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Are Keto Diets Effective for Weight Loss?

Are Keto Diets Effective for Weight Loss?

Are Keto diets effective for weight loss?

When approaching weight loss, I’m sure we have all been told about recent diet fads and trends that can help us achieve those goals quickly. Trends such as the keto-diet have been around for years now and have generated some attention regarding its supposed role in weight loss. But how effective is this diet really for weight loss? A keto-diet, or ‘keto-genic’ diet, is a specific plan that includes high-fat, moderate protein and low-carbohydrate foods. This plan has actually been used for centuries for the management of various medical conditions such as the control of diabetes, epilepsy in children, cancer and even PCOS. In current society, this is being instead used for the supposed purpose of weight loss. 

The reasoning behind the hypothesis that the keto-diet is able to aid in weight loss is the key factor of decreasing carbohydrate consumption. Glucose is the main source of energy for all cells in the body and is obtained by eating carbohydrate-rich foods.  By decreasing carbohydrate consumption and increasing fat, you are depriving your body of the glucose needed to provide your body with energy, causing your body to enter a metabolic state known as ketosis. Our body then turns fats into ketones which are molecules that fuel the brain with energy to support brain function instead of carbs. After a prolonged amount of time, the body and brain are able to adapt to this way of fueling itself by using fat and ketones instead of carbs. This hence lowers insulin levels which has been proven to be beneficial for blood sugar management and insulin sensitivity, particularly in Type 1 and 2 Diabetes. 

But how does this metabolic change help with weight loss? Available research detailing the relationship between keto diets and weight loss is still limited. There has been evidence to suggest that this diet assists with some individuals experiencing weight loss short-term, however these results are completely individualised and vary. Long-term, there is actually little to no changes in weight in individuals following a ketogenic diet compared to conventional weight loss diets. Additionally, a keto diet is an extremely restrictive diet that can be difficult to follow and is therefore not sustainable long-term and has the potential to cause nutrient deficiencies of fibre, B vitamins and essential nutrients due to a variety of nourishing foods not included. Following a diet so high in fat is challenging to sustain and by restricting carbohydrate intake, this can cause side effects such as increased hunger, irritability, low mood, fatigue, headaches and constipation. The biggest pitfall with this particular diet is the challenges presented by restricting yourself from enjoyable carbohydrate-rich foods like rice, pasta and potatoes that allow you to feel satisfied. This diet is also high in saturated fat which exceeds the recommended amount outlined in the Australian Dietary Guidelines.  

Overall, the approach to weight loss should be completely individualised. Though there is conflicting research detailing a variety of diets, when approaching weight loss it is essential to do so by ensuring you are nourishing your body with a variety of foods and implementing long-term healthy eating habits that allow positive changes to be sustainable. The foods you eat, particularly carbohydrates, are fuelling your body and should be viewed as enjoyable and not restrictive to ensure weight loss is sustained over a longer period of time. It is essential to not solely focus on restrictive eating and cutting out important food groups, but to include a daily variety of nutritious foods that nourish your body through a variety of food groups such as meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy and grains to ensure adequate intakes of fibre, B vitamins, and minerals. Remember food should be enjoyable, and there is no reason you can’t eat the foods you love and enjoy a balance of healthy eating whilst achieving your weight loss goals. 

Everyone here at EBT hopes you all had an amazing holiday season and are ready to get back into routine and towards your goals for 2022! If you felt you needed some guidance and help towards meeting those goals, we have have a 8 week challenge starting January 10th, which you can find a link for below.

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