Bee See Wei, Unit Head of Dietetic and Food Services from Park City Medical Centre
The ketogenic diet is a popular technique that is used by many to lose weight in a short period of time, usually within three to six months.
However, many misuse the diet which could be detrimental to one’s health. We speak to Dietitian Bee See Wei, to find out more about the ketogenic diet.
1Twenty80: What is the keto diet?
Bee See Wei:
The keto diet is also recognised as the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet was developed at the Mayo Clinic, United States of America in 1924 as a way to treat epileptic in children.
It’s a special diet that is very high in fat, low in carbohydrate and has moderate consumption in protein. The ratio of fat to carbohydrate is 4:1. In recent years, keto diet has been proposed as a ‘new’ strategy for successful weight loss in adults.
1Twenty80: Is the keto diet safe?
For short term, yes. The short-term period to practice ketogenic diet will be from three to six months. With the latest studies done on the ketogenic diet, none of the studies supports individuals practising the ketogenic diet long term for more than a year. There is no evidence to support the safety of this diet on a long-term basis. This is because, the basic ketogenic diet is very high in fat, resulting in 80 percent of your food intake consisting of fats. Nevertheless, it is also high in cholesterol, therefore leading to many cardiovascular diseases.
1Twenty80: What are the benefits of the keto diet?
In my opinion, for short term, the ketogenic diet acts as a weight loss tool for adults. For people who are trying out the keto diet, their body will be in a ketosis. Being in a ketosis state is what helps to reduce the appetite of an individual. Hence, causing weight loss to take place. This keto diet can be considered as an alternative to weight loss management under close monitoring and supervision of medical professionals.
1Twenty80: Can everyone be on the keto diet?
Ketogenic diet for weight loss is definitely not for everyone especially children, expecting mothers, elderly as well as individuals with medical issues. It is not advisable for children to be on a ketogenic diet, but applicable to adults of 18 years and above. However, supervision from dietitians or doctors is very important.
1Twenty80: What foods can you eat on a keto diet?
To follow a ketogenic diet meal plan, about 80 percent of food consumed are fats and less than 20 percent are carbohydrates. Majority of the meals are from foods such as meat, fatty fish, and unsaturated fats like avocado, olive oil, walnut and almond.
Fruits can be taken as a replacement of other carbohydrates. However, it still depends on the type of fruits and the amount of carbohydrates it contains.
Based on a 1500 kcal/day diet, an individual who practices the keto diet is allowed to consume 56 grams of carb or about 3.5 exchanges of carbs. Thus, if the individual does not take any other source of carb, then he or she can have 3.5 apples a day (one apple consists of 15 grams carb).
1Twenty80: Can a vegetarian or vegan be on the keto diet?
Vegetarian or vegan individuals can be on the keto diet but it’s very difficult. This is because the basis of ketogenic diet is about a high consumption of fats. A person who is on a vegetarian diet
is not allowed to have any meat, therefore they have to replace it with soy-based food.
Quote: “To follow a ketogenic diet meal plan, about 80 percent of food consumed will be fats and less than 20 percent will be carbohydrates.”
1Twenty80: What’s the difference between low carb and keto?
A low carbohydrate diet is defined as the consumption of carbohydrate that is reduced to below 40 percent, which is less than a healthy diet carbohydrate intake of 50 to 55 percent. However, for the ketogenic diet, the carbohydrate intake is 10 to 15 percent only.
1Twenty80: Is keto safe during pregnancy?
For pregnant women, it is not advisable to practice this diet plan. Pregnant women need to ensure that adequate nutrition is consumed for herself as well as for the health of the baby.
1Twenty80: What would your advice be to our readers?
My advice is, diets for weight loss is basically about quantity and quality. Most of the time, people pay more attention on the quantity such as the reduction of fats, proteins and carbohydrates of their food intake while disregarding the quality of the food that they consume.
Successful weight loss must be nutritionally adequate that allow for caloric deficits (such as 500 kcal/day for each half a kg loss per week) that is tailored according to an individual’s nutritional status and lifestyle.
As a dietitian, for individuals who aim to go on a long-term weight management plan, it is important for them to control their total calorie intake which should be about 500 calories per day. If individuals can maintain their calorie intake as such, the results of weight loss are promising. In the long term, a person’s diet composition should be consistent, with a balanced diet plan which supports the individuals’ weight maintenance and this also lowers one’s risk of chronic diseases.
With a balanced calorie intake and a healthy diet, individuals can lose half a kilo within a week.