Why the food industry needs to listen to science about the Ketogenic Diet

It’s great news that medical scientists and researchers are starting to realise the benefits of the high-fat, high protein Ketogenic Diet. This latest review recently published in the European Journal, Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets, supports the growing consensus that the Ketogenic Diet is not only good for our figures, but also good for our overall health including preventing diabetes, epilepsy and cancer.

Here’s the Abstract:

“Very-low-carbohydrate diets or ketogenic diets have been in use since the 1920s as a therapy for epilepsy and can, in some cases, completely remove the need for medication.

“From the 1960s onwards they have become widely known as one of the most common methods for obesity treatment. Recent work over the last decade or so has provided evidence of the therapeutic potential of ketogenic diets in many pathological conditions, such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, acne, neurological diseases, cancer and the amelioration of respiratory and cardiovascular disease risk factors.

“The possibility that modifying food intake can be useful for reducing or eliminating pharmaceutical methods of treatment, which are often lifelong with significant side effects, calls for serious investigation.

“This review revisits the meaning of physiological ketosis in the light of this evidence and considers possible mechanisms for the therapeutic actions of the ketogenic diet on different diseases. The present review also questions whether there are still some preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets, which may be presenting unnecessary barriers to their use as therapeutic tools in the physician’s hand.”

The aforementioned ‘preconceived ideas about ketogenic diets’ reflect the food industry’s slowness to act, because if we all switched over to Ketogenic Diet, it would put a lot of their members out of business very quickly.

A supermarket shopper on the Ketogenic Diet has no need to visit most of the aisles, stacked full as they are of processed foods high in carbs and sugar, no matter how much the packaging protests that they are ‘low in fat’. In fact, on the Ketogenic Diet, being ‘low in fat’ is not at all a good thing when the diet mainly consists of produce from the meat and fish department and the dairy shelves.

The diet works not by reducing fat, but by reducing carbs and sugar. To get a fuller explanation about the Ketogenic Diet, and which foods are recommended, the best source is Gary Taubes’ book Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It. But basically, once you understand that ‘glucose drives insulin drives fat’, you begin to understand why anything that causes glucose to be released into the bloodstream is ‘a bad thing’, and that includes all carbohydrates and sugars, even fruit sugar.

So basically, all you really to need to have in your kitchen cupboard and your fridge is plenty of meat and fish, all dairy products (apart from milk), nuts and some vegetables and fruits which are not high in starch in sugars. This also means you end up eating a lot of fresh food rather than the processed, packaged kind … and this is why the food producers are trying to ignore the Ketogenic Diet.

However, as more and more people have amazing results on this diet – both in terms of weight loss and improved health – the food producers will have to change their tack and finally admit that there are good fats and bad fats, and start rethinking their own lines and brands.

Let’s hope so anyway!

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