The ever increasingly popular keto diet is a low carbohydrate diet, with many claiming the key to quick and effective weight loss. The keto diet was originally used to treat children with uncontrolled epilepsy. Although person dependant, a low carbohydrate diet is eating between 20g – 50g of carbohydrate a day, which is roughly equivalent to two medium sized apples. This means the majority of energy comes from eating a high fat diet.
What foods can you eat on the keto diet?
Similar to the Atkins diet, the keto diet is made up of meat, eggs, cheese, fish, fibrous vegetables and oils. Things to avoid include many fruits, startchy carbohydrates like rice, pasta and potatoes, and sugary foods and drinks.
How does the keto diet work?
The body and all its’ cells use carbohydrates, broken down into glucose, for energy. When the body does not have any glucose available, it breaks down the stored fat into ketone bodies. This is called ketosis, and the body remains in a state of ketosis until carbohydrates are eaten again. These ketones can then replace glucose and be used in the cells. It is also claimed that those following the keto diet find their appetite reduces as ketones may play a role in signalling satiety in the brain.
Is the keto diet healthy?
There is significant scientific evidence to show that the Ketogenic diet has positive effects on reducing seizures in epileptic children, however there is limited research to suggest the diet has long term sustainable effects on lifestyle diseases such as Type 2 diabetes. There are also claims the keto diet can improve conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and autism, however there is no strong scientific evidence to suggest this. As the diet is high in fat, the increase in saturated fat can lead to other conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease and kidney disease.
Should I do the keto diet?
Despite the lack of controlled studies around the keto diet in humans, there is some evidence to suggest the diet does lead to weight loss, especially within the first 6 months of being on the diet. However, as it is very restrictive and can cause side effects such as constipation, nausea and bad breath, it is hard to stick to.
Also, as it is a low carbohydrate diet, there is a risk of becoming deficient in essential minerals such as magnesium, calcium and potassium. The diet does however make you more aware of what you are putting in your body, what different foods are composed of and does lead to an overall calorie reduction.
Still confused about nutrition and what is best for you to lose weight? Book an appointment today with our Clinical Dietitian, Holly.