Get­ting the best from a ke­to­genic diet

The Sun (Malaysia) - - WHAT2EAT -

WHILE spe­cial­ists recog­nise the ef­fec­tive­ness of the ke­to­genic diet – which re­stricts car­bo­hy­drate in­take, in turn re­duc­ing the avail­abil­ity of glu­cose – in tackling cer­tain med­i­cal con­di­tions, they also warn against po­ten­tial side ef­fects such as nau­sea, fa­tigue and headaches.

By def­i­ni­tion, a ke­to­genic diet is not a bal­anced diet. Around 75% of calo­ries come from fats, although the proin­flam­ma­tory omega-6 va­ri­ety, such as sun­flower oil, grape seed oil and wheat germ, are usu­ally avoided.

Fol­low­ers of the diet can eat meat, poul­try, fish, seafood, eggs, but­ter, oils, oilseeds, av­o­ca­dos, and cer­tain veg­eta­bles with low car­bo­hy­drate levels – such as green leafy veg­eta­bles like spinach, kale and let­tuce – as well as hard cheeses.

Other dairy prod­ucts, such as milk and yogurt (full-fat va­ri­eties), are al­lowed in mod­er­a­tion.

Veg­eta­bles with higher car­bo­hy­drate con­tents – such as car­rots, beet­root, sweet­corn and sweet potato – should be avoided.

Since cells no longer have ac­cess to glu­cose con­verted from car­bo­hy­drates, the body has to find a new source of en­ergy. In fact, it essen­tially adopts the same process as when fast­ing, re­ly­ing on ‘ke­tone bod­ies’ for en­ergy.

Ke­tone bod­ies are three types of mol­e­cules that re­sult from the con­ver­sion of fat into fatty acids in the ab­sence of glu­cose.

Two ke­tone bod­ies are used by the heart and the brain as a source of en­ergy and the third is elim­i­nated by the body.

The most ev­i­dent ben­e­fit of the ke­to­genic diet is weight loss, which cer­tain stud­ies have found to be slightly greater than with high-pro­tein di­ets.

The ke­to­genic diet is cur­rently see­ing re­newed in­ter­est from med­i­cal re­searchers, thanks in part to its po­ten­tial ther­a­peu­tic ben­e­fits in other neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions, such Alzheimer’s, Parkin­son’s, stro­kere­lated brain in­jury and can­cer.

It can also im­prove blood sugar levels in di­a­bet­ics.

How­ever, doc­tors warn of the diet’s side ef­fects, which can in­clude nau­sea, fa­tigue and headaches, in turn re­duc­ing ap­petite and food in­take.

Fol­low­ers should also be­ware of de­fi­cien­cies in fi­bre and vi­ta­mins in the diet. – AFP-Re­laxnews

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