is limited. Therefore, the body turns to fat to fuel cellular metabolism. The Keto diet consists of consuming high fat (healthy fats, if possible), moderate protein, and low carbohydrate and sugar intake (‘The truth behind the most popular diet trends of the moment’, 2018) It is also extremely important to maintain hydration, as carbohydrates are more efficient at holding water than hydrophobic fats and proteins.

Can being in ketosis reverse illness?  The Ketogenic diet has been trialed and found to improve individual’s conditions of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, seizure disorders, Alzheimer’s, cancer, PCOS, acne, and obesity. With diabetics, the ketogenic diet limits sugar and carbohydrate metabolism, the very recipe that diabetics are instructed to follow when it relates to diet control (‘What Are the Benefits and Risks of the Keto Diet? | Everyday Health’, 2018). In turn, this lowers the blood glucose level and thus the insulin needed to assist in cellular metabolism of glucose. By consuming healthy fats and proteins, studies have shown that individuals ultimately reduce low-density lipoproteins (bad cholesterol) and increase the availability of high-density lipoproteins (good cholesterol), therefore improving the risk and decreasing the progression of cardiovascular disease.

The ketogenic diet has also shown to improve seizure disorders, especially with children who suffer from focal seizures; the mechanism, however, remains unknown. Despite long-term limitations on these studies, an increase in saturated fats reduces the production of beta-amyloid, the amino acid chain that contributes to the development in Alzheimer’s (Auwera, Wera, Leuven, & Henderson, 2005). Furthermore, the ketogenic diet essentially starves cancerous cells and thus inhibits oncogenesis as cancerous cells thrive off of glucose for rapid reproduction–again, ketogenesis reduces the availability of glucose and carbohydrate byproducts available for cellular metabolism.

Can ketogenesis cause health concerns? Some fear that an increased fat diet can lead to more diseased states, such as cardiovascular disease from consuming unsaturated and trans fats rather than saturated fats, or “good” fats. Additionally, the keto diet can yield undesired short-term side effects such constipation, nausea, vomiting, and headaches (‘What Are the Benefits and Risks of the Keto Diet? | Everyday Health’, 2018). Long-term, ketogenic diets could potentially result in reduced bone density stemming from vitamin and mineral deficiency, therefore, it recommended that supplemental vitamins and minerals be consumed when adhering to the Keto diet (Campos, 2018). Others argue that the ketogenic diet stimulated a less than ideal version of a “balanced” diet.

Is the current food pyramid accepted by many governmental agencies outdated? The current food pyramid, or MyPyramid, underemphasizes the importance of fats, namely healthy fats from nuts, seeds, and other saturated fats; rather, it steers one to consider fats to be off limits in a ‘healthy diet.’ It also seemingly leads the average Joe to consume unlimited amounts of dairy and meat regardless of whether some items in these categories are healthier than others i.e. processed bologna vs. freshly caught salmon.

Currently, a less outdated format provided by the department of agriculture, found on, breaks down each food category, for example, vegetables, into subcategories such as leafy green vegetables, starchy vegetables, beans and peas, etcetera (‘Vegetable Group Food Gallery’, 2017). It seems that a lack of education, or access to education, as well as a national trend of increasing sugar and carbohydrate incorporation into daily dietary values, has ultimately compromised optimal health and has led to an increased incidence and prevalence of chronic disease. Chronic disease accounts for nearly 70% of annual deaths in America and utilizes nearly 75% of allotted healthcare funds to treat these illnesses. Diabetes remains the number one cause of renal disease, cardiovascular disease, and various other comorbidities ultimately leading to death.

What would happen if the food pyramid was flipped upside down? If we as society went to a more natural way of eating what would happen to the economy? As stated above the food pyramid is outdated. The pyramid is too generalized and vague in its definitions of what is healthy and what is not. If we flipped the food pyramid upside down it would follow more of a low-carb higher fat diet. Although even with the pyramid flipped adjustments would still have to be made. The sugars section would have to be moved back to the top and there would need to be a better breakdown of what each category contains. The government pushed out the food pyramid in 1992 and since then there has been a spike in low-fat or non-fat categories in every food section.

Although the pyramid has since been revised the old way of thinking that has been adopted by so many still influences so many due to a lack of education and training. Although many do not notice, the grocery store is packed with variations of products that are constantly modified with unnatural alternatives. The companies that make these products make large amounts of money pushing the old food pyramids agenda. These companies would lose a lot of products and money if they pushed the updated nutritional agenda. The lack of education is the main cause that these companies products are thriving. The consumers do not realize that it is not the fat or sugar that cause obesity but rather the types and amounts that are consumed.

In conclusion, the answer to the world’s diseases and chronic illnesses may not be the ketogenic diet, but when considering the current diet of most American’s and the link between diet and chronic illness the connection has been made. As with every choice every human is affected differently. The ketogenic diet has been proven to have many health benefits. The diet if followed correctly can be a great long-term change. As explained the keto diet can reverse some severe illnesses through lowering glucose levels.

The ketogenic diet does have side effects for some but the positives far outweigh the negatives. The current food pyramid is outdated and even since being updated in 2005 is still vague in the explanation of what a “healthy” diet is. Although we would see a positive change in flipping the food pyramid it still would not educate people on what a healthy diet looks like. Overall, Americans have hundreds of options when it comes to diets. Our responsibility is to learn how our body functions and how our body uses food for fuel, from that point the last step is to pick a way of life that supports those functions.

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Essay on Ketogenic Diet: Is It Healthy or Bad for You?. (2022, Aug 08). Retrieved from