Most patients want fast weight changes, so Dietitians get this question over and over again. Can I try? I heard it works! Can you place me on it? Is it safe? While the traditional diet give allowance for 50-60% carbs, 20-25% protein and 15-30% fat, it’s almost a complete reversal in ketogenic diet. The diet allows only 10% carbs, 30-35% protein and 55-60% Fat. Because ketogenic diet is very restrictive on carbs, it includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Ketogenic diet was first developed for children with epilepsy who are resistant to drugs and there are strong research findings showing that it reduces the frequency of seizures.


How does it work for weight-loss?

A ketogenic diet does not only reverse your normal plate, it also reverses your normal body metabolism by switching the energy use from glucose to fat. Your body cells prefers to use glucose as energy but in few days of going on ketogenic diet, glucose will no longer be available for energy use making the body switch to fat stores, break it down to molecules known as ketones and using it as fuel, a process known as ketosis. This result in rapid weight-loss, but this may not be sustainable as individuals on the diet find it hard to go on it long term. They end up adding up all the weight lost shortly after returning to normal carb diet.


Is it safe?

Dietitians are generally skeptical about placing patients on ketogenic diet because of some controversies in some research findings on effect on blood pressure and blood cholesterol. While some studies show improvement in lipid profiles of people on ketogenic diet, others show elevated low density lipoprotein, a type of fat that is associated with atherosclerosis and cardiovascular diseases. Also, individuals on ketogenic diet may experience some side effects especially at the beginning phase which include nausea, vomiting, headache, dizziness, fatigue, constipation and some blood pressure changes. A more practical and carefully planned individualized diet may be better for sustainable weightloss.


Who should not try Ketogenic diet?

The following individuals should stay away from ketogenic diet:

– Patients with chronic kidney diseases

– Pregnant women

– Breastfeeding mothers

– Adolescents



Ketogenic diet like every other low carb diet result in rapid weight-loss but this may not be sustainable as the diet is difficult to follow. Should you decide to go on ketogenic diet, ensure strict monitoring of your blood cholesterol and blood pressure, replace saturated fat with unsaturated fat and take some vitamin supplements to avoid micronutrient deficiencies.

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Why is it so Hard to Lose Weight? by Osunsanya Olajumoke RDN, MPH