The Keto Diet: Is It Just A 'Fad'?

The Ketone Diet is based on the principal that you restrict carbohydrates such as rice, pasta, noodles, bread and cereals from your diet and replace these with protein foods such as meat, fish, chicken and eggs.

Your body needs carbohydrates to function. In fact broken down carbohydrates are the only source of fuel that your brain can use. Your body knows this and so goes into a state called ketosis where it breaks down body fat and muscle to make its own carbohydrates. Unfortunately during this process toxic compounds called ketones are formed (you can sometimes smell them on the breath of someone doing the keto diet).

Rapid weight loss results however a lot of this is from carbohydrates (glycogen) stored in your muscle and liver, body water and a loss of muscle. Such a diet is hard to sustain and is not recommended long term. In fact medical supervision is recommended especially if your are on certain medications.

Studies have shown that in the long term people who follow such diets end up being more overweight and have a higher percentage body fat. This is because the muscle that was lost is replaced with fat. So why would you go on a diet that costs a fortune, is difficult to follow, is harmful to your health only to potentially end up with an increased body weight and a higher percentage body fat?

The reason many people end up on this or another 'fad' diet is due to clever marketing. These diets are portrayed as being the superior way of eating, they often have testimonials or celebrities claiming they result in miracles. I recently saw an advertisement on social media about the keto diet which led me to write this article. For $45 I could have a computer give me a generic keto diet plan. The computer did not take into account my stage of life, any information about my health and did not replace the nutrients it had removed from my diet. That is what makes these 'fad' diets so dangerous. They are often developed by someone who doesn't understand nutrition and are not tailored to you as an individual.

In the age of social media such advertising of 'fad' diets can have such a wide reach. It is so important that you can identify these and make an informed decision about whether to follow them.

Tips to spot a fad diet:

  • Promises a quick fix

  • Promotes 'magic' foods or combinations of foods

  • Implies that food can change body chemistry

  • Excludes or severely restricts food groups or nutrients, such as carbohydrates

  • Has rigid rules that focus on weight loss

  • Makes claims based on a single study or testimonials only

  • If in doubt, check the credentials of the source.

Healthy eating is about eating food from all food groups. That means including fruit, vegetables, wholegrain cereals, low fat dairy products, lean meat and legumes and choosing high sugar/fat processed foods on occasion. Avoiding whole food groups or many foods from a food group means it is more difficult for you to get all the vitamins and minerals you need for good health and should be carried out only if medically necessary, such as for those with food allergies or coeliac disease, following consultation with a dietitian.

© 2018 by Allergy Well Ltd

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