Keto Diet – Make an Informed Choice

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Keto Diet – Make an Informed Choice

Last Reviewed: 27/08/2020

Time To Read: 3mins

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What is it?

The ketogenic diet (or keto for short) is a very low carbohydrate, high fat diet that is similar to the Paleo diet and Atkins diet. The diet involves drastically cutting carbohydrates and replacing them with fat.

How it works:

The keto diet forces your body into using a different type of fuel for energy. Instead of using glucose (sugar), which comes from carbohydrates (such as grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables), the keto diet relies on ketone bodies for energy (a type of energy that the liver produces from stored fat).

Burning fat might seem like a great way to lose weight but getting the liver to make ketone bodies is not easy. You need to deprive yourself of carbohydrates – usually fewer than 20-50 grams of carbohydrates a day (a medium sized banana has 27 grams of carbs).

What can I eat?

  • Meat (red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey)
  • Fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna and mackerel)
  • Eggs
  • Butter and cream
  • Cheese
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Healthy oils (for example, extra virgin olive oil)
  • Avocados
  • Low carb veges (mostly green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers etc)
  • Condiments (salt, pepper, herbs and spices)
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The keto diet suggests reducing or eliminating the following foods:
  • Sugary foods (e.g. soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy etc)
  • Grains or starches (wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal etc)
  • Fruit (all fruit except small portions of berries like strawberries)
  • Beans or legumes (peas, kidney bean, lentils, chickpeas etc)
  • Root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips etc)
  • Low fat or diet products
  • Some condiments or sauces
  • Unhealthy fats (like processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise)
  • Alcohol
Side effects of Keto diet:
  • Often described as ‘keto flu’ – symptoms can include poor energy and mental function, increased hunger, sleep issues, nausea, digestive discomfort, decreased exercise performance.
  • Bad breath
  • Smelly urine
Risks of Keto Diet
  • It’s very high in saturated fat. There are lots of scientific studies that show high fat diets are linked with heart disease (stoke, heart attack, cardiovascular disease).
  • Nutrient deficiency – because you are cutting so many grains, fruits and vegetables from your diet you may be at risk for many nutrient deficiencies (eg selenium, magnesium, phosphorus and vitamins B&C).
  • Liver problems – because the liver has to metabolise so much fat, any existing liver conditions could be made worse.
  • Kidney problems – due to the high protein intake in this diet, the kidneys could be overloaded.
  • Constipation – due to the low fibre of the keto diet.

Are you interested in learning about plant-based nutrition? Or why the Keto diet is so bad for you? And how to keep weight off permanently?

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Results

There is still NO EVIDENCE to show that eating a keto diet long term will keep the weight off.

Despite people eating low carb, high protein and/or high fat diets for years, people are still gaining weight. 

Bigger picture – Keto has a large number of nutritional risks associated with it. Think about how realistic this way of eating is going to be long term. Like forever. Really?! Remember, there are NO long-term studies that can show that Keto is beneficial for your health, or that it will keep the weight off long term. Recent scientific studies show that there is NO difference in terms of weight loss benefits between low fat or low carb diets. Remember, weight loss is never a quick fix – and that’s the problem. Everyone wants a new ‘diet’ or fast answer. There isn’t one.

Last point – how long did it take to get to your current weight? I bet it wasn’t overnight…

We hope you will really think about this blog. If you are not achieving your health goals, we invite you to consider joining us in our global ambition to reduce obesity, diabetes and heart disease.

Michelle @ The Food Cruncher.

The Science:
Harvard Health Publishing. Harvard Medical School. Should you try the keto diet? (2018).
 
Johnston BC, Kanters S, Bandayrel K, Wu P, Naji F, Siemieniuk RA et al. Comparison of Weight Loss Among Named Diet Programs in Overweight and Obese Adults. A Meta-analysis. 2014. JAMA. 312(9):923-933. Doi:10.1001/jama.2014.10397.

Astrup A, Larsen TM, Harper A. Atkins and other low-carbohydrate diets: hoax or an effective tool for weight loss? 2004. Lancet. 364:897-99.
 

The Food Cruncher provides general information and a forum for discussions about health, wellness, food and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this website, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment.

If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your healthcare provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this website or in any linked materials. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or emergency services immediately.

The opinions and views expressed on this website have no relation to those of any academic, hospital, health practice or other institution.

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