As you know I’ve recently enrolled on a big challenge to do the great north run. In my quest for the best diet I’ve shopped around. As you’ll know from my last post, I was considering the Ketogenic diet but what exactly does that mean?
*disclaimer- I AM NOT a doctor so please seek professional advice before embarking on any diet especially if you already have a pre-existing medical condition*
Google states that there’s over 3 million pages on what the keto diet is. I’m not sure about you but I don’t have time to trawl through all 3 million of them soooo…I thought I’d give you the most consicse load down on what the diet is as well as the potential benefits and drawbacks…
So basically, the Keto diet is a low carb diet. The theory is that there’s a greater calorific content in protein and fat than there is in carbohydrates. Typically, your body runs on the glucose that is created from the carbs in your diet but when this runs out, your body will look for alternative fuel sources. So after carbs, its fat and then protein (the critically dangerous stage as your body starts to break down muscle). Essentially, you’ll be starving your body of it’s primary fuel source for 3-4 days before its only option is to use fat (aka ketosis). In order to achieve this, it is suggested that you only eat 20-40g of carbs a day (which may looks something like this:)
|from top clockwise: sweet potato, 1/3 cup oatmeal, 1/4 cup quinoa, 1 cup rice, bead and potatoes|
|A typical fast food snack on the Ketogenic diet may consist of apples and peanut butter|
As you can imagine though, a diet as extreme as this can be pretty limiting. So what foods CAN you eat? Well, generally speaking typical foods are high-fat meats such as steak, fish, oils, nuts (including peanut butter woop woop), high-fat dairy such as cheese, and low-carb vegetables such as broccoli and mushrooms.
Unsurprisingly however, reducing carb levels means cutting out bread, pasta, rice, and most conventional baked goods. It’ll also mean skipping legumes (such as baked beans), root vegetables, most fruits and starchy veggies, such as potatoes…so it really worth it?
|What are the risks?|
Yes, it is one way of losing weight but is it really safe? Early medical studies have been inconclusive about the effects the diet has on weight loss. Additionally, there have been claims from various sources that the diet can aid if not cure such illnesses as diabetes.This is because the diet is said to lower the body’s demand for insulin. As blood glucose levels are kept at a low but healthy level, this encourages the body to break down fat into ketones (the alternative fuel to glucose). Therefore, for anyone looking to lose weight, this could be advantageous- especially as those with type 2 diabetes generally fall into this category.
Additionally. the diet has been said to help treat those suffering from epilepsy. This is because while in ketosis, the body produces decanoic acid which may help reduce the seizures in some people. (I’ll post the links to more research at the end of this article) However, a study in 2000 found the evidence inconclusive. Despite this, more recent research has suggested that on the whole, the keto diet could be beneficial for those with epilepsy.
According to BBC good food:
‘replacing carbs with foods rich in fat and protein, if followed over an extended period of time may have consequences. An intake of high fat foods is likely to increase your saturated fat intake which current UK government guidelines recommend that we limit to 30g for men and 20g for women. High levels of dietary protein are thought to be an issue if you have an underlying kidney condition. However, most ketogenic diets supply moderate rather than high levels of protein;
Please be warned! If you already have type 1 diabetes, too many keytones (those are the ones that are in the fat) can be very dangerous as the body won’t have enough insulin because of a lack of glucose. This causes the body to burn fat thus using keytones.
Additionally, for anyone who is pregnant or breastfeeding, I’d advise against this. Firstly, as its been suggested the diet can cause birth defects and secondly for the lack of evidence supporting the diet while breastfeeding.
Overall, I would strongly advise against this diet because of the potential health risks associated with it. Despite, the potential for people to lose weight short term, I believe it’s pretty tough if not impossible to follow long term and therefore I rate this diet 4/10.
stay strong readers!
Happy beautiful day,
Links for more information on the keto diet:
Further clinical studies: