Today we’re talking about fashion. Huh? Nico, you are a nutritionist at Freshly Pressed, not a fashion blogger at Vogue.
Stay with me, you will understand.
The food industry has just released its spring-summer 2018 collection and believe me this year it’s not kale or eating like a prehistoric man who is in fashion (sorry, paleo, you’re dead). This year the industry has chosen to fight fire with fire, or rather fat with fat, with the ketogenic diet (KETO).
What is the definition of a ketogenic diet?
The keto, or ketogenic diet, is characterized by a marked decrease in the consumption of carbohydrates (the sugar family) and proteins and by an increase in the proportion of energy that comes from fat. Although it is very fashionable these days, it was invented in the 1920s to decrease the seizures of children with epilepsy and decrease the amount of medication they take. It is still used today at CHU Sainte-Justine to treat children with epilepsy.
The diet “works” when you manage to achieve ketosis. The alleged benefits of ketosis are numerous:
Lose weight quickly;
Slow the onset of the feeling of hunger;
Stabilize the energy level during the day;
Reduce the symptoms of epilepsy;
Unsurprisingly, it, therefore, meets all the criteria of a diet born to be popular:
Promise rapid weight loss;
Eliminate one or more food groups;
Forcing yourself to eat differently from your friends or family;
Have scientific bases that give it a sexy side;
Be supported by public figures: yes madam!
Foods allowed in a KETO diet
To reach the state of ketosis, you must eat between 25 and 50 grams of carbohydrates per day maximum (about 5 to 10% of your energy), that is to say, the equivalent of a banana or yogurt in individual format… for 24 hours. In comparison, someone who eats “normally” gets about 50% of their energy from carbohydrates (so between 250 g and 300 g of carbohydrates).
A single fatty meal does not lead you to ketosis. To reach this state, your body must be short of carbohydrates for at least 3 to 4 days. Then, if you stay the course for 3 to 4 weeks (keto-adaptation period), the proportion of energy that your brain will seek via the ketone bodies will gradually increase, until reaching about 70%. There you will be in real ketosis.
A small portion of the energy your brain uses will continue to come from the carbohydrates that are produced especially for it from the fats in your body (if that’s not a favored treatment!).
So concretely, you have to eat foods low in carbohydrates and high in fat. For example :
Oily fish (salmon, trout, sardines, mackerel, tuna …)
Nuts and seeds
The foods you should not eat are:
Potatoes (including fries!)
Ah, and the ketogenic diet does not forgive. If you inadvertently eat too many carbohydrates and leave ketosis, your body will need at least 3 days to 1 month to fall back into KETO-mode.
How do I know if I’m in ketosis?
Excellent question. The state of ketosis is defined by a specific concentration (0.5 mM and more) of ketones in your blood. Ketones are molecules produced when your glucose stores become too low to support your brain.
When that happens, your brain (which likes sugar a lot, but is able to compromise, a good guy you know) is forced to run on what is left: fat. But fats are not able to get to the brain as it is, so they are broken down into acetyl-CoA, then converted by your liver into ketone bodies to feed your brain friend.
To confirm that your body is in ketosis, there are tabs on which you can urinate and which tell you if you are. Another device similar to a breathalyzer allows you to analyze your ketosis level from an expiration.
Does the KETO diet work?
In fact, there is nothing black or white with the ketogenic diet, it depends on the situation.
Weight loss with the ketogenic diet
You will succeed in losing weight if you get serious about it and remain in a state of ketosis. However (damn!), If there is weight loss, it is due to the fact that you simply eat fewer calories than you spend (because fat, it stuffs quickly!), Not because of the mysterious god Keto. And (damn!) As nothing is magic, it is also possible to gain weight by doing the ketogenic diet, just by eating more calories than you spend. In addition (ok there it will do!), It is very likely that you will bother to eat sausage and butter when your friend is going to eat a sundae or your sister is going to sip a smoothie next to you. Finally (not there, hangs up seriously), it is very likely that part of the weight lost at the start is muscle and water. This weight will come back if you re-introduce the carbohydrates eventually.
Sports with a KETO diet
When you play sports, the fuel your body prefers to use is carbohydrates. If it has to go through fat, it manages to get its energy, but it takes much longer, and the power achieved is less important. It’s a bit like if you wanted to go from Montreal to Sherbrooke, but you went through Trois-Rivières, it’s not a winner. So you have less juice to make quick high-intensity efforts (e.g. sprints, CrossFit, intervals, etc.).
Are there any side effects, risks, or dangers with KETO?
The side effects are undeniable, but they are mainly present during the first 3 to 4 weeks of keto-adaptation.
One of the most glaring side effects is that your breath smells fruity due to acetone, a volatile ketone body that is released from your airways. To give you an idea of the smell, acetone is also the product used in the nail polish remover, so your breath has the air of “remover”!
With such a radical change, the bacteria in your gut flora are a bit shocked. As they adjust to handling so much fat, you have a good chance of being constipated. If it persists after several weeks, it is a good indication that you are not eating enough fiber. To settle this, baby fafa: drink more water, move more and eat foods rich in fiber, but low in carbohydrates so as not to get out of your ketosis (eg nuts, seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, etc. .).
Symptoms similar to those of flu can occur at the beginning of keto-adaptation (eg dizziness, fatigue, insomnia, cravings for sugar, brain in slow motion. Etc.). Normally, it fades after the first few weeks.
So my opinion as a nutritionist?
The keto diet can be suitable for several people, but it is really binding to adopt. Your will must be steadfast and your reason for doing so must be valid (eg, epilepsy). If you want to make sure you respect ketosis and make sure it’s healthy for you, I encourage you to see a doctor or nutritionist.