The Nutrition Nerd

What’s the Keto Diet?

The Keto Diet

I hear so many jokes about the keto diet, but at the same time I hear a lot of glowing reviews on it. So I think before we can take sides, it’s important that we look objectively at the keto diet.

How does the keto diet work?

The goal of a keto diet is to swap your body’s primary fuel source. Instead of relying primarily on carbs, which our bodies usually do, a ketogenic diet ideally forces our body to rely primarily on ketone bodies. This is a fuel source that our liver produces from stored fat. Sounds awesome, right? Especially for trying to lose weight.

How hard is the keto diet?

But to achieve ketosis is actually really hard. For one, you have to severely cut back on your carbs. You cannot have more than 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day.That is one medium sized banana. And, you can’t have a lot of protein either because too much protein also interferes with ketosis. To achieve ketosis usually takes many days and it is so easy to fall out of it. So I think when people say they’re following a keto diet, while I think some people are, I think the vast majority are actually following low-carb diets that are inspired by the keto diet. 

How to get to ketosis?

Most people who achieve ketosis are in clinical settings and they are supervised by nutrition professionals day in and day out, because the ketogenic diet does have its medical uses. It has been shown to reduce the frequency of epileptic seizures in children.

Keto Diet Studies

But overall, I think the keto diet is really controversial right now. It’s a trendy Topic in the nutrition field and I’ll just say as a nutrition student it is the butt of a lot of jokes in our classrooms. But I’m staying open because there is a lot of anecdotal evidence out there personally. I would like to see some more studies on the keto diet. Specifically the short and long-term effects of it when it is adopted by healthy everyday individuals.

Dietician Tips for Keto

If you are someone who’s thinking about adopting the keto diet, I highly encourage you to seek out professional guidance and be honest with yourself. Is something you can sustain for the rest of your life? Because, especially if you’re trying to lose weight, let’s be honest, a diet is only a short-term solution. It is our lifestyle choices that matter most just something to think about. 

What’s a carb?

What’s a carbohydrate? 

A carb is a type of macronutrient found in many foods and beverages. Some carbs occur naturally in plant-based foods and others are added to processed foods.

Classification of Carbs

You can classify carbs and many different ways. You can classify them subjectively say there are good carbs versus bad carbs. Or, you can classify them objectively via the glycemic index, for example. 

Three Main Carbs

There are three types of carbs that come up in everyday conversation:

The first type is just sugar. These are the monosaccharides. They are the simplest form of carbs. So think fruit sugar — that’s fructose. You have sucrose– table sugar– or even glucose and that is the form of carbohydrates that all carbs are eventually broken down into or converted to within the human body. 

The second type is starch. This is a complex carb or a polysaccharide which is essentially many sugar units chain together. These take longer to break down in the body, so think things like vegetables grains or beans.

The third type is fiber. This is also a complex carbohydrate and also a polysaccharide. But, its structure is different from starch and it makes it indigestible to humans, which gives fiber that unique quality and that unique ability for some people to make you go regularly.