Are there Different Types of Keto Diets?
1. “Standard" Ketogenic Diet:
- Very low carb, moderate protein, very high fat
- <30g/day carbs (5-10% total energy), 20-25% protein, 65-75% fat
2. MCT Keto diet (Medium Chain Triglycerides):
- Much higher intake from MCT oil/coconut oil as MCT are absorbed quicker and able to be partially oxidated into ketone bodies (they also provide more ketones per gram compared to long chain triglycerides).
- Adheres to a similar ratio of above, only more fats obtained from MCT oil)
3. Calorie restricted Keto diet:
- Often targeted at those wanting to lose weight, although most people tend to lose weight on keto with calorie restriction given the satiating effect of fats.
4. 5:2 Keto diet/Cyclical Keto Diet:
- 5 days of ketogenic diet which carbohydrates are restricted closer to 5% of energy, and 2 days of the week with higher carbohydrates to replenish muscle and liver glycogen levels. This is more targeted at athletes.
5. High protein Keto diet:
- 5-10% carbs (staple % in keto), 35% protein and ~60% fat (increased protein and decreased fat). Marketed for weight loss too in populations of higher physical activity.“
Does it work for weight loss?
Here’s where it gets a little murky. Take American mum Becca for example, she’s credited the Keto diet to losing 18kg saying she’s done it naturally and with no surgery.
And Home and Away’s Ada Nicodemou has lost 5kg after starting the ketogenic diet but for her says “it’s not the numbers but her energy levels that are the most gratifying. I was one of those people who’d eat big meals every two hours but now it’s three meals a day. I wake up in the morning and plan what I’m going to eat.”
Although, Jessica suggests that whilst “studies have shown that the increased fat (and often protein content) from controlled eating environments has reduced hunger levels and resulted in weight loss. More evidence is needed to observe any weight gain rebound and the sustainability of the weight loss over long term adherence to a ketogenic diet.”
Is the keto diet safe?
For the general population, the gradual weight loss and capacity to meet nutritional requirements with few side effects have been reported by studies as safe (given no harm done to the participants).
For patients with Type 1 diabetes, please consult your physician regarding dosing of insulin injections given they are tailored to carbohydrate load (amount, type and timing).
Health Benefits of the Keto Diet
- Improved blood glucose control in Type 2 Diabetics and decreased reliance on medication. Most common marker measured for blood glucose control was HbA1C, which is the molecule which glucose is carried through the blood.
- Weight loss resulting from increased satiety and decreased appetite to assist with portion control and snacking between meals.
- Improved HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) from increased unsaturated fat intake.
Potential dangers and side effects
- Hypos can be common in both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, meaning the blood sugar levels dip dangerously low. Caution should be given to these populations and they should consult a doctor prior to any changes.
- Change in bowel habits (due to decreased fibre and change in gut bacteria levels).
- Decreased mental concentration as body adjusts to burning ketones.
- Bad breath – parts of the ketones come out in our breath
- Sustainability and social health may be affected given tight regulations of carbohydrate control when eating out with friends and family.
What is keto flu?
Keto flu is a common side effect of cutting out carbohydrates and starting the ketogenic diet. It normally presents in flu like symptoms and lasts 5-7 days. Symptoms include nausea, headaches, muscle cramps and fatigue.
Is it safe for diabetics do it?
Jessica comments that “although there is a solid foundation of evidence, with new evidence emerging favouring the use of very low carbohydrate/ketogenic diets for treatment and management of Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes, it is currently not supported by governing health organisations.”
A Typical Day of the Keto Diet:
Breakfast: 4 eggs, 1/2 avocado, 1 to 2 Tbsp olive oil
Lunch: 110g baked salmon with 1 Tbsp olive oil, 1/2 bunch asparagus with 1 to 2 Tbsp butter
Dinner: 150g steak, 2 cups spinach with coconut oil and 50g macadamia nuts
List of foods you can eat:
- Fats: avocados, oil, butter ghee
- Vegetables: cauliflower, cabbage, avocado, broccoli, zucchini, peppers, eggplants, tomatoes, asparagus, cucumber, onion, mushroom, spinach, lettuce, green beans, olives
- Nuts: peanut, almonds and cashews
- High-fat dairy: heavy cream, cheese (soft and hard), cream cheese, sour cream
- Unsweetened coffee and tea
What Can't You Eat?
- Fruit: apples, bananas, oranges, grapes, watermelon, peaches, melon, pineapple, cherries, pears, lemons, limes, grapefruits, plums, mango
- Starchy vegetables: potatoes,
- Sweeteners: cane sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave nectar, Splenda, aspartame, saccharin, corn syrup
- Candy, chocolate and lollies
- Low-fat dairy: skim milk, skim mozzarella, fat-free yogurt, low cheese and cream cheese
Can you drink alcohol?
No alcohol is not permitted as part of this eating regimen.