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A Simple 4-Minute Explanation of Ketogenic Diets

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • A ketogenic, or ‘keto’, diet refers to a high fat and protein diet that aims to limit carbohydrate consumption to very small amounts in order to stimulate the body’s metabolism of fat stores for use as energy. The proportions of the various food types recommended for a person’s total daily calorie intake are as follows: 70% unsaturated fats, 25% any form of protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
  • Losing weight with a keto diet, or other similar types of diet, such as the Atkins diet and Paleo diet, are not suitable for everyone. Moreover, those with congenital health disorders should always consult their doctor before undertaking such a regime because every body type will require a different amount of time to adjust. Additionally, when these diets are undertaken without any professional advice, it could lead to dizziness, feeling faint or even a loss of consciousness, as is currently being widely referenced across social media.
  • A decrease in physical activity or exercising in a way that is unsuitable for your body, as well as stress and not getting sufficient amounts of sleep, can all affect a person’s ability to lose weight successfully.

 

Ketogenic Diets

The current ketogenic, or ‘keto’, diet trend is hugely popular across social media. However, amongst the 50s and above age group, there have been numerous cases of dizziness, feeling faint or even losing consciousness, as the diet is not appropriate for everybody.

There are a huge number of diet types out there, but 3 main diets are currently the most popular in Thailand and abroad. Below is a brief summary of each of these diets, including their mission statement, main principles, benefits, disadvantages and differences, meaning that you can quickly gain a deeper understanding of these regimen before you choose one to begin yourself.

Keto Diet
Atkins Diet
Paleo Diet
Mission statement
High fat & low carb diet: 
Eating fats to burn fats
The original low carb diet
High protein & fiber:
Clean eating like our cave dwelling ancestors
Types of food and main principles.
  • Focus on eating a diet consisting of 70% unsaturated fats, 25% protein and 5% carbohydrates for daily total calorie intake.
  • The body usually sources glucose from the carbohydrates we eat but when the body receives less energy in the form of carbohydrates, it will turn to the body’s fat stores, metabolizing these for energy. Additionally, the liver will transform these fatty acids into ketone, which is then used as an alternative source of energy.

*Remark: The original keto diet allowed for fats to be taken on in any form but the long-term health risks (including high blood lipid levels) associated with this type of diet means that we now recommend only eating ‘healthy’ fats that occur naturally and are of use to the body.

  • A focus on eating a diet high in proteins, including a moderate amount of unsaturated fats and a limited amount of carbohydrates, according to a 4-phase system. Each phase places a different but strict limit on the amount of carbohydrates to be consumed. (You can find out more information at https://www.atkins.com/how-it-works/atkins-20/phase-1/low-carb-foods)

Eating a diet high in carbohydrates causes the pancreas to produce large amounts of insulin, leading to increased hunger and weight gain. When carbohydrate intake is reduced, those feelings of hunger are also reduced, resulting in the body using up its fat stores, hence a subsequent loss of weight.

  • A focus on clean eating, meaning grains, fruits, vegetables and organically reared animal meats, free from growth hormones. Additionally, all food eaten should have minimal additives, although calorie counting is not necessary.
  • The body usually sources glucose from the carbohydrates we eat but when the body receives less energy in the form of carbohydrates, it will turn to the body’s fat stores, metabolizing this for energy. Additionally, the liver will transform these fatty acids into ketone, which is then used as an alternative source of energy.
Recommended foods and dishes. Consume high fat foods, such as seafood, egg, cheese, avocado, fish oil, olive oil and natural butter, as well as sourcing regular daily proteins from numerous types of meat. Recommended sources of carbohydrates include vegetables, almond milk, coconut milk, berries and lemons. Protein rich meats and healthy, unsaturated fats, such as those found in nuts, avocado, olive oil, fish oil, as well as carbohydrates according to the recommendations of Atkins. A focus on unsweet fruits and vegetables, healthy proteins sourced from lean meat, fish and eggs, as well as healthy unsaturated fats like those found in nuts, avocado, olive oil and fish oil. Also, every dish should have a minimal amount of seasoning.
Foods that must be avoided. Foods made from flour, noodles, pasta, all forms of rice, sugar, cakes, alcohol and cow’s milk (because this contains large amounts of carbohydrates). While fatty meat, deep fried pork products, oils made from animal meat, artificial cooking oils, artificial cream, trans-fats of all kinds and repeatedly fried food should also be avoided. Unhealthy fats, such as fatty meat, artificial cooking oils, artificial cream, trans-fats, deep fried products, sweet desserts, cakes, flour-based foods and rice (focus instead on eating according to the healthy carbohydrates recommended through the principles of Atkins). All forms of flour, sugar, crunchy snacks, cakes, sweet fruits, bread, grains, milk, cheese, all forms of vegetable oil not specified above, all forms of processed foods, alcohol, fast food, monosodium glutamate and other seasoning products.
Benefits
  • There will be a gradual reduction in weight during the first 1-2 months but there are still no clear figures as to how many kilograms you can expect to lose. After that, the weight loss will depend on how each individual’s body responds to the diet regime.
  • There will be a gradual reduction in weight (to a maximum of 6kgs) during the first 2 weeks and, at this time, only 20 grams of carbohydrates should be consumed per day. After that, any weight loss depends on how each individual’s body responds to the diet regime.
  • A healthier body due to the reduction in LDL and triglyceride fats, as well as returning blood sugar levels to normal.
  • There will be a gradual reduction in weight during the first 1-2 months but there are still no clear figures as to how many kilograms you can expect to lose. After that, the weight loss will depend on how each individual’s body responds to the diet regime.
  • No need to restrict food intake or count calories as you may eat as normal, merely focusing on which foods are suitable.
  • A healthier body due to the reduction in LDL and triglyceride fats, as well as returning blood sugar levels to normal. Over the long-term, people on this diet will have a smaller appetite than before.
Disadvantages
  • This diet can lead to bad breath because high fat intake results in the body producing greater amounts of molecules called ketones, which are excreted through urine and breath.
  • Reducing all forms of flour and sugar intake could lead to a lowering in blood sugar levels and dizzy spells during the first 3 weeks for those who usually enjoy eating such foods. After this initial period, the body will adjust to the new diet; however, any exercise taken should be light, while care should also be taken to avoid fainting.
  • Unsuitable for diabetics because the lowering in blood sugar levels could lead to blackouts.
  • Reducing all forms of flour and sugar intake could lead to a lowering in blood sugar levels and dizzy spells during the first 3 weeks for those who usually enjoy eating such foods. After this initial period, the body will adjust to the new diet; however, any exercise should be light, while care should be taken to avoid fainting.
  • Unsuitable for diabetics because the lowering in blood sugar levels could lead to blackouts.
Additional recommendations
  • Those with congenital health conditions should always consult their doctor before beginning any new diet regime.
  • A lack of regular exercise, exercising in a way unsuitable to the body’s needs, stress and insufficient rest can all affect the chances of successfully losing weight.
  • Those with congenital health conditions should always consult their doctor before beginning any new diet regime.
  • A lack of regular exercise, exercising in a way unsuitable to the body’s needs, stress and insufficient rest can all affect the chances of successfully losing weight.
  • Those with congenital health conditions should always consult their doctor before beginning any new diet regime.
  • A lack of regular exercise, exercising in a way unsuitable to the body’s needs, stress and insufficient rest can all affect the chances of successfully losing weight.

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