We’ve talked about it over and over again, but we still can’t stress the importance of a healthy diet. From the time you’re a just-born child to the time you become a senior citizen, you should follow a balanced and healthy diet. And, the reason is simple – it gives you energy, makes you feel good and keeps you healthy. Eating food that’s rich in nutrients means that you’re consuming the right combination of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, minerals and vitamins.

What you eat becomes your diet and that diet plays a major role in deciding how healthy and how well your body responds. Contrary to popular belief, being on a diet does not automatically equate to weight loss. A diet simply means the amount and kinds of food you need to consume. Following specific diets have all sorts of advantages from making your skin look better, to quickening your metabolism, improving your overall fitness levels and helping you lose weight.

In this blog, TABIIB discusses one diet in particular that has been recommended by many in the health and fitness community– the ketogenic diet.

But, what exactly is it?

Let’s break down the meaning of the term Ketogenic. The word Ketogenic is a Greek-based word literally meaning ‘producing ketone bodies’. In a normal diet, carbohydrates in food are converted into glucose, which is essential for normal brain functioning. Its also just like the Atkins Diet. In a ketogenic diet, when you consume carbohydrates, the liver converts the fat into fatty acids and ketones, the latter of which are the water-soluble molecules. This combination is later transported to the brain and replaces glucose as the primary energy source.

How does it affect you?

Trace levels of ketones are always found in the blood, and their number increases when the bl ood glucose is low. The liver functions shift from metabolizing carbohydrates to the conversion of fat into fatty acids and ketones. The ketones then function as an energy source when the blood glucose is low. As the liver cannot utilize all the ketone molecules for energy, so they travel in the blood to be used by the tissues in the brain.

The elevated level of ketones in the blood is termed as ketosis. The process of restricting carbohydrates and in turn inducing ketosis is referred to as nutritional ketosis. When there is low consumption of carbohydrates and a moderate inculcation of proteins and fat, this form a diet is called the Ketogenic diet.

Different Types Of Ketogenic Diet.

 There are four different types of Ketogenic diets, as follows: 

1. Traditional/Classic Ketogenic Diet:

In this type of diet, there is a fixed ratio of fat by weight that combines protein and carbohydrates. This is achieved by excluding all the high-ratio carbohydrate foods like dairy (milk, yoghurt and ice-cream), fruit (whole fruit and fruit juice), grains (bread, rice and cereal), starchy vegetables (potatoes and corn) and sugary sweets. When these foods rich in carbohydrates are excluded, you can increase the consumption of food rich in fat. In young children, this traditional diet begins in the hospital. The typical ratio of the ketogenic diet is 3:4:1. Based on the 3:4:1 ratio, it is 90% of fat, 6% of protein and 4% of carbohydrates.

Pros:   

  • As this kind of diet is generally designed for kids and young children, parents know exactly how much of each type of food to give.
  • The consumption of sugary sweets is easily avoidable as sugary sweets can make children hyperactive.
  • As the diet is very consistent, there is little variation in the ketone levels of ketones in the blood.
  • The diet is easy to adapt to as the dietician and the doctors know exactly what the child’s body is receiving. 

Cons:

  • It’s difficult to adjust the amount of food to be consumed based on the child’s appetite as the child must eat everything on their plate.
  • Protein is often recommended to be limited as per the dietary allowance which is often less than what the child is generally used to.
  • Involves frequent weighing and measuring.
  • It is also more time-consuming to prepare the classic ketogenic diet.

2. Medium-Chain Triglyceride:

Dietary fat is made up of molecules called long-chain triglycerides. However, in the Medium-chain Triglycerides (MCT’s), the octanoic and decanoic acids produce more ketones per unit of energy. A variant of the Keto diet is the MCT ketogenic diet, which uses MCT oil to provide around half the calories. In this diet, you need to consume less fat, and more carbs and proteins. This ratio allows for a slightly greater variety of food choices. The MCT diet was first introduced and tested by Dr Huttenlocher in 1971 on a few children and adolescents who suffered from seizures and epilepsy. The end results dictated a therapeutically significant effect in 50% of the children with a higher percentage of gastrointestinal effects. The composition of this kind of ketogenic diet can be in any ratio. Based on the 4:1 ratio- 10% LCT fat, 60% MCT fat, 20% carbohydrate and 10% protein.

Pros:

  • Provides more proteins.
  • Greater protein consumption allows more volume in which to mix the LCT fats and the MCT fats.
  • Increased variety of food choices.

Cons:

  • Involves weighing and measuring of the food at the time of cooking as well as consumption.
  • The time-consuming process to prepare MCT meals
  • Possible Gastrointestinal side effects.

3. Modified Atkins Ketogenic Diet:

The Modified Atkins ketogenic diet allows carbohydrate intake and encourages more consumption of fat. There is no calorie restriction or frequent weighing or measuring of food involved. The meals under the modified Atkins Ketogenic Diet are easier to prepare. Long term commitment to the Modified Atkins keto diet has resulted in fewer seizures in children and epilepsy in adults. Another advantage to the Modified Atkins diet is the approximate ratio, i.e., 1:1:1; 65% Fat, 10% carbohydrate and 25% protein.

Pros:

  • It’s flexible and you can adjust meals based on appetite.
  • Provides more protein to the body.
  • Involves frequent to no weighing or measuring of food.
  • Meals are prepared faster. 

Cons:

  • There are no rigid or proper set of guidelines to monitor the fat amounts or consumption.
  • Requires experimentations to determine the fats to be converted into ketones.
  • Often more variability in the ketone production.
  • Involves more record-keeping for monitoring of adjustments made to the diet.  

4. Low Glycemic Index Diet:

The low Glycemic Index ketogenic Diet is a form of low-carbohydrate consumption diet. Only food with a low glycemic index like oats, barley, butter, beans, non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, herbs, radish and spinach) are consumed. Reviews and studies suggest that a Low-Glycemic diet helps reduce blood pressure in adults. It also improves glucose levels in patients with Type-2 diabetes. This type of ketogenic diet also provides an advantage to children suffering from generalized or focal seizures, and it helps reduce seizures by 75-90% among children and epilepsy in adults. The approximate ratio in the low-glycemic diet is 0:6:1, i.e., 60% fat, 10% carbohydrate and 30% protein.

Pros:

  • Flexibility to adapt and adjust to meals and make changes to the variation.
  • Provides more protein.
  • Less weighing and measuring food.
  • Faster preparation of meals.

Cons:

  • Requires being familiar and educated with foods that have a low-glycemic ratio.
  • More record keeping
  • More adjustments to be made to the diet based on the appetite and ratio of fat and protein.  

We hope this blog helped you understand the basics of the Ketogenic diet. If you’re looking for an expert opinion regarding this, consult a doctor or dietician on TABIIB today.

I’m a writer, poet and content writer; who covers topics under Nutrition, wellness and beauty. If I’m not found writing Or reading books, I’ll be surfing through Pinterest searching for books to purchase or binge-watching The Big Bang Theory on Netflix.

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