Students looking to trim fat from their stomachs may consider trimming the carbohydrates from their diets with the ketogenic diet.
Removing carbohydrates from one’s diet can induce a metabolic state known as ketosis, which shifts the primary fuel source of the body from carbs to fats, according to www.healthline.com.
There are many misconceptions about the ketogenic diet, said Stacie Ellis, registered dietitian at the department of Campus Recreation. Many people confuse high protein diets, such as Whole30 and Atkins, with the ketogenic diet, she said.
“With a ketogenic diet, you are primarily eating a lot of fat,” Ellis said. “That would look like eating avocados, nuts, cream, oils, things like that.”
Ellis said she would be cautious in feeling excitement in the initial weight loss that occurs when eliminating carbohydrates from the body. As carbs are processed out of the muscles and liver, the majority of the weight lost will be in the form of water weight, Ellis said. While this can be an effective way to shed pounds long-term, much of the progress can be erased simply by ingesting carbohydrates, Ellis said.
“Your body really likes using carbohydrates as its primary fuel source, so as soon as there are carbs that enter into the bloodstream it’s going to use that first,” Ellis said.
While cutting out carbs may be a challenge for some students, finance junior Joseph Sonnier hasn’t noticed the difference, he said. Sonnier had previously been enjoying a diet composed of primarily fat and protein, so making an effort to maintain the ketogenic diet was easy, he said. Even with the restrictions of the ketogenic diet, he has dined at burger chains and fast-food restaurants, albeit with modified orders, Sonnier said.
“I’m not spending a lot more money on groceries, and I was already cooking a lot of meat and stuff on my own,” he said. “Cutting out the carbs, I didn’t find it to be that difficult.”
While weight loss can be achieved with a ketogenic diet that is less restrictive, Ellis said she urges caution on the regular ingestion of saturated fat. She said she would be mindful of how much saturated fats are consumed, as the lipid profile provided by dieticians with blood testing only shows the cholesterol floating in the blood, as opposed to the build up on the artery walls.
Students can lose weight by eating these meat and dairy products that are unhealthy, but that doesn’t mean your arteries are healthy, Ellis said. She has sparingly recommended the ketogenic diet to students in the past, she said. But long-term use of the metabolic state of ketosis has been known to cause inflammation and a rise of acidity of the muscles because of a buildup of lactic acid, Ellis said.
“I have actually talked to people about the ketogenic diet, but I tell them straight up, if they were to do this they have to eat the healthy fats and they have to understand the mechanism behind it,” Ellis said.
Exercise science senior Joseph Slaughter said he thinks the ketogenic diet would be ideal for a person trying to lose weight quickly. However, Slaughter advises against taking up such a diet before assessing whether it will meet the nutrition needs of their fitness goal.
“Me personally, I wouldn’t, because I’ve been trying to gain muscle mass,” Slaughter said. “So, I have been more into lifting heavy and doing bodybuilding-type diets and exercises.”