The Rise of Ketogenic Diet
In 2018, there was a spike in searches about ‘keto diet’ and ‘keto’ worldwide on the internet. However, the ketogenic diet is not new and has been around since 1920 to treat epilepsy. This diet was found to help one lose a substantial amount of weight (Yang and Van Itallie, 1976) and regulate the blood sugar level of those with Type 2 diabetes (Yancy et al., 2005).
What is Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet which will force the body to go into ketosis. The recommended intake of carbohydrates and protein per day is 20% and 20% to 25% of total calorie intake respectively. The recommended fat intake ranges from 60% to 80% for a mild to strict ketogenic diet. During ketosis, the body will burn fats for energy instead of using glucose from carbohydrates. As a result, the body may experience weight loss.
Not only does the keto diet help one to lose weight and regulate blood sugar levels, studies suggest that keto diet can reduce the symptoms of neurodegeneration diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (Choragiewicz et al., 2010), (Broom, Shaw and Rucklidge, 2019). Furthermore, a lowered intake of sugar may also play a role in skin health, i.e. acne (Paoli et al., 2012).
Guide to Keto Diet
A simple guide for those going on a keto diet is to avoid sugar and starches – e.g. ice cream, rice, pasta, potatoes, and bubble tea. Instead, one should consume more of meat, eggs, avocados, cheese, fatty fish (e.g. salmon, sardine and tuna), and nuts (e.g. pecan, macadamia and walnut). For a mild to a strict keto diet, the recommended intake of carbs, fat, and protein are 20%, 60%-80%, and 20%-25% respectively.
Possible Side Effects
Even though keto diet is relatively easy to follow and has a huge ton of health benefits, it can come with side effects too. A small group of people that have started on the diet have experienced keto flu. It is similar to normal flu and is a result of the body adapting to the reduced intake of carbohydrates. Some symptoms of keto flu include headache, muscle cramps, poorer concentration, dizziness, nausea, and irritability. These symptoms tend to last for a few days to a week.
A ketogenic diet might seem like an easy way to lose weight, but it is not suitable for all – it is advisable to check with your medical doctor regarding the diet. For those who are looking to gain muscle mass or athletes who need a lot of energy, it is advisable to stick to their normal diet plans. As for those who are considering this diet, be sure to keep to the plan and not give up!
Broom, G.M., Shaw, I.C. and Rucklidge, J.J. (2019). The Ketogenic Diet as a Potential Treatment and Prevention Strategy for Alzheimer’s Disease. Nutrition, [online] 60, pp.118–121. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30554068/ [Accessed 30 Jul. 2020].
Choragiewicz, T., Zarnowska, I., Gasior, M. and Zarnowski, T. (2010). Anticonvulsant and Neuroprotective Effects of the Ketogenic Diet. Przeglad Lekarski, [online] 67(3), pp.205–212. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20687386/ [Accessed 29 Jul. 2020].
Paoli, A., Grimaldi, K., Toniolo, L., Canato, M., Bianco, A. and Fratter, A. (2012). Nutrition and Acne: Therapeutic Potential of Ketogenic Diets. Skin Pharmacology and Physiology, [online] 25(3), pp.111–117. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22327146/ [Accessed 30 Jul. 2020].
Yancy, W.S., Foy, M., Chalecki, A.M., Vernon, M.C. and Westman, E.C. (2005). A low-carbohydrate, Ketogenic Diet to Treat Type 2 Diabetes. Nutrition & Metabolism, [online] 2(1), p.34. Available at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16318637/ [Accessed 29 Jul. 2020].
Yang, M.U. and Van Itallie, T.B. (1976). Composition of weight lost during short-term weight reduction. Metabolic responses of obese subjects to starvation and low-calorie ketogenic and nonketogenic diets. Journal of Clinical Investigation, [online] 58(3), pp.722–730. Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC333231/ [Accessed 29 Jul. 2020].
Dr Menka Gupta
IFMCP, MSc, MBBS
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