The ketogenic diet or “keto diet” is quite confusing to follow — even for those who have been on it for a long time can fall into the trap of common mistakes.
The keto regimen is often promoted as weight loss diet and the idea is to reduce the amount of carbohydrates with a moderate amount of protein, and a high amount of healthy fats per day.
Health Bank Co-founder and dietitian Robbie Clark said that the ketogenic diet “encourages the body to burn fat for energy instead of glucose”.
Government service Health Direct says that the keto diet breaks down the fat into “ketone bodies” or “ketones” in a process called ketosis.
The usual carbohydrate intake for those following a keto diet stems around eating 20g to 50g per day, which is the same as eating two slices of bread and a banana.
Carbs cover about one-tenth of a person’s daily kilojoule intake in a keto diet, which is the process of keeping the body at a constant state of ketosis.
There are different types of fats and carbs in the world and it’s easy to find yourself lost.
Here are the more common mistakes people make on a keto diet.
DON’T REDUCE CARBS COLD TURKEY
Robbie Clark says one of the most common mistakes he finds in terms of clinical practice is that people are reducing their carbohydrate intake “cold turkey.”
“They’ve gone from a diet that is probably consumed moderate or high amounts of carbs to an extremely low amount, and this is a drastic change for the body. This is when they’re at risk of the keto flu,” Mr Clark said.
The keto flu is the body adapting to the whole process in a large depletion in glucose, Mr Clark said.
“And the symptoms can include nausea, headaches, fatigue, insomnia, constipation and reduced exercise tolerance.”
It’s recommended by Mr Clark to taper down carb intake instead of reducing the level at an extreme rate.
DRINK ENOUGH WATER
An important thing to do on a keto diet is to keep drinking enough water. The drastic decrease in carbs can cause shifts in fluids and electrolyte balance.
“The body is washed-out of a lot of fluid especially when losing fat mass as well. The body flushes out the ketones in the urine which also depletes not just water but sodium, an important electrolyte, from the body.” Mr Clark said.
This is something that needs to be replaced according the Mr Clark.
EAT ENOUGH VEGETABLES – THE RIGHT VEGETABLES
Vegetable have carbohydrates and for a lot of people, this means watching how much is actually consumed.
If you’re not careful of the types of carbs on the keto diet, the affect is that people won’t stay in that ketosis state.
“On the other hand, the ketogenic diet is a ‘low carbohydrate diet’ and not a ‘no carbohydrate diet’,” Mr Clark said.
“In order to meet all of our individual nutrient requirements, particularly with vitamins, minerals and fibre, the vegetable play a pivotal role in meeting these requirements.
“The goal is to educate yourself or get an education from a health professional, like myself, who can guide you for the best types of lower carbohydrate based vegetables so you’re not at risk of malnutrition.”
CHECK WITH YOUR HEALTH PROFESSIONAL
It’s important to check with a local doctor or a dietitian when thinking about undergoing the keto diet for the first time.
There’s a protocol that determines whether a person is suitable for the keto diet, particularly for healthy people to follow.
Mr Clark says that there are population groups who should avoid the keto diet.
People who are pregnant and breastfeeding should not undergo the keto diet because the risk follows in becoming insufficient in nutrients – not only for yourself but for the infant.
It follows a risk of the production of the milk as well.
Understanding the ketogenic diet is the most important thing to do in accordance with a health professional in using it the right way.