Wouldn’t it be great if butter and bacon were “health foods?” Maybe with a side of guacamole and some shredded cheddar on top? “I’m doing this to lose weight,” you could say, as you topped your well marbled, medium-rare steak with a fried egg.
Well, many advocates of The Ketogenic Diet argue exactly that: By eating a lot of fat and close to zero carbohydrates you too can enjoy enhanced health, quality of life, performance, brain function, and abs you can grate that cheese on.
What does The Ketogenic Diet look like?
A small amount of protein, such as:
A large amount of high-fat foods, such as:
- coconut and coconut milk or oil
- olive oil and any other oil
- nuts and nut butters
- egg yolks
A very small amount of very-low-carbohydrate vegetables, such as:
- leafy greens
- brassicas: broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, cabbage
However, here’s what you can’t eat on The Ketogenic Diet:
- Most dairy (except high fat items like butter and certain cheeses)
- Beans and legumes
- Starchy vegetables (sweet potatoes and potatoes)
- Sweet vegetables such as butternut squash or carrots
What actually is The Ketogenic Diet?
- Ketosis: Sounds a bit ‘science-y’ but when your body is in a state of ketosis, the liver produces ketones which become the main energy source for the body.
- Still confused? Bottom line, it’s based around the premise that your body was designed to run more efficiently as a fat burner than a sugar burner. This sounds appealing for many especially those trying to shed the pounds.
What exactly does The Ketogenic Diet look like?
It consists of high fat foods, with staples such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy and oils, strictly forbidding carbohydrate rich foods such as pasta, rice, all grains, potatoes and even certain fruit and vegetables.
Usually, when we eat and digest, we break down carbohydrates into molecules of fructose, galactose, and glucose, the last of which serves as the body’s primary source of energy. When the body can’t get glucose from carbohydrates, it looks for other forms of energy. To sum up, by putting your body into a state of ketosis, you release fat as an energy source, utilise it and essentially burn fat rather than sugar.
What are the risks of The Ketogenic Diet?
Like all elimination diets, cutting out carbohydrates from your diet can put you at risk of deficiency of nutrients leading to additional health effects. In addition, replacing carbohydrates with fat and protein runs the risk of increasing your intake of saturated fat, associated with increased cholesterol and cardiovascular issues. With that said, the ketogenic diet should not be taken lightly and without knowledge of appropriate nutrition. Initially, reducing your carbohydrate levels causing ketosis can lead to headaches, weakness, nausea, dehydration, dizziness and irritability.
The Ketogenic Diet: Is it right for you?
If you’re a normal person who just wants to be healthy and fit:
- Enjoy reading about ketosis if you like. Try it, if you’re curious. But you can be perfectly fit, lean, and healthy without it.
- Don’t believe everything you read on the internet. Remember that the plural of “personal anecdote” is not “scientific data”. Be a critical reader and consumer.
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Annie O' Brien
Business Development Manager
Annie is our Business Development Manager here at GourmetFuel. Annie completed her Bachelor’s degree in Food Innovation at the Technology University of Dublin. Before joining the team at GourmetFuel, she worked for a successful start-up company based in New York City where she gained valuable experience in product development, food safety, and allergen management and control. Her areas of interest are food business sustainability, health promotion, and nutrition research.
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