The Jakarta Post
People tend to underestimate the amount of carbs they consume every day, and as a result fail to properly analyze their diet. (Shutterstock/File)
There is this concept that eating very low amounts of carbohydrates will cause your body to use ketones, compounds created from fat by the liver when blood insulin levels are low. This process is known as ketosis, and the ketogenic diet revolves around it.
“Your liver produces ketones all the time, but the rate depends on carbohydrate and protein intake,” said a professor of human sciences at Ohio State University, Jeff Volek, further explaining that, “Without the low-carb stimulus, there is no net increase in ketone production, no decrease in insulin, and no net increase in fat oxidation.”
Being on a ketogenic diet means that fat must comprise 60 to 80 percent of your total calories, with 20 percent coming from protein and 10 percent from carbohydrates. In total, carbohydrate intake needs to be limited from 20 to 30 grams per day in order to maintain constant ketosis, which is about the same as half a bagel, according to Men’s Health.
“Ketogenic diets tend to be more severe in carb restriction and have a more moderate protein restriction [than the Atkins diet],” said the author of The Fat Loss Prescription, Spencer Nadolsky.
He warned against advice from trainers and “body hackers” that tend to push the idea that no change of diet needs to be made in order to induce ketosis, such as taking ketone supplements.
One of the points of focus of the ketogenic diet is the consumption of fatty foods such as bacon. Vinny Guadagnino, who starred in reality show Jersey Shore, was known to promote such claims of being able to eat as much fatty food as he wanted, as long as it had no sugar and was very low in carbs.
According to the Men’s Health article, those wanting to try the ketogenic diet should avoid many fruits and high-starch vegetables such as potatoes, corn and squash as they contain too many carbohydrates. Instead, it recommended red bell peppers, kale and cauliflower. Juices, sodas or carbonated drinks and alcohol will disrupt your ketogenesis as well, which greatly limits the kind of food you can eat.
“There is no question that ketosis does work in the short term,” said associate director of the Stony Brook Metabolic and Bariatric Weight Loss Center in New York, Dr. Konstantinos Spaniolas.
Despite the success stories, there are those who struggle to lose weight on the ketogenic diet or find that it is too hard to maintain a certain weight, so they drop out.
“A ketogenic diet is designed to use fat for fuel,” said spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Ginger Hultin, according to another article by Men’s Health. “But if you’re consuming too many calories for your needs, it is still possible that you’ll be storing fat just as you would on any dietary pattern."
People tend to underestimate the amount of carbs they consume every day, and as a result fail to properly analyze their diet.
“The carbohydrate intake level is very low; foods like rice, potatoes, bread, starchy veggies, juice, most fruit or sweets of any kind will likely push you over the limit,” Hultin explained. “It’s easy to lose track - especially when carbs are hiding in seemingly innocuous places.”
“Everyone is different - what puts one person in ketosis could be different for another person,” Hultin said. “Your best plan of action is to choose foods with very few carbs, like green leafy veggies or berries, when looking for produce.”
Hultin also added that stress, lack of sleep, anxiety or being overworked could also cause one to fail at the ketosis diet, due to the increased production of cortisol these conditions cause.
Despite circumstance and the possibility that the keto diet may not be for everyone, there are still some good takeaways to be noted from ketogenesis and how to possibly lead a healthier life from good practices.
Cutting empty carbs such as soda, cookies, candies and other refined foods, embracing fatty foods such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, olive oil, avocado oil, and eating more leafy greens while avoiding high-starch vegetables, such as kale, spinach, bok choy, swiss chard and collards, are all a good start. Being away from hidden carbohydrates could also greatly help with whatever lifestyle change you are trying out, or if you simply want to try losing a bit of weight. (acr/kes)