Chances are you’ve got a friend or family member who swears by KETO, or if you haven’t, then you’ve almost certainly heard of the myriad of celebrities who follow the diet religiously.
KETO has become more than a diet nowadays, it’s a way of life. Many restaurants offer extensive keto options on their menus, with Skinnys Bar and Grill in Bondi being Australia’s first KETO CAFE! Everything on their menu is low-carb, gluten-free and sugar-free. Sounds good, right?
Well before you hop in your car and make the mad dash to Bondi to grab a ‘carb-free’ cheeseburger, let us see if the KETO hype stands up to science.
So, what is KETO? KETO stands for ketogenic. A ketogenic diet involves consuming as little carbs as possible, so the body is forced to enter a state of being called ‘ketosis’. Essentially, this means that it burns the body’s fat stores rather than the carbohydrates a human consumes on a daily basis.
Doctor Marcelo Campos from Harvard Medical School explains it like this: “Most cells prefer to use blood sugar, which comes from carbohydrates, as the body’s main source of energy. In the absence of circulating blood sugar from food, we start breaking down stored fat into molecules called ketone bodies (the process is called ketosis).
“Once you reach ketosis, most cells will use ketone bodies to generate energy until we start eating carbohydrates again. The shift, from using circulating glucose to breaking down stored fat as a source of energy, usually happens over two to four days of eating fewer than 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates per day.
“Keep in mind that this is a highly individualized process, and some people need a more restricted diet to start producing enough ketones.
“Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables.
Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet.
“One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition.
“Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.”
Despite the recent hype, the ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, it has been used for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children.
In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. This is where the KETO craze all began, and over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight…