The ketogenic weight loss diet: what's in it for you?
Published: July 26, 2019
Fasting has historically been viewed as a treatment for a variety of ailments.
Initially ketogenic diets were identified as therapy for epilepsy in children as an alternative to drug therapy, but later became popular as a means to lose weight.
This popularity has persisted over decades and different versions of ketogenic, or very low carbohydrate, diets continue to be promoted for effective weight loss.
Recently, interest in ketogenic diets as a means to address chronic diseases such as obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular risk factors, and diabetes type 2 has increased.
Consequently, there has been an increase in research, both animal and human models, in an effort to identify how ketogenic diets work, their efficacy, and their sustainability.
However, the results of research are inconsistent and long term (greater than 12 months) effects have as yet to be identified.
What is a ketogenic diet?
In general a ketogenic diet contains very limited amounts of carbohydrate, usually 20 -50 g/day. The main dietary macronutrient is fat with moderate amounts of protein.
For example, as a percentage of total calories carbohydrate 12%, protein 36%, and fat 52% compared to carbohydrate 55%, protein 20%, and fat 25% which fall within the recommend macronutrient ranges for healthy eating.
A typical Canadian diet consists of 48% carbohydrate, 32% fat, and 17% protein.
Carbohydrate and fat are both significant sources of energy for your body.
In particular carbohydrate, in the form of glucose, is the principle form of energy used by your brain and nervous system, and the only source of energy for your red blood cells.
Fatty acids cannot cross the blood/brain barrier and cannot be used directly as an energy source for your brain. While dietary carbohydrate is utilised directly by your body as an energy source, dietary fat is not.
Once ingested, dietary fat is processed in your liver and shipped to tissues for storage in fat cells until needed.
After a few days following a ketogenic diet glucose stores are depleted.
When the supply of glucose fails to meet your brain’s needs your body resorts to mechanisms which increase the use of fat...link to the full article to learn more.