Remember when the Atkins diet was the golden child of popular low-carb diets? Atkins is still a popular but the ketogenic diet has been picking up steam in recent years. It’s also known as the very-low-carb-ketogenic-diet (VLCKD). For many decades, this diet has been shown to help treat specific clinical diseases like epilepsy! However, colloquial dieters are now using this diet in an attempt to lose weight and body fat.
What is it?
The ketogenic diet eliminates almost all sources of carbohydrates (sad panda). To be precise, a person on a VLCKD consumes less than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day. That’s roughly 1 cup of cooked brown rice for the entire day! Since, carbohydrates are severely reduced, moderate protein and high fat make up the rest in this diet. With reduced carbohydrates and glycogen reserves, the body goes into starvation mode to break fat down. This process produces ketone bodies as a source of energy. Usually, glucose is the preferred and most quickly oxidized source of energy. Now, the body must adapt to survive and gain energy from ketone bodies.
Findings from research varies but whatever weight loss occurs has been attributed to a few things:
- increased satiety from increased fat/moderate protein
- reduced calorie intake
- increased energy expenditure due to fat metabolism
Don’t do it. It sounds absolutely terrible and it is yet another diet that is being misused in recreational settings. I think it’s dangerous to get your body to mimic starvation to switch from glucose to ketone bodies as fuel, especially since the brain prefers glucose! On top of feeling like crap, this diet is difficult to maintain. Most likely, going to this extreme will last a short period followed by guilt, binging on carbs, rebound weight gain. This definitely deserves a “Oh Ngo You Didn’t!”
Thomas Ngo RD