Guy Sebastian had eight weeks to get into shape for his Mens Health Australia cover. Picture: Jason Ierace
The ketogenic diet has gained popularity in recent years, with some claiming this way of eating can have incredible benefits to long-term health.
Former Australian Idol winner Guy Sebastian says its the diet that helped him get shredded in eight weeks for his Mens Health Australia cover.
But what is a ketogenic diet, and does the evidence truly stack up to back up the claims? This is what you need to know, according to accredited practising dietitian Chloe McLeod.
Guy Sebastian and his wife Jules. Picture: Jason IeraceSource:Supplied
What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet very low in carbohydrates and very high in fat. The reduction in the consumption of carbohydrates places the body in a state of ketosis, which is a metabolic state where fat provides most of the fuel the body requires to function.
What constitutes a diet thats low-carb and high-fat?
A standard ketogenic diet is usually comprised of approximately 20 per cent protein, 75 per cent fat, and 5 per cent carbohydrates, where approximately 10-50g of carbohydrates are consumed each day. When compared to a general healthy diet, the distribution is far more even, with approximately 20-30 per cent protein, 20-30 per cent fat and 30-40 per cent carbohydrates.
Who should do it?
Ketogenic diets are reportedly useful for weight management. When reducing carbohydrates, it is normal to see the number on the scales go down, due to the body losing water as a result of carbohydrate stores being used up. Fat and protein are also very satiating, meaning that it is possible you will feel fuller. This means potentially fewer calories are consumed, so weight loss is as a result of reduced calorie consumption, rather than the low-carb diet. That said there is some research which indicates that low carbohydrate diets can assist with weight loss, particularly in severely obese individuals.
Picture: Jason IeraceSource:Supplied
Some of the claims of the efficacy of a ketogenic diet are overstated, particularly in relation to weight loss, increased lean mass and increased longevity. More high quality research is needed to support these claims.
Also, following this diet can be really difficult, particularly in the long-term. Fruit, grains, beans and legumes, starchy vegetables, most dairy, along with most processed foods need to be removed from the diet. This usually means that day to day eating needs to be highly structured and planned, and eating out and social arrangements can become much more difficult.
This lifestyle also means significantly less fibre and prebiotic foods going into the diet, which can have a negative impact on many aspects of health particularly in gut health. New research has shown a high-fat diet can change the balance of healthy bacteria in the gut, with potentially wide ranging effects on health, not to mention, an increased risk of constipation.
How to do it safely (if at all)
If someone needs to follow, or wants to try out a ketogenic diet, it is recommended to work with a dietitian who is skilled in this area to help ensure all nutrition needs are covered. Its also a good idea to have a chat with your GP, and get some blood tests done first to check key vitals before commencing.
Low carbohydrate, ketogenic diets may have some positive health benefits, but it is important to not view it as a cure-all as for most of us, it wont be.
This article originally appeared on Body and Soul.
You don't need to go to the gym every day or go on a strict diet to lose weight. Here are some top weight loss tips from 'The Diet Doctor' Moodi Dennaoui and PT and former Survivor contestant Tegan Haining.
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This is the diet Guy Sebastian did to look ripped on the cover of Men's Health - NEWS.com.au
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