Looks like there is a new kid in town that is boasting results and getting a lot of people to join his gang. Keto is his name and high fat is his game. The big question is whether keto is here to stay or will he leave town soon like his predecessors, Atkins, Paleo and North Beach.
Is the keto diet the new craze? Yes, but whether it’s sustainable and keep weight off is another story. Let’s look at what keto is and isn’t:
What is a ketogenic diet?
A keto (genic) diet initially developed to help control epilepsy in children. It’s a high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrate diet. The premise is to have the body use fat for energy instead of carbohydrate. Glucose is the primary source of fuel for the body. With the keto diet, since carbohydrates are restricted, the body uses ketones. A ketogenic diet is not for everyone.
Constipation- foods that are high in fiber are foods that have carbohydrates in them
Adherence- keeping your intake to less then 40g carbohydrates/day
Mineral supplements- sodium, potassium and magnesium- due to excess water loss in first few weeks of keto diet.
Need vitamin supplementation- B vitamins, Calcium and Vitamin D, since dairy is limited. Vitamin A foods are also high in carbohydrates.
Keto flu- Occurs around day 3 of starting the diet. Symptoms can include fatigue, foggy mental function, increased hunger, difficulty sleeping, nausea, constipation or diarrhea.
Foods high in trans and saturated fats are linked to increases in LDL cholesterol, known as “bad” cholesterol.
Frequently Asked Questions:
1. How do you know if you are in ketosis?
Most people use urine dipsticks to test ketones. Which is also a challenge to make sure you are keeping your carbohydrates low enough.
Diet is not high protein. Too much protein in the body can be converted to carbohydrates so you have to be careful to have an adequate, not high amount.
2. Will I lose weight?
Yes. Especially in the beginning but sorry to say, it’s mostly water, lots of water. This is why you have to replace electrolytes. Just like most diets, you will see results. Though, especially with this diet, it can be very challenging to sustain. Especially since birthdays and celebrations come up and one slice of cake will meet or surpass all of your carbohydrates for the day. I will for sure pass on the keto diet. I enjoy my wine and cake too much!
3. How much protein can I have while on a Keto diet?
This is a very tricky question. A Keto diet is not a high fat AND high protein diet. We as registered dietitians estimate needs, including protein needs. It’s very hard to know what an individual’s exact needs are. This is very important on a keto diet because excess protein intake gets turned into carbohydrates and therefore can move you out of ketosis. I would suggest getting .8g/kg to prevent protein deficiency. However, remember that nutrition information can be off by 15% so take that in consideration when estimating needs.
If this is all very confusing, discuss your goals with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist that can guide you and make recommendations that will meet your specific goals and needs.
For more information -The University of Washington School of Medicine has more about the keto diet.
by Alene Baronian
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