The ketogenic “keto” diet has become incredibly popular in recent years as it focuses on eating plenty and not restricting meals in the same way as other meal plans tend to do.
The diet does involve limiting carbs to 50 grams or less, which puts the body into a state of ketosis, when the body turn to ‘ketones’ to create energy.
Talking about the plan, Carol Johnston, professor and associate director of the nutrition program in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, revealed how it works and whether she thinks it is a sensible diet to follow.
The science behind the keto diet claims followers must consume a high fat, low carb diet, similar to the Atkins Diet.
Discussing whether she thinks this is sensible, Prof. Johnston said: “There is mounting evidence that suggests calorie restricted, low-carbohydrate, high-protein diets are effective for weight loss, and the keto diet is an extreme version of this.
“Low-carb diets can be more satiating, allowing dieters to feel full longer, eat less, and thus experience greater weight loss success.”
Speaking to medicalxpress.com, she continued: “Overwhelmingly, the most important factor in weight loss success is diet adherence. In research trials, most individuals who lose weight regain most of it within a year, regardless of which diet they were on.”
Explaining the science behind the diet, Prof. Johnston said: “When carb intake is restricted for a few days, glycogen stores in the muscle are reduced. Glycogen is responsible for water retention, so when its levels fall, so do our water levels.”
However, she point out, “since most of this weight lost is water weight, it will return when the person consumes carbs again.”
But despite her assertion that the keto diet mostly encourages water weight to begin with, Prof. Johnston did admit restricting carbs is a good idea for weight management.
She said: “When we eat more carbs than we need, they convert to body fat, which contributes to obesity.
“In general, average Americans — those with a relatively sedentary lifestyle — consume more carbs and calories than they actually need.”
Another expert who has spoken positively about the keto diet is Susie Burrell, a dietician and nutritionist with two Honours degrees in Nutrition & Dietetics and Psychology.
She has told dieters that there are many benefits to the keto diet plan.
She wrote for news.com of the keto diet: “With their superior weight loss and associated reductions in inflammation in the body, there are a number of benefits, particularly for individuals with high blood glucose levels, fatty liver and significant amounts of weight to lose.”
She also said: “There is no evidence to show that keto diets are damaging to the body.”