Nutrition

Mar 27, 2018

Is the Keto Diet for you?

Originally published on anytimefitness.com

It’s generally accepted that our bodies are carbohydrate burning powerhouses, using glycogen stored in the liver and muscles to fuel our lives – and we’re really efficient at it! But what happens when intake of carbohydrates is so low that our bodies turn to burning fat for fuel instead? Well, our brain, which is selfish when it comes to energy usage, goes into starvation mode in the absence of sugar and relies on the liver to derive the energy it needs to function directly from fat. This is the basis of the ketogenic diet.
The ketogenic diet is more of, let’s say, a lifestyle choice rather than the next big fad diet. Supporters of the ketogenic way of eating will boast enhanced performance, improvement in various health metrics like blood sugar, and maybe even weight loss. But why a sudden significant shift in eating habits? Is the ketogenic diet really all it’s cracked up to be? Let’s learn more!

Keto 101

Although it may seem new and hip, the ketogenic diet, otherwise known as the “keto” diet, has been around for many years. It’s based on consuming a diet that’s very low in carbohydrates and high in fats and protein. You may be thinking, “this sounds quite familiar” and that’s because it does. The Atkins diet, introduced in the 1970s, and the ketogenic diet draw on many of the same principles; pushing the body into a state of “ketosis”, or the breakdown of ketone bodies (fat) for energy.

How To Keto

The body typically goes into a state of ketosis within several days of consuming a very low carbohydrate diet. What’s considered “very low”? According to Dr. Marcelo Campos, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and Clinical Assistant Professor at TUFTS School of Medicine, 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrate consumption per day depending on the individual may lead to the production of ketone bodies, and hence, a keto diet.

Benefits of a Ketogenic Lifestyle

Potential Risks

What’s Next

Overall, more research is needed on the long-term effects of the keto diet, particularly in adult humans, as much of the research currently available is based on animal studies or children with epilepsy. So make the more sustainable choice for you, because the best diet for you is the one you can stick with. It should be based on a variety of different foods that are nutrient dense, that is they provide a lot of nutrients for little calories. And remember, every food can be incorporated into a healthy diet in moderation!

Disclaimer: this article is not intended to diagnose or treat. Please consult your medical provider, informing them of your medical history and current medications, prior to making drastic changes to your diet.

Sources:

  1. Ketogenic Diet for Obesity – Friend or Foe? By Antonio Paoli – International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. 2014 Feb; 11(2): 2092–2107.
  2. 
The 5 Most Common Arguments for the Keto Diet, Debunked by Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN – Good House Keeping. 2018 Feb 16.
  3. Ketogenic diet: Is the ultimate low-carb diet good for you? By Marcelo Campos, MD. Harvard Health Blog. 2017 July 27.
  4. 
Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials by Nassib Bezerra Bueno, Ingrid Sofia Vieira de Melo, Suzana Lima de Oliveira and Terezinha da Rocha Ataide. British Journal of Nutrition. 2013 Oct;110(7):1178-87.
  5. Effects of Ketogenic Diet on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies by Christophe Kosinski and François R. Jornayvaz. Nutrients Journal. 2017 May; 9(5): 517.
  6. Ketogenic Diet. Epilepsy Foundation. 2017 Oct 25.