Dr Tamara Hunter on the Ketogenic “Keto” Diet

Tamara HunterChannel 9

A new diet is trending with those who want to lose weight and it’s called the Keto diet – it is in high fat and low in carbohydrates. But is it worth your effort and will it work?

According to Dr Hunter, “A Keto diet or Ketogenic diet is a diet that is high in fats and is low in carbohydrates and often has a moderate amount of protein. Normally, carbohydrates are what provide us with energy. Carbohydrates are broken down into Glucose and provide us with energy. In a low carbohydrate environment, we tend to process fat and we produce ketone bodies, hence the Keto diet, and the reason it has come about in weight loss circles is that is turning us into a fat burning machine. But not just that, it is thought to modulate those hormones that are associated with appetite and feeling of hunger so that in fact people are stopping eating sooner and being associated between meals.”

However, it is known that Doctors have been using the Keto diet method for years as part of treatments for various problems before it became used for weight loss. According to Dr Hunter, “Ketogenic diets have been used for a few decades now and we know that Ketones cross the blood-brain barrier and we know that refractory epilepsy, for example, has been treated with a ketogenic diet with good effect. There are other neurological diseases that we are seeing ketogenic diets being used more and more in, in fact, metabolic diseases as well. However, keeping in mind that this is in a well-controlled medical environment with very rigid monitoring and assistance by accredited dietitians as well.”

Some feel that the high-fat aspect of the keto diet could be unsafe. According to Dr Hunter “For a long time high-fat diets have been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain and cancer but we are starting to learn particularly with high fat leading to high calories, we are starting to learn that perhaps in fact obesity, due to high calories, is due to the processed sugars that we are consuming in our diet. The relationship between high fat and cancer is a little more dubious. Certainly, colorectal cancer or a family history of, I probably wouldn’t adopt a Ketogenic diet. As far as the relationship between a high-fat diet and say high blood cholesterol, new research is suggesting that if you eat the right kinds of fat, predominately polyunsaturated fats, you could actually improve your good cholesterol and reduce the triglycerides or bad fats in your diet.”