Nourish with NorthBay Dietitians

Nourish is a blog written each week by NorthBay Healthcare dietitians. It focuses on health and nutrition with educational information, tips and advice as well as an occasional recipe.

The Keto Diet…the new solution to weight loss?

October 31, 2018

By Addison Ford

The Ketogenic diet, or the Keto diet, is the latest and greatest in the way of a low-carb diet. In the case of the Keto diet, it is a very low-carb diet consisting of approximately 20grams of carbohydrates a day -equivalent to 1 small to medium apple - yikes!

The Keto diet was developed to help treat epilepsy in children but now has turned into the new weight loss solution.

The concept of the Keto diet is to burn fat for fuel as opposed to carbohydrates. Our bodies preferentially use carbohydrates as fuel for energy production when they are available. On the Keto diet, very few carbohydrates are available so the body is forced to use fat to produce energy through a process called ketosis.

The Keto diet is, more or less, composed of four parts fat to one part protein and carbohydrate. Fat contributes 9 calories per gram where protein contributes 4 calories per gram. Therefore on a 2,000 calorie diet it would mean consuming, approximately, 175 grams of fat, 80 grams of protein, and just 20 grams of carbohydrates. This means approximately 80 percent of calories are coming from fat, which far exceeds the American Heart Association's recommendations of 25-35 percent of calories coming from fat.

While eating fewer processed carbohydrates, like candies, sweets, crackers etc. can be healthy; cutting out carbohydrates almost entirely - fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains - is not desirable or sustainable.

Though the Keto diet might help people drop weight fast, like other super restrictive diets, more times than not, they gain the weight back - and then some. Very low carbohydrate diets also tend to have side effects like higher risk for kidney stones, constipation, headaches, fatigue, bad breath, etc.

It is not the most exciting news, nor is it new, but eating a general healthful diet composed of largely plants and other whole foods- vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats and high fiber foods- is going to be a greater benefit to you than a quick fix. Making small, sustainable changes that you can keep for a lifetime are the ones that will serve you best in the long run.

The author is a clinical dietitian with NorthBay Healthcare.

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