Confused about keto? The ketogenic is not just another low-carb diet, the ketogenic diet is extremely controlled and requires attention to each food consumed. It involves a high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate diet. Approximately 70% of total energy per day would come from fat, 25% from protein and 5% from carbohydrate.
When we eat carbohydrate our body uses that for fuel. When we reduce our carbohydrate intakes to ketogenic diet levels our bodies must find an alternative fuel source for energy. In this type of diet a process called ‘ketosis’ takes place whereby the liver breaks down fat to produce ketones and these are used for energy rather than using carbohydrates. Ketosis is a difficult process to begin and a difficult state to remain in. Slight increases or fluctuations in carbohydrate intakes can kick a person out of the ketogenic state.
Research into the potential benefits of this diet for sports performance, cancer and epilepsy in particular are ongoing but some have yielded positive results. The side effects of this diet may include the so-called ‘keto flu’ where people may experience headaches, dizziness and fatigue. Other possible side effects may include leg cramps, GI issues, bad breath and ‘brain fog’. As with any particular diet advice should be sought from a doctor beforehand.
Emma Brennan is a qualified Nutritionist and is a registered member of the Association for Nutrition (AFN). Emma attained her qualification in Human Nutrition from Ulster University, Coleraine. Emma has a passion for all things nutrition and health related and her mission is to educate the public about their health and wellbeing through her blogs, videos and nutrition tips online and through the Good4U Nutrition Service provided to schools, sports clubs and businesses.