Ketogenics: The diets that will help you lose weight

A nicoise salad with eggs and salmon fits in well with a ketogenic diet. Photo / Getty

A keto diet promotes a meal plan along the lines of salmon and eggs for breakfast and steak and avocado for dinner. Photo / Getty

by Susie Burrell

If you have any interest in the world of diet and nutrition, chances are you would have seen reference to a “keto”, or low carb, high fat (LCHF) approach to diets and weight loss.

Used clinically for many years, specifically in the area of epilepsy where it is used to help reduce seizures, ketogenic diets are also known for their relatively quick weight loss outcomes. Not a new area of nutrition but one that has become increasingly popular in recent years, the question is, “is a ketogenic diet the right diet for you?”


Ketogenic diets refer to diets that are particularly low in carbohydrates (ranging from 5-20 per cent, or 20-50g of total carbohydrates and high in fats (up to 75 per cent in total fat). This is as opposed to standard “diets” which contain 30-50 per cent carbohydrates and just 30 per cent fat or less

Diets that are much lower in carbohydrate than the muscles and the brain typically need to function shift the body into a state known as “ketosis” in which fat stores in the body are broken down into ketones which fuel the muscles and the brain in place of the carbohydrates when they are in limited supply. The result is enhanced fat burning and relatively quick weight loss as compared to a traditional dietary approaches.

There is no evidence to show that keto diets are damaging to the body. In fact, 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.

The primary issue with keto diets is that the total amount of carbohydrate consumed needs to be kept very low, or the body will quickly come out of ketosis. For example, a low carb diet for most of the day followed by an extra snack of chocolate or piece of banana bread will quickly negate any of the potential benefits of ketosis as the total amount of carbohydrate rises above the upper limits of 50g or so for the average adult.

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