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So What Does Keto Actually Mean?

So What Does Keto Actually Mean?

1. So what the heck is keto?

 

Keto is short for ‘Ketogenic’ which is a style of eating that places a large emphasis on eating fat, moderate amounts of protein and a minimal amount of carbohydrate. Where does the Ketogenic Diet get its name from? The metabolic state that the body enters when carbohydrate intake is significantly low is called Ketosis. Essentially, when the body is not able to obtain energy from carbohydrates, it then begins to break down stored fats instead. In short, when your body begins to break down fat for fuel, the liver releases ketone bodies which provide energy to the brain and the rest of the body. The aim of a Ketogenic Diet is to keep the body in a sustained state of Ketosis.


2. What are the apparent benefits?

 

Some studies following people consuming a Keto Diet have reported that participants often report feeling ‘less hungry’ than when consuming their regular diet, this could be due to the fact that, as a macronutrient, fat is more satiating and may leave you feeling fuller for longer than a diet more balanced in carbohydrates. Similarly, some people find that due to their appetite being lessened when following the Keto diet, they may experience weight loss as a result.


3. And so your thoughts?... Yay or Nay?

 

Although Keto diets do have the potential to accelerate weight loss in the short-term, there are many reasons why it is not a Dietitian’s ‘favourite’ diet of choice. For starters, the Keto Diet is highly restrictive, and omits many healthy and nutritionally beneficial components from one’s diet - your wholegrain foods, starchy vegetables, fruit and dairy products are all either very minimally included or excluded all together. By removing all those food groups from one’s diet, it makes it a whole lot harder to meet your nutrient needs.

 

By drastically restricting the inclusion of foods containing carbohydrates, this drastically reduces the amount of fibre in one’s diet. By saying goodbye to wholegrains, cereals, legumes, starchy vegetables and fruit, you may also be at risk of saying goodbye to regular bowel movements. Keto diets can increase risk of gastrointestinal discomfort such as constipation. By removing wholegrain-rich foods from the diet, it can also make it harder to support a healthy gut and limiting fruit and vegetable intake can also impact your body’s immune system as there are so many components in vegetables and fruit that are important in helping our bodies fight disease.


Written by Daena Ryan

Dietitian & Nutritionist

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