To Keto or Not to Keto?
Ketogenic diets are gaining popularity as advances in healthcare showcase it more and more to support the management of certain conditions and we can follow that example to apply to our own personal diets. A ketogenic diet is low in carbohydrates (less than 50g/day), adequate in protein and high in fat, with the intention of getting the body to go into ketosis. Ketosis is when the body uses fat as its fuel source instead of glucose, which is what it normally uses. Glucose is normally broken down from carbohydrates; when carbs are less available the body will break down fat to make smaller fats, called ketones, to fuel the brain and the body’s muscles.
A ketogenic diet may not be right for you however if you are taking medication for diabetes or high blood pressure. With diabetes, you’ll need to lower insulin doses a lot when starting a low carb diet. This can become complicated when using insulin because it is difficult to know exactly how much insulin will be required - the only way to know is to continuously test your blood sugar. With Type 1 diabetes a ketogenic diet can be risky because it can take you close to the point of ketoacidosis, which can be life-threatening. A ketogenic diet can result in low blood pressure which, when in combination with blood pressure medication, can make your blood pressure too low and further lead to weakness, fatigue or dizziness. A ketogenic diet is also not recommendable if you are breastfeeding. Approximately 30 grams of sugar are lost per day when breastfeeding and not eating carbohydrates in this situation can lead to ketoacidosis - when there are dangerously high levels of ketones and blood sugar in your system. These two things make blood too acidic and can change the normal function of your internal organs. If treatment is not sought after quickly, coma or even death can occur.
"I was initially attracted to the "keto diet" as I was practicing Intermittent Fasting at the time, and realized that I needed to increase my fats in order to do this safely and properly (i.e. reduce the hangriness!). I followed a strict keto diet for 8 days and then felt the need to return back to my usual diet - a LOT higher in carbs and quite a bit lower in fat, which suits me just fine. I simply missed my banana-maca-matcha morning smoothie too much!
In all seriousness, I'm glad I tried it - it was a great excuse to indulge in a lot of high-fat rich foods which I must admit I tend to avoid (regardless of how "healthy" they may actually be). Avocados - although I know contain "good fats", are still sometimes a bit scary for me! Keto gave me a pathway into exploring these nutritional powerhouses, along with other delicious ingredients like macadamia nuts, ghee, and coconut (oil, butter, cream, etc.) cacao (again, in all forms: nibs, powder, butter - you name it!). I had lots of fun shopping at the grocery store for these "new" ingredients (at least for myself), and I even got creative and experimented with a couple great grain-free granola recipes - the one below was my all-time fav!
With that said, when it came down to it, I felt a bit tired, "heavy" and just not my usual self - which I was (prior to keto) generally happy with, as I must say, I feel like a healthy & fit young adult most of the time! I also know that any sort of strict and heavily restricted diet - at least not with medical supervision - is never a good thing, and certainly not sustainable." - Kiki Athanassoulias
Please use the above information to determine if a ketogenic diet is right for you and do try our custom-made ketogeinc recipe collection to help get you going!
Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J.S., Grimaldi, K.A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 67(8): 789-796. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/
Paoli, A. (2014). Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend of foe? International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 11(2): 2092-2107. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3945587/
Gsior, M., Rogawski, M.A., Hartman, A.L. (2006). Neuroprotective and disease-modifying effects of the ketogenic diet. Behavioural Pharmacology, 17(5-6): 431-439. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2367001/
Barañano, K.W. (2010). The ketogenic diet: uses in epilepsy and other neurologic illnesses. Current Treatment Options in Neurology, 10(6): 410-419. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898565/
Diet Doctor. (2016). A Ketogenic Diet for Beginners. Retrieved from https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb/keto