This post was originally written by former staff member, Erin Dwyer.
It's so hot right now - but is keto going to treat you good? Read on to find out.
The ketogenic diet – (let’s call it keto) – is a restricted diet that significantly reduces the amount of carbohydrates (grains, breads, pasta, fruit and some vegetables) in your diet.
Most ketogenic resources suggest for a keto diet, we should aim to get:
70 – 80 % of energy from fat
10 -20 % of energy from protein
10 % of energy from carbohydrate
(Remember that energy refers to either kilojoules (kJ) or calories.)
Let’s see what that looks like when we compare it to the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating:
You can see the significant difference in recommendations for carbohydrate and fat. Switching to a keto diet would mean about a 50% drop in carbohydrate and a 50% increase in fat.
Our bodies prefers to run off the carbohydrates that we eat for energy. If however, we eat more than we need, this carbohydrate is stored.
The way a keto diet is intended to work is by reducing carbohydrates so significantly that the body is forced to find an alternative energy source.
The next best thing for the body to use after carbohydrates is dietary fat and stored fat. When the body runs on fat its called ‘ketosis’.
The body works well on fat, however it costs the body more energy to do so. As a result, you are theoretically burning more of your stored fat for energy doing your day to day activities than you would have if you were eating carbohydrates. And the result? A reduction in fat stores – well that’s the theory.
The keto diet dramatically cuts back on the foods groups in our diet, particularity those containing carbohydrates. A low intake of carbs in turn means that our intake of all the good stuff we get from carbs – like fibre and prebiotics – is also reduced. Our poor gut microbiome! Not to mention the likely constipation. And the possible increase risk of bowel cancer. So yes. Some pretty big concerns, particularly if the diet is followed long term.
There is also the social aspect to consider. Having to follow such strict dietary guidelines can impact on the enjoyment and socialisation that ideally goes along with eating.