If you’re thinking of losing some weight or getting healthier for January, you are not alone.
Changing eating habits is a common New Year’s resolution after an over-indulgent holiday season.
There is no shortage of diets out there claiming to help you shed pounds, which can make the change overwhelming.
One popular diet is the Keto diet, but what do you know about it?
Here we reveal everything you need to know about the Keto diet – from how it aims to help with weight loss and whether or not it’s safe.
“The aim of this diet is to significantly decrease the amount of carbohydrate in your diet, so that the body switches from primarily burning carbohydrates, to burning fat, for energy”
Dr Alan Barclay – Dietitian and Research Associate at The University of Sydney
What is the Keto diet?
The Keto diet, short for Ketogenic diet, is a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet, similar to the Atkins Diet.
Dr Alan Barclay, Dietitian and Research Associate at The University of Sydney, told Net Doctor: “The aim of this diet is to significantly decrease the amount of carbohydrate in your diet, so that the body switches from primarily burning carbohydrates, to burning fat, for energy.”
By eating a low-carb, high-fat diet it puts your body in a state of ketosis, which means it starts using ketone bodies – burning more fat.
Ketone bodies is produced by your liver, which puts your body in a metabolic state.
Although everyone’s bodies needs different things, it usually means:
• 60-70% calories from fat
• 15-30% calories from protein
• 5-10% calories from carbohydrates
Keto diet food list:
Because many processed, packaged foods are off-limits, it can be tricky knowing what to get.
Even certain whole foods are high in starch, such as sweet potatoes and potatoes.
Here is a beginners’ guide to foods you can eat:
• Low-carb vegetables (Rocket, spinach, aubergine, courgette, mushrooms, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, fennel, cabbage, celery, Brussel sprouts, kale)
• Low-sugar fruits (tomatoes, avocado, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, coconut, lemon, limes)
• Seafood (Wild salmon, sardines, mackerel, shrimp, crab, tuna, mussels, cod)
• Meat and poultry (Chicken, turkey, beef, venison, pork, lamb)
• Nuts and seeds (Macadamia nuts, flaxseed, Brazil nuts, chia seeds, walnuts, pecans, hemp seeds, hazelnuts, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, almonds)
• Dairy products (Cheese, cottage cheese, plain Greek yoghurt, cream, butter)
• Oils (Extra-virgin olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, nut oils, coconut butter, MCT oil)
• Condiments (Olive oil mayonnaise, mustard, unsweetened ketchup, oil-based salad dressings)
• Snacks (Nut butters with no added sugar, sugar-free jerky, dried seaweed, buts, low-carb crackers)
• Coffee and tea (Unsweetened)
• Dark chocolate
What you can’t eat on Keto diet:
In general, you need to stay away from foods which are high in carbs.
This includes breads, cereals, pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous, starchy vegetables, fruit and legumes.
Is the Keto diet safe?
If you are thinking of doing the Keto diet, keep in mind the NHS recommends consuming 2,500 calories a day for men, and 2,000 calories for women to maintain weight.
The best thing to do if you want to lose weight, is speak to your GP or read up on how to achieve a healthy weight on the NHS website.
Doctors and nutritionists have also pointed out that the Keto diet is not sustainable long-term.
Dr Barclay said: “It’s not something that I recommend for the general population for the long-term.
“By drastically cutting out carbohydrate-containing foods, you’ll miss out on the nutritional benefits of healthy choices like whole grains, fruit, starchy vegetables, and legumes such as beans, chickpeas and lentils.
“If you’re looking to lose weight, burning fat may sound like the key to success, but in actual fact it comes with some risks, and may not be effective in the long term.
“The Ketogenic diet is a short-term solution to a long-term healthy problem.”