Low-carb di­ets DE­CODED

Don’t know your Pa­le­olithic from your Ke­to­genic? You are not alone! Here’s the low­down on low-carb di­ets — and what they ac­tu­ally do.

Healthy Food Guide (Australia) - - FEATURES -

PA­LEO PROS

The Pa­leo diet’s main pos­i­tive is the fo­cus it puts on whole foods and the re­duc­tion it brings about in pro­cessed foods, sugar, salt and al­co­hol.

CONS

Low in fi­bre “This may cause con­sti­pa­tion, and in the long term the lack of fi­bre may also in­crease the risk of bowel cancer,” says Dr Alan Bar­clay, di­eti­tian and spokesper­son for the Di­eti­tians As­so­ci­a­tion of Aus­tralia (DAA).

Ex­ces­sive meat in­take “Too much pro­tein can stim­u­late in­sulin,” says Bar­clay. “If peo­ple eat a great deal of red meat, then this could also pre­dis­pose them to bowel cancer.” Reach­ing its peak pop­u­lar­ity in 2013, the Pa­leo is a high-pro­tein, low-car­bo­hy­drate diet that elim­i­nates grains, legumes and dairy foods from your meals.

KE­TO­GENIC

This ul­tra-low-carb diet aims to get your body to use ke­tones, from stored fat, as its pre­ferred fuel source, in­stead of carbs. Ke­tones are pro­duced by the liver from fat when the body is starved of car­bo­hy­drates. The Keto diet cuts your carbs to 50 grams per day, the ab­so­lute min­i­mum re­quired for our brain, ner­vous sys­tem, red blood cells and kid­ney func­tion.

PROS

This ex­treme diet may al­le­vi­ate symp­toms in con­di­tions like epilepsy and mul­ti­ple sclero­sis, but some are adopt­ing it to achieve ma­jor weight loss.

CONS

High in sat­u­rated fat It can boost un­healthy LDL choles­terol, bump­ing up your risk of heart dis­ease. Hard to sus­tain “Most peo­ple can’t stay on a ke­to­genic diet for more than a few months be­cause it’s too rigid and re­stric­tive,” says Bar­clay.

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