In recent years, the ketogenic diet has become increasingly popular. Even Google searches have shown it! In 2017, there was a 300% increase in searches related to this subject. However, it is not unanimous. On the one hand, there are people who say that the ketogenic diet is an important discovery for nutrition and health. On the other hand, some believe that it is rather a great danger to our health. For me, it made me want to join the bandwagon and share my own experience with you.
What is the ketogenic diet?
To put it simply, this diet favors lipids (sources of fat) to the detriment of carbohydrates. Lipids are therefore used by the body as an energy source. It is important to emphasize that the amount of protein to consume should not change.
The portion changes are then made only to that pertaining to carbohydrates and fats. Instead of consuming 10 to 15% lipids and 70 to 75% carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet requires consuming 10 to 15% carbohydrates and 70 to 75% lipids.
Despite the fact that it did not have this name before, the ketogenic diet is not new. This type of diet dates back to the 1920s. At that time, the ketogenic diet was used to treat children with epilepsy. This is still the case today in children who do not respond to medication.
Why reduce carbohydrates?
Quickly stated, carbohydrates include breads, potatoes, pasta, starchy foods, sweet foods, sweet fruits, etc. Lipids are more like oils, nuts, avocados, oily fish and more. You will then be able to observe that by reducing carbohydrates to make more room for lipids, the body will have to adapt and find its energy elsewhere than that from sugars. The choices will be reduced and the body will burn fat as an energy source.
A small interesting fact, during the process of transformation of lipids into energy, new molecules will be created and will be called ketones. These will then be the fuel for cells (mainly the brain).
Adaptation of the body
By changing the way we eat, the body has to adapt and this can take a few days. Here are some symptoms that you may experience during this adjustment: Fatigue; headache; lack of concentration. Once this adaptation period is over, this dietary approach would allow an increase in energy, mental alertness and resistance.
Are there any risks?
Those who are against this diet say that there are risks of nutritional deficiencies especially in terms of carbohydrates. I cannot tell you what deficiency we could experience by following this diet, but I can tell you that a low-fat diet leads to deficiencies. Mainly at the level of omega-3 and vitamins A, D, E and K. These also advocate the idea that there are major risks in terms of increased cardiovascular risks. One can indeed read studies which mention that the level of bad cholesterol tends to increase during the first weeks of this diet. It is strongly recommended that you have medical follow-up to make sure everything is going well for you.
On the other hand, those who practice this dietary approach do so to reduce several nervous disorders, being overweight, obesity, type 2 diabetes, etc. It even seems that this diet is used to help treat several cancers.
My personal experience
Since I found this subject interesting, I decided in February 2018 to practice a study on myself. I therefore offer you a series of articles in which I will present my personal experience. It will not be a scientific study! You will however, have access to my blood results, my feelings, my weight variations, etc.
I would also like to mention that I researched everything before I started this adventure. I first consulted the leader of the ketogenic movement in Quebec, Dr. Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy of the Reversa clinic (http://www.cliniquereversa.com). Take a moment to educate yourself before you start this diet in order to do it properly and for your body to adapt well!
Do not miss my next articles to follow the evolution of my personal experience.
Jean-Yves Dionne, Pharmacist
Diet Doctor, Website of Dr Andreas Eenfeld, https://www.dietdoctor.com/low-carb#advice
Website of La clinique Reversa, Dr Èvelyne Bourdua-Roy, http://www.cliniquereversa.com/home/ressources/lalimentation-lchf-cetogene/
- Urbain P, Strom L, Morawski L, Wehrle A, Deibert P, Bertz H. Impact of a 6-week non-energy-restricted ketogenic diet on physical fitness, body composition and biochemical parameters in healthy adults. Nutr Metab (Lond). 2017 Feb 20;14:17. doi: 10.1186/s12986-017-0175-5. eCollection 2017. PubMed PMID: 28239404; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5319032. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5319032/
- Paoli A, Rubini A, Volek JS, Grimaldi KA. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. Eur J Clin Nutr. 2013 Aug;67(8):789-96. doi: 10.1038/ejcn.2013.116Review. PubMed PMID: 23801097; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3826507. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/
- Bostock EC, Kirkby KC, Taylor BV. The Current Status of the Ketogenic Diet in Psychiatry. Front Psychiatry. 2017 Mar 20;8:43. doi: 10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00043. Collection 2017. Review. PubMed PMID: 28373848; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5357645. http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00043/full
- Woolf EC, Scheck AC. The ketogenic diet for the treatment of malignant glioma. J Lipid Res. 2015 Jan;56(1):5-10. doi: 10.1194/jlr.R046797. Review. PubMed PMID: 24503133; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4274070. http://www.jlr.org/content/56/1/5.long
- Intérêts thérapeutiques d’un régime alimentaire cétogène, 4 avril 2016 http://www.cancer-et-metabolisme.fr/interets-therapeutiques-dun-regime-alimentaire-cetogene/#wysija
- Chung HY, Park YK. Rationale, Feasibility and Acceptability of Ketogenic Diet for Cancer Treatment. J Cancer Prev. 2017 Sep;22(3):127-134. doi:10.15430/JCP.2017.22.3.127. Epub 2017 Sep 30. Review. PubMed PMID: 29018777; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5624453. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5624453/