What is the ketogenic diet or "KETO"?
The ketogenic diet or keto diet in English is a diet low in carbohydrates and high in fat. It has become fashionable again as a diet for rapid weight loss in recent years, while it has been used to treat certain pathologies since the 1920s.0.
On this diet, carbohydrates make up about 5% to 10% of the daily energy intake, or between 20 and 50 g of carbohydrate. As for fat intake, it represents between 45% and 75% of the daily energy consumed. By comparison, in a balanced diet, carbohydrates generally represent between 45% and 65% of daily energy intake and fat between 20% and 35%.
However, carbohydrates are the main source of energy for some organs, especially the brain. Indeed, it is often recommended to consume a minimum of 130 g of carbohydrates per day to ensure the brain an adequate supply of glucose.
As part of the ketogenic diet, the low amount of carbohydrate available forces the body to use fat for energy. Specifically, the organs use ketone bodies which are produced by the breakdown of lipids into fatty acids by the liver to perform their functions. The production of ketones by the liver is called ketogenesis, hence the name of the diet.
The craze in recent years for the ketogenic diet is mainly due to the results of certain studies which observe that this diet would allow weight loss and could have beneficial effects on certain diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. of the scientific literature on the ketogenic diet.
Why a weight loss with the "KETO" diet?
In general, the body obtains the energy necessary for its proper functioning from the carbohydrates consumed during the day. In the ketogenic diet, with the body having almost no carbohydrates available to it, it taps into the carbohydrate stores built up in the muscles and the liver. These so-called "glycogen" reserves are associated with a lot of water. For every gram of glycogen used, 3 to 4 grams of water are bound to it. Weight loss at the start of the diet is therefore associated with a very significant loss of water.
It is when these glycogen stores are depleted (that is to say between 2 and 4 weeks) that the body begins to draw on its reserves of lipids to produce its energy. On the other hand, the body produces at this time waste that is called "ketone bodies". The buildup of these ketones in the blood causes a change in breath, similar to that of nail polish. It is the primary indicator that the body is in ketosis.
Being in ketosis naturally causes decreased appetite, and often nausea and fatigue. Decreased appetite also naturally leads to weight loss.
Foods Allowed and Banned in the Ketogenic Diet
These foods are allowed in large quantities in the "KETO" diet:
- Proteins such as: fish, seafood, poultry and meat.
- Vegetable oils (avocado,coco,olives)
- Lemon juice
- Low-carb vegetables (spinach, lettuce, kale, etc.)
- Firm cheese (100 g per day)
These are to be consumed in moderation in the "KETO" diet:
- Whole milk and yogurt with fat
- Vegetables higher in carbohydrates (except carrots, sweet potatoes, beets, corn and peas)
- Wine and alcohol
- Unsweetened coffee
These foods should be avoided in the ketogenic diet:
- Sugar and other sweet products
- Breads, cereals and, cookies and pastries
- Potatoes and Starches
- Fruits (except berries)
- Sweet vegetables (beets, corn, carrots, etc.)
- Soft cheeses and cream cheese
- Flavored yogurts
- Soft drinks
- Chocolate, candies, honey, maple syrup, jams
- Fruit and vegetable juices
- Fruit compotes
- Sweet sauces
- Milk or yogurt made from vegetable drinks (soy, almonds, cashews, oats, etc.)
It is important to aim for a high quality of healthy, quality food. A fatty diet does not mean a diet high in bad fats. Aim for good olive or avocado oils.
Note that more and more KETO products are available on the market, such as these LYNQ fruit and vegetable drinks for KETO diets,berries,Empowered Tasteless (to increase the nutritional value of your recipes or drinks) orpeach and mango, or the KETO training products fromNCN.
The advantages and disadvantages of "KETO"
A literature review carried out by Batchet al. and published in 2020 assessed the available data regarding the benefits and risks associated with adhering to a ketogenic diet.
According to the studies reviewed, the benefits that may be seen during the first six to twelve months after starting a ketogenic diet include:
- A transient decrease in blood pressure, triglycerides and glycated hemoglobin
- An increase in HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol
- Weight loss
According to these same studies, the disadvantages observed following the establishment of a ketogenic diet are:
- An increase in LDL cholesterol, the bad cholesterol, which could increase the risk of developing cardiovascular disease
- Difficulty maintaining the diet over the long term, due to severe dietary restrictions
- The benefits observed during the first twelve months are generally no longer present after this period
Finally, the authors of the literature review also mention that most of the studies analyzed were carried out in the short term and on a small number of participants. Therefore, according to the authors, due to the limited number of robust studies and the lack of solid evidence regarding the potential risks of the ketogenic diet, the use of this diet as a therapeutic intervention should be evaluated by a professional practitioner. health.
The quantity and quality for the "KETO"
As mentioned earlier, the ketogenic diet is low in carbs and high in fat. One of the studies analyzed by the Batch literature reviewet al. observed the association between carbohydrate intake and mortality. Their results show that low (<40%) and high (> 70%) carbohydrate intakes confer higher mortality than moderate carbohydrate intakes. Their results also show that mortality is higher when the sources of fat and protein are animal rather than vegetable. Therefore, it would seem that the amount of macronutrients, but also their quality, matters.
In 2018, the Professional Order of Dietitians of Quebec (OPDQ) published a position paper on the nutritional treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults using low-carbohydrate diets. In this publication, the OPDQ observes that most of the studies on low-carbohydrate diets have been carried out in the short term, that the risks and long-term side effects of these diets are unknown and that their long-term safety is not known. 'has not been demonstrated. In addition, the amount of carbohydrate as well as the quality of macronutrients vary from study to study. Consequently, the OPDQ recalls that the results of these studies must be interpreted with caution.
In conclusion, before starting a weight loss or therapeutic diet, it is recommended to consult a health professional so that he can individualize it and ensure the necessary follow-up.
- Batch, J. T., Lamsal, S. P., Adkins, M., Sultan, S., & Ramirez, M. N. (2020). Advantages and Disadvantages of the Ketogenic Diet: A Review Article.Cureus,12(8), e9639.https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.9639
- Seidelmann, S. B., Claggett, B., Cheng, S., Henglin, M., Shah, A., Steffen, L. M., Folsom, A. R., Rimm, E. B., Willett, W. C., & Solomon, S. D. (2018). Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: a prospective cohort study and meta-analysis.The Lancet. Public health,3(9), e419e428. https://doi.org/10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-XX