Keto, schmeto. Is that what you’re thinking? Well I was too, thinking the keto diet was just another fad diet, along with all the others, a latest obsession quick fix lose your kilos, and then put them all back on again kind of deal. However, when I looked into this further I became aware that it has a tremendous amount of scientific evidence, research, studies, and history. Now my opinion is informed, I am blown away by the therapeutic potential of nutritional ketosis and now know it is far from a modern fad diet. This demonstrates the powerful effect of diet and nutrition can have on our health.
A ketogenic diet is based on the changing of macronutrient intake to a ratio of 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs. On a Standard Australian Diet (SAD) we access our energy from carbohydrate, which then gets converted to glucose and is used as an energy source, and what we don’t use is stored. When we are on a ketogenic diet we aren’t providing our bodies with enough carbohydrate so we then access our energy from fat. The fat gets converted by the liver into ketones, and this is disbursed for the main source of energy. Our glucose levels fall, and a more sustained release of energy is maintained. Our metabolism is switched from burning glucose to burning fat.
The benefits of a ketogenic diet go far beyond weight loss. Initially it was discovered in the 1920s that the metabolic changes when the body is forced to fuel itself with fat when starved of carbohydrate replicated the bodies processes as when fasting and that this was effective in decreasing the severity and frequency of seizures in children with epilepsy.
In the 1990s it had a resurgence and a film was made based on the true story “First Do no harm” with Meryl Streep. If you have 10 spare boxes of tissues, I’d recommend it. It portrays a family’s struggle with the medical system when drugs after drugs were not helping their young son’s epilepsy, giving more and more side effects, until finally they find success with the ketogenic diet with amazing results.
Research has shown the keto diet has other beneficial effects such as lowering inflammation, reduced appetite and cravings, improved metabolism, reduced risk of chronic diseases, improved cognitive function, mental focus and clarity and greater exercise efficiency, as well as having beneficial results in treating many other neurological diseases such as Alzheimers and dementia, metabolic disorders such as PCOS and type 2 diabetes, and many other chronic health conditions.
Adjusting to a ketogenic can involve a lot of changes to your regular diet that the body has to adapt to, in order to make the switch to fat burning mode. Food consumed to stay in the correct ratio for the body to stay in ketosis can include fish, avocado, eggs, nuts, organic meats and dairy, good oils such as olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, certain vegetables- green leafy vegetables, asparagus, broccoli, eggplant, cucumber tomatoes, etc, fruits are limited to berries, lemon and lime. Hydration is very important and supplementation of some vitamin and minerals may also be required such as magnesium and electrolytes. The state of ketosis can be measured through blood or urine.
For further research into the ketogenic diet you can access studies on PubMed, Dr Dominic D’Agostino, Cyndi Omeara, Dr Mercola, just to name a few.