With the ketogenic diet making the headlines lately, I’m often asked if low carb is the silver bullet for weight loss and health. The truth is, weight loss and health are two completely different things: losing weight does not necessarily make you healthy with the wrong approach. Before I jump in, I thought I’d give an overview of what a Ketogenic and “Low Carbohydrate” is.
A Ketogenic or Low Carbohydrate Diet is:
Very low in carbohydrates
Moderate in Protein
High in Fat
Structured so that fat is your bodies main energy source
The Keto diet require you to consume approximately 20g carbs per day max. That’s equivalent to 1 white potato or 1 Banana.
A Low Carbohydrate diet requires you to consume approximately 50g carbs per day max. That’s equivalent to 1 slices of bread + a Banana or 3 white potatoes.
The Ketogenic Diet and Weight Loss
There is no denying that the ketogenic diet can result in weight loss – FOR THE SHORT TERM.
Research has shown there are a few reasons for this result:
This diet leads to an indirect reduction in overall calories intake
It depletes liver and muscle glycogen stores
Loss of water weight, due to reduction in glycogen stores (as this is where water is stored)
Increased satiety (feeling fuller for longer) due to the high fat and protein intake
It sounds great right? But my question to you is, can you stick to this diet for next 3 months, year or 5 years? The fact of the matter is, THE ONLY DIET THAT WILL WORK IS THE ONE YOU CAN STICK TO. If weight loss is your goal, you likely don’t want to put it back on. You want to maintain those results, long term.
This diet drastically restricts intake of a number of foods, including fruit, vegetables and grains. All of which are essential for a healthy body and mind!
Risks of Over-restricting Carbohydrates
Nutrient deficiencies – vegetables and fruit are our primary source of vitamins and minerals. These nutrients are cofactor for the biochemical reactions taking place in our body, every moment of every day, deficiencies can lead to a whole range of negative symptoms and the development of medical conditions.
Gut Health – carbohydrates are high in fibre. Low fibre intake is linked to dysbiosis (gut bacteria ratios out of whack), constipation and an increased risk of bowel cancer.
Mental Health – over restriction and the feeling of deprivation can impact mental health negatively.
There are things we can learn from the Keto trend and opportunities to make positive changes to our diet. The traditional Australian Diet is very high in refined carbohydrates (white bread, sugar, pasta etc.) which negatively affect blood sugar control, energy balance and promote inflammation. I encourage you to make the shift from thinking about the quantity of carbohydrates and start considering the QUALITY.
Quality carbohydrates are vegetables, fruit, legumes, brown rice, quinoa etc. These foods are not only excellent sources of energy, but they are also nutrient rich, supporting energy production, hormone synthesis, gut health and mood.
Funnily enough, when we strip it back and focus on quality over quantity, weight loss is often a result. If you have a specific goal you’re working toward though, be sure to work with a professional who can support you through process and ensure your results will stick for the long term!
**This information is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please discuss with your health care professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle**