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Keto diet

What is a keto diet?

A keto diet is a diet that entails eating foods with high fat content and rich in proteins while drastically reducing the intake of carbohydrates. It accelerates the fat-burning process in the body.

With obesity rates on the rise in Kenya, the focus is fast shifting towards healthy meals and effective ways to cut down weight. Putting a stop to or significantly reducing intake of food has been linked with lower rates of obesity, diabetes among other lifestyle diseases. However, recent studies involving high-fat keto diet show that this is not always the case.

Research findings on keto diet

Recent studies show that reversing type 2 diabetes, achieving weight loss, and reducing obesity is evident through the adaption of the keto diet. The US National Center for Biotechnology Information conducted a keto diet study of 84 individuals with type 2 diabetes and obesity. The results showed the beneficial effects of the keto diet in comparison to other diets such as the low glycemic diet/low-calorie diet.

During the study, individuals were placed into two categories. The first category was put on keto diet, while the second one on low glycemic diet. Those who were placed on the keto diet received less than 20 grams of carbohydrates daily. The other group placed on the glycemic diet received a calorie diet of 500-kilo calories per day. Both groups received nutritional supplements and exercise recommendations.

About 49 individuals were able to complete the study in both groups combined. Individuals who consumed the keto diet were found to have greater improvements in body weight such as weight loss, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and hemoglobin in comparison to the group that received the low glycemic diet. For the group that received the keto diet, 95 percent of the individuals either reversed their diabetes or reduced medication. In the group that received the low glycemic diet, 67 percent of cases witnessed an improvement in their health.

What is the science behind?

The intake of a low amount of carbohydrates induces a metabolic state known as “Ketosis” whereby the body produces ketones. Ketones are made in the liver when an individual does not have enough insulin in the body to turn glucose into energy.

The ketones burn fats instead of carbohydrates so that the body receives its energy. Thus, the diet forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates. They are then fed to the bloodstream and used for fuel when they reach the muscles and other tissues This in turn leads to weight loss and alleviating diabetic symptoms.

What should you eat while on a ketogenic diet?

Those under this type of diet are encouraged to eat eggs, sausages, meat, fish, cheese, avocado, butter, oil, seeds, and vegetables like kale, cauliflower, and nuts. Also included are other oils like coconut oil.  They are also to observe a low daily intake of carbohydrates usually between 0 to 30 grams.

Why is keto diet recommended for Kenyans?

Women aged between 15-69 years have a high overweight and obesity prevalence as per Kenya’s Ministry of Health. When you are overweight/obese your bodyweight exceeds a recommended BMI value of 24.9.

Data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics show women aged 40-49 years are the most obese at 48 percent while those aged 15-19 years have a prevalence rate of 12.2 percent.

What are the benefits of a keto diet?

Improvement of blood sugar control can help in the reversal and management of type 2 diabetes. Doctors at Afyacode, in Kenya and around the world recommend this diet because of its health benefits, especially for weight loss. 

Apart from being beneficial in addressing obesity, it is also good in the treatment of leprosy in children. There is growing evidence that it reduces seizures in children and works just as medication for the condition does.

Why might the keto diet fail to work for you?

Following the diet has not been easy for many patients as much as it is instrumental in lowering obesity prevalence.

Sometimes patients will indulge in lots of unhealthy foods like lots of meat, processed and salty foods. Other patients also limit their recommended vegetable and healthy fats intake.

Why do you need a doctor’s supervision while on a ketogenic diet?

Individuals are encouraged to seek supervision from a doctor here at Afyacode to help them adapt to this revolutionary diet. This is because of its dietary limitations.

The presence of a doctor in the process is critical to help patients monitor, and advice on nutritional needs for different individuals.