Ketogenic Diet As a Weight Reducing Option

Dr. Asantha De Alwis

MBBS (Sri Lanka) MSc. Human Nutrition (Colombo)

It has gained popularity as a short term solution to initiate weight loss for the adults.

It initiates weight loss

Although the Ketogenic diet was discovered to reduce seizure frequency in resistant epileptic patients and a supplementary treatment for various neurogenic diseases, now it has gained popularity as a short term solution to initiate weight loss for the obese adults. Ketogenic diet is essentially a diet containing high amount of fats, reduced carbohydrates and no sugar. It gives rise to high amounts of ketone bodies in the blood contrary to our normal diet which produces high amounts of glucose.

Growing population of obese patients

When considering the normal Sri Lankan diet the amount of carbohydrates consumed would account to about 65-75% of the daily intake while in a normal diet the requirement caps off at about 55-60%, this shows an alarming gap between the consumption and requirement. Also our daily fat contributes to 20-30% of the daily intake while the normal dietary requirement would be 30-35%. The other main source of energy being protein contributes to 5-10% while the requirement in a balanced diet would be at least 10-15%. There is a clear cut gap between what is consumed and what is considered as a norm for a healthy balanced diet. Therefore it’s not abnormal to find a growing population of obese patients with metabolic conditions.

Ketogenic diet accounts to a completely different diet plan

Ketogenic diet accounts to a completely different diet plan where the contribution of carbohydrates would be as low as 5-10%, the fat must contribute to 75-85% of daily calories and the protein should only be between 10-20%. This is accompanied by the intake of lower than normal requirement of calories and adding more vegetables to give a filling meal.Another essential feature is that the total calorie in diet should amount to only 75% of the daily energy requirement.

Many beneficial aspects

This proves beneficial in many aspects such as reduction of oxidative stress in our neurons hence proving its purpose of being used in treatment of neurological conditions, weight loss in turn reducing the risk of metabolic syndrome, increased levels of high density lipoproteins or HDL which are useful in reducing the risk of heart diseases and also reducing the demand for insulin hence aids in management of diabetes.

Things to be concerned of

Despite above benefits, for who are less than 18 years old unless you are being treated for a neurogenic disease, its best advised not to follow this diet, if you are above 60 years of age, pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, with history of diabetes/heart diseases/ kidney related diseases or liver pathologies, athletes and also if you are unable to access medical advice whenever necessary

Practicality of this diet in a country like Sri Lanka

Another issue is the practicality of this diet in a country like Sri Lanka. To consume a significantly high amount of fats on a daily basis is not something that we are familiar with and also these high fat foods may not come with a small price tag. Also these foods options may not be frequently available in our markets and the diet requires time and effort to prepare and a lot of self control to persist with it. It is also mandatory to have good knowledge about the do and don’ts along with the awareness of the numerous side effects.

Seek guidance of a Medical Nutritionist

Those who follow this diet may experience various side effects starting from vomiting, bloating, headaches, tiredness and dehydration and if you do not strictly adhere to the diet plan, you might end up gaining weight worsening your metabolic profile. Therefore, if you decide to follow this diet, make sure that you are closely supervised by a doctor specialized in nutrition.

Ketogenic diet accounts to a completely different diet plan

Practicality of this diet in a country like Sri Lanka

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