The Ketogenic Diet

A ketogenic diet is a diet in which most of the calories come from fats. The fats consumed may include cream, butter, vegetable oils and coconut oil.

A moderate amount of protein is also consumed to support body maintenance, but the diet is very low in starches and sugars (carbohydrates).

The term "ketogenic" refers to the fact that a high fat, very low carb diet creates a condition in the body known as "ketosis". 

Being in ketosis simply means that the body cells are burning fatty acids for fuel instead of the glucose that comes from carbohydrates. The products of this process of burning fats produces fragments of the fatty acids called "ketone bodies".

Here's a related factoid: although ketosis is viewed by doctors as somehow unsafe, it is well known that most people go into ketosis each night when they sleep, because they go without food for 7-9 hours, and the body burns stored fatty acids while in a fasted state.

The confusion may come from a misidentification of ketosis with diabetic ketoacidosis, a condition in which the normal rate of ketosis is hugely magnified due to a lack of insulin to control the process. The high level of ketones causes the blood to become too acidic, which causes multiple problems.

Atkins and Optimal Nutrition

The induction phase of the Atkins diet is the most famous version of a ketogenic regimen.  Carbohydrate intake is kept below 20 grams per day, and then causes the body to switch to burning its own stored fat for fuel instead.

A Polish physician named Jan Kwasniewski has used a ketogenic program which he calls Optimal Nutrition to successfully treat his patients who were suffering from diabetes, obesity, coronary heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and other health issues.

Health Effects

Ketogenic diet plans have very beneficial effects on blood lipids, on the symptoms of insulin resistance, and they are an essential tool for helping people with diabetes control their blood sugars.

In addition, there are a multitude of studies on using a ketogenic treat to treat certain cancers, autism, epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and Alzheimers.

If you are interested in learning more, please visit my website which gives more details on the use and effects of a ketogenic diet.

Done with Ketogenic Diet, back to Diet Plans

Well Being Journal, one of my favorite magazines, published an article I wrote about the health effects of Ketogenic Diets in their July/August 2012 issue:

Well Being Journal