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Read this before starting the keto diet for weight loss

30/07/2021

I’m sure you’ve heard of the keto diet and the quick weight loss results it promises. Read on to hear a Registered Dietitian’s opinion about the keto diet…

What is the keto diet?

The ketogenic diet was first designed for children with epilepsy as it decreases the incidence of seizures. However, these days it’s gained a lot of attention as a weight loss diet. It’s a very high fat, low carb, moderate protein diet. About 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbs.

How does the keto diet work for weight loss?

The keto diet essentially starves your body of glucose by eliminating carbs, forcing your body to switch to a ketogenic state or ketosis, where it burns fat for energy.

This shifts the brain to using fats called ketone bodies for energy instead of it’s preferred energy source, glucose!

Since your body needs glucose, it starts using up your stored glucose called glycogen. This is one of the reasons people experience quick weight loss results because 1kg of glycogen is stored with 4kg of water! So the first few kilos is usually just water weight.

Now that you know the biology behind the keto diet, lets look at it’s disadvantages:

  1. Protein cannot be seen as a “free food”
    Despite what most people think, If you don’t carefully adjust your protein intake, you will never make it into ketosis! If you consume too much protein your body will just turn it into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis (yes, your body is that clever and will turn protein into sugar!) using the amino acids alanine and glutamine
  2. You will need to cut out fruits and some vegetables
    Keto doesn’t just cut out refined carbohydrates and added sugar, but also whole grains, pulses, fruits, dairy and vegetables in some cases. This means that a vast amount of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, phytochemicals, and fibre are lost in the diet – leading to micronutrient deficiencies and potential impacts on gut health and heart disease risk.
  3. It can encourage disordered eating behaviours
    To continuously stay in ketosis, you need to be very careful about how much and what you are eating of each type of food. This will likely need to be tracked and monitored closely, but research has shown us these behaviours can quickly turn into disordered eating habits.
  4. Your body may not respond well to Keto for weight loss
    Your DNA determines your perfect diet and if you have the TT variant of the TCF7L2 gene, the Keto diet will hinder your weight loss because these individuals don’t respond well to high-fat diets.If you are looking to lose weight, why not learn more about how your body will best respond to fat loss using The DNA Way. Understanding your body and your optimal macronutrient framework is a game-changer when wanting to lose weight for good – no more guessing!

References:

Grau K et al. TCF7L2 rs7903146-macronutrient interaction in obese individuals’ responses to a 10-wk randomized hypo energetic diet. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2010;91:472-9.

Mattei J et al. TCF7L2 genetic variants modulate the effect of dietary fat intake on changes in body composition during a weight-loss intervention. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012;96:1129-36.

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