Health Lifestyle

Health: The ketogenic diet explained

You have probably read about the ketogenic diet recently – here it is explained.

It is a high fat, low carb diet which has been doing the rounds in health and fitness circles globally. It is the latest health trend for affluent global players.

But, what actually is it?

Writer Milly Haddrick  asked Alexandra Parker and Anna Debenham, accredited practising dietitians from The Biting Truth to give us the low down.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Put simply: The Ketogenic diet is a high fat and low carbohydrate diet.

“Ketogenic diets are low in carbohydrates (5-20% of energy intake) and high in fats (up to 75% in energy intake)” Parker from The Biting Truth explains, “compared to ‘standard’ diets which contain 30-50% of carbohydrates and 30% or less from fat”.

What are the positives?

There are a lot of health benefits to Ketogenic diet as Parker explains; “The Ketogenic diet is high in protein and fat and has been used clinically for many years to help reduce epileptic seizures”.

The Ketogenic diet is also conducive to weight loss, and unusually fast.

Parker and Debenham explain:

“Diets like this (which are low in carbs), typically don’t provide our muscles and brains with the energy we need to function optimally. As a consequence, the body shifts into a state known as ‘ketosis’. Ketosis causes fat stores to be broken down into ketones, which fuel the muscles and the brain in place of the carbohydrates when they are in limited supply.”

That kinda sounds like science mumbo jumbo, but essentially it means your body is breaking down your body fat to use as fuel, because it’s not getting its normal fuel, carbohydrates.

“The result is enhanced fat burning and relatively quick weight loss” says Parker.

The Negatives?

Sorry folks, there is no such thing as a magic diet, with each one having a down side.

The ladies at The Biting Truth warn that with the Ketogenic diet you have to be prepared to give up A LOT of foods that some of us might deem as the more delicious foods to eat.

“Unless you are prepared to eat no grains, bread, cereals, fruit, starchy vegetables or sugars for long periods of time, the ketogenic diet probably is not for you”.

Parker and Debenham also warn about potential weight gain following this diet; “If you do choose to adopt this diet and eventually return back to eating carbohydrates, it is likely to result in rapid weight gain”.

Diets are hard

There are some great benefits to the ketogenic diet but it is a lifestyle change.

If you are thinking of a ketogenic diet it is important that you speak to your doctor or an accredited practising dietician about whether it is right for you.

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