Ketogenic diet: how it works and why it's in vogue with the stars

    Ketogenic diet: how it works and why it's in vogue with the stars

    Since its advent the ketogenic diet it is one of the most popular diets among the stars: it was followed by divas such as Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian and sports stars including basketball players LeBron James and Kobe Bryant. And now he arrives in literature thanks to the novelist Luca Doninelli and his latest book La Diet sono io, in which he tells his victory over the (many) extra kilos obtained thanks to this slimming method.

    «I lost 50 kilos and I got out of the trip forever food addiction. It was like when we get rid of a person we hate, but we can't detach ourselves from because we think we respect them, ”says the writer. While to learn more about the ketogenic diet, here are the key questions with the answers from our experts.

    What is this method based on?

    "To obtain the fuel necessary to perform all its functions, our body mainly uses glucose from carbohydrates.

    The ketogenic diet, drastically reducing the intake of these nutrients and increasing that of lipids, causes the body to transform both the fats introduced with food and those stored into energy ", replies Giulia Sturabotti, specialist in hygiene and medicine. preventive in Rome.

    "More decreases appetite, because it modifies the concentration of the hormones leptin and ghrelin, on which the stimulus of hunger and a sense of satiety depend ».

    Is there only one ketogenic diet?

    «In reality, over the years it has been declined in different versions: among the best known there are at Atkins and Lchf (Low carb, high fat). But the mechanism of action is the same », explains Sonia Bolognesi, nutrition biologist in Porto Sant'Elpidio (Fermo) and Osimo (Ancona).

    Are the results definitive?

    “Compared to other weight loss diets, ketogenic has a very low risk of producing the so-called "yo-yo effect" because it does not affect the lean mass, or rather the muscles, but rather increases it thanks to the contribution of proteins of high biological value. And the muscles, moreover, increase metabolic efficiency », explains Dr. Bolognesi.

    «All this provided that the weight loss regimen is followed correctly and for an adequate period of time, that is not less than 14 days».

    What does the menu include?

    «In the more restrictive and rigid versions, carbohydrates must make up less than 5% of calories and lipids 87-90%. The meal plan provides fats of vegetable origin, rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9, such as those of dried fruit and extra virgin olive oil, and others of animal origin, which also provide proteins of high biological value.

    There is therefore no shortage of milk and its derivatives, in particular the fattest cheeses, such as mature ones, as well as meat, eggs and fish, an excellent source of polyunsaturated fatty acids. An example? 160 g of swordfish with 30 g of mayonnaise, 5 g of Pantelleria capers and 5 g of lard, then 80 g of new courgettes with 30 g of black olives, 15 g of extra virgin olive oil and 10 g of lecithin soy », explains the nutritionist biologist.

    Given the peculiarity of this diet, once the desired weight is reached, are there any rules to follow to return to a normal diet?

    "Yup. Basically, it is essential to progressively lower the ratio between lipids and carbohydrates, going from the initial 4: 1 to 3: 1, then to 2: 1 and then to 1: 1, until we gradually return to the usual diet », always clarifies doctor Bolognesi.

    Can it be followed by everyone?

    «This diet is only ok if you are in good health. However, it should be avoided if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, kidney or liver failure, type I diabetes and heart disease. This is because the disposal of ketone bodies can greatly strain the liver and kidneys. Also for this reason, even in the absence of contraindications, it must always be followed under strict medical supervision », warns the nutritionist biologist.

    Is it just for weight loss?

    «In reality, the ketogenic diet was born in the early twentieth century for therapeutic purposes: it was in fact prescribed to control drug-resistant forms of epilepsy, since the beneficial effects of ketone bodies on the brain were already known at the time. A recent and authoritative American study has instead shown that this diet has a euphoric effect on the central nervous system and greatly improves long-term memory.

    Furthermore, it is useful for relieving migraines and controlling attention deficit and hyperactivity in children, as revealed by a study by the Telethon Institute of Child Health Care Research in Perth, Australia, which appeared in the Journal of Attention Disorders ", closes Giulia Sturabotti.

    "It works because in the beginning it motivates you"

    After trying other diets without success, the writer Luca Doninelli has landed on ketogenic, with which he lost 50 of his 140 kg. The diet is me (La Nave di Teseo, € 17) is the story of the exit from the tunnel and the return to life, because living with obesity means having to deal with physical ailments every day and, above all, with embarrassment e the sense of inadequacy.

    «In the early stages, you lose a lot of weight quickly and this is a strong incentive to move forward. I started the diet on April 1st 2016 and in September I had already lost 34 kg. Then for some time, thanks to Christmas and a few too many transgressions, I have not made progress. In April 2017, during the period of my daughter's wedding, I dropped to 100 kilos and in mid-2018 I reached the final goal of 90 », says the writer.

    Is victory over obesity therefore a possible mission? "In the same months for the theater I reduced Victor Hugo's The Miserables from 1900 pages to 90. It was much more tiring to cut the enchantment of that text than the excess weight!".

    It is also anti-aging

    An American research published by Cell Metabolism has shown that the ketogenic diet (which in the body mimics the effects of fasting) is able to modify the action of some genes on which premature aging and cellular degeneration depend. Furthermore, it seems that ketone bodies (such as beta-hydroxybutyrate) have a protective function against oxidative stress.

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