Today we are going to talk a little bit about the principle difference between a low carb and a Ketogenic diet.
As you probably know, a low carb diet is a diet where you are relying less on carbs for your energy and more on fats and proteins. Typically, on a low carb diet you are still primarily relying on burning glucose (or sugar) for fuel. The easiest way to transition to a low carb diet is to cut all breads, pastas, baked goods, foods and drinks with added sugars, most grains and beans from your diet. Instead, you would be eating lots of vegetables (ideally), healthy fats and moderate amounts of healthy proteins. You can also use some of the innovative low carb products on the site to fill the gaps - it like Kelp Noodles, Shiratake Noodles (Zeroodle Premium Fettuccine) and even the Zeroodle Bean Noodles make the cut allowing you to enjoy noodles without the carbohydrate and glycemic load of traditional pastas.
The Ketogenic Diet is gaining popularity and yet is still very misunderstood - many people hear the word ketosis and instantly think of KetoAcidosis a dangerous condition that can occur in uncontrolled Type 1 Diabetes, certain alcoholic states and in starvation - the Ketogenic Diet, on the other hand, is quite safe although with Type 1 Diabetics does require a bit more monitoring of insulin and glucose levels.
Ina nutshell, the Ketogenic Diet is also low carb but much lower carb....typically people would get 5-10% of their calories from carbohydrates often less than 50 grams a day. They would consume about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per Kg of bodyweight adding up to anywhere from 10%-20% of their calories from protein with the balance of energy coming from healthy fats (anywhere from 50%-80% of total caloric intake). Put another way, in a classic Ketogenic Diet you would be consuming a ratio of 4:1 (or 3:1) of fat to carbs and protein. In this scenario, once your body has adapted to this new regimen your liver starts to produce ketone bodies which your body (brain, heart, muscle etc) all can use for energy.
The beauty of ketones is that they are a very dean burning fuel, they do not require insulin to enter the cell and they bring a host of benefits including - reducing inflammation, increasing endogenous antioxidant production, improving mental clarity, increasing blood flow to the brain, improving the body's utilization of oxygen and they have even been shown to be helpful in fighting certain types of cancer and are being researched in treating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimers. The Ketogenic Diet can also be incredibly effective for people and children suffering from drug resistant seizures. Finally, many endurance athletes are also moving towards a Ketogenic Diet as the body has enough stores of fat that it can access for fuel freeing the athlete from the constant need of consuming gels, sugar drinks and whatnot during their events.
So, many benefits to be had here. The only trouble with the Ketogenic Diet is that for most people this is a tough diet to follow and not everyone is able to tolerate as much fat as is required to be consumed to make up the shortfall in energy from the loss of carbs.
So to close for this week - the Ketogenic Diet is essentially a more extreme version of the Low Carb Diet where your body would have access to ketones as a source of energy instead of glucose. The main downfall of the Ketogenic Diet is that it is quite restrictive and may not be suitable for everyone.