The Ketogenic Diet – Your Questions Answered

You’ve heard it about it all over the news, celebrities tout it, your friends have suggested it. But do you really understand the mechanics of the diet? We’re here with some answers to common questions.

So what is the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet is an eating regimen based on eating very low carbs, moderate amounts of protein and very high fat.

By eating very low amounts of carbohydrates you deprive your body of its main source of energy, glucose. Your body then turns to stored glucose in your muscles and liver until eventually it is depleted and must look to other sources for energy. Your body then enters a state called ketosis, in which it releases an alternate fuel source called ketones, produced by your liver from stored fat during periods of intense exercise.

The idea of the diet is to eat enough food during the day to avoid going into starvation mode and all of the negative associated effects while staying in ketosis.  According to an article published by the Harvard School of Public Health, “Proponents of the ketogenic diet state that if the diet is carefully followed, blood levels of ketones should not reach a harmful level (known as “ketoacidosis”) as the brain will use ketones for fuel, and healthy individuals will typically produce enough insulin to prevent excessive ketones from forming. How soon ketosis happens… is variable from person to person and depends on factors such as body fat percentage and resting metabolic rate.” (1)

While some studies have shown that the ketogenic diet is beneficial for weight loss in the short term, research results are inconsistent. Furthermore, maintaining a very low carbohydrate/high fat diet is difficult for most in the long term and can have negative effects on mood and energy level.  “Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited…A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss…However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different.” (1)

So what kind of diet is right for you?

There are many factors that go into weight loss and we work with you to find what kind of diet works best for your lifestyle. At NutriFit, we believe in a highly individualized approach to weight loss that allows our client’s to maintain their weight in the long term. While everybody finds success differently, we’d like to offer the following research based tips for improving your diet:

  • Cut out highly processed foods, refined starches and added sugar
  • Focus on a wholesome, plant based diet high in whole grains; fruits & vegetables and healthy proteins (such as beans, nuts, seeds & lentils)
  • Limit red meat and watch your sodium intake – the FDA recommends eating less than 2,400 mg of sodium per day
  • Try to reduce your stress level and get the recommended 8 hours of sleep per night
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Adopt a daily exercise routine that works for your schedule and lifestyle

For more information on the keto diet, we recommend the following articles:

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/ketogenic-diet/

(2) http://davidkatzmd.com/toasting-2017-goodbye-with-ketogenic-kool-aid/