‘Tis the season to diet?
Each year, losing weight, getting fit, and eating healthier top the list when it comes to New Year’s resolutions. The festivities of the previous month and a half have us itching to jump back on the nutrition and fitness bandwagon come January. Starting a new diet is a common trend, so this month I want to focus on a particular diet that has been gaining popularity: the ketogenic diet.
What is “keto”?
The ketogenic diet (KD), was first developed in 1921 as an intervention to treat drug-resistant epilepsy in children. It is a diet that consists of a very high amount of fat (consisting of 65-75% of your diet), very low amount of carbohydrate (>10% of your diet), and moderate amount of protein (15-20% of your diet). The goal of this distribution is to switch the body’s primary energy source from glucose (from carbs) to ketones (produced by fats). What does this diet look like in practice?
- Load up on keto diet staples like meats and fish, eggs, butter, cheese, heavy cream, oils, nuts and seeds, avocados, and low carb green vegetables.
- Cut out all your go-to carb sources like grains, rice, beans, potatoes, sweets, milk, cereals, and fruit
What are some benefits of going keto?
Most people who follow a KD will lose weight for several reasons. The KD requires you eliminate a major food group (carbs). When you do that, you limit your food options and most likely your overall food intake, leading to subsequent weight loss. This is a hallmark similar to a lot of diet plans. With the KD, this weight loss usually comes rapidly, as the transition from using glucose to ketones for fuel is also paired with a large loss of water weight.
Those who follow the KD do often report feeling less hungry. While we know fat and protein provide greater satiety, ketosis-induced weight loss may also suppress your hunger hormone, ghrelin, causing a decrease in hunger.
What are some drawbacks?
- While in the short-term, the KD appears to help with lowering the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics, there is evidence that in the long-term, an extremely low-carb diet can lead people to become less tolerant of glucose and develop diabetes.
- It is easy to fall short on getting key nutrients like magnesium, calcium, and potassium, and vitamin D, which can be plentiful on a less restrictive diet that includes foods like beans, fruits, oats, and dairy.
- When compared with other diets, short and long-term studies show that those on KD lost more lean body mass (muscle) as part of their overall weight loss.
- Side effects of the KD can include constipation, kidney stones, and high cholesterol due to the diet’s macronutrient distribution.
- Its restrictions can lead to disordered eating behaviors.
What to do if you are trying to lose weight?
A 2018 study sheds light on a practice all of us should take to heart: Regardless of the eating style you choose, make sure you focus on the quality of your food. The study found that people who focused on eating plenty of vegetables and whole foods and less on counting calories and limiting food groups, lost a significant amount of weight over the course of a year.
While the KD can be touted for emphasizing many whole foods, it does focus on limiting food groups and can be difficult to maintain over time. The best diet is one that can be maintained in the long-run, nurtures a positive relationship with food, and supports long-term health. Find the eating style that works best for you, and remember to focus on quality foods. Happy New Year!
This year at Guckenheimer, we’re celebrating produce year round by calling out Seasonal Stars! In January we’re shining a spotlight on Brussels sprouts. Read on for a veggie-full breakfast idea filled healthy fats and whole, quality ingredients.
Chickpea and Brussels Sprout Frittata
Makes 2 servings
4 large eggs
¼ cup 2% plain Greek yogurt
½ tsp curry powder
½ tsp Kosher salt
1 tsp black pepper, ground
15 oz chickpeas, cooked or canned (choose no-salt added variety if canned)
1 Tbsp olive oil
15 Brussels sprouts, sliced thin
1 Tbsp fresh sage, julienned
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- In a bowl, beat eggs, Greek yogurt, and curry powder. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in chickpeas.
- In a small, oven-safe skillet over medium heat, heat olive oil. Add Brussels sprouts and sage and cook, stirring, until Brussels sprouts are bright green and starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add egg mixture to skillet and stir.
- Transfer to oven and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until cooked through and lightly browned on top. (A cooked frittata will spring back when you press in the center.)
- Cool 10 minutes, then cut into 4 wedges (2 per serving).
Nutrition Facts per serving: 583 Cals, Fat 19g, Sat fat 4g, Sod 767mg, Carb 76g, Fib 22g, Sug 15g, Pro 37g