Ketogenic Diet – A Dietitian Review
If I had to nominate the star diet for 2018, Ketogenic would definitely make the cut.
Online sites are flooded with different definitions & guidelines, showing its popularity, yet also making it hard to know what definition is correct. What some may not know, is before Keto was a fad, it was mainly used as a diet to treat epilepsy to reduce brain seizures.
What are my concerns as a Dietitian when someone wants to follow any diet?
- Will this diet include enough variety to give your body all the nutrients it needs to function?
- Does the person have any health issues that may make this diet unsafe?
- Does the individual have an eating disorder – will this diet worsen it?
- Will one easily regain the weight lost once transitioning off the diet?
Let’s start with a definition
The Ketogenic Diet
High fat, moderate protein, and very low carbohydrate (ideally maximum of 20 grams per day – but this may vary) in order to achieve “ketosis” for your body to use fat for fuel instead of its preferred carbohydrate source for energy. Some studies have shown that if you consume adequate protein needs, this process should not compromise your muscle mass.
The brains main go-to food is glucose, which is obtained when your body breaks down carbs. You even keep an extra stash of glucose in your liver in the form called glycogen, and this is why athletes do something called “carbohydrate loading” before an event – eating tons of carbs to store tons of glycogen because it’s an energy source the body can easily take out for use. When glucose is no longer available, the body will use other sources such as lipids (fat), as it can break down into ketone bodies, which the brain can use for fuel. Protein can also be utilized for this purpose as well. If we didn’t have these secondary mechanisms, we would drop dead a lot faster in certain situations!