The ketogenic (or ‘keto’) diet is about restricting carbohydrates and increasing intake of dietary fat. When you follow a keto diet, you greatly reduce your intake of significant reduction of carbohydrates in your diet, such as pasta, rice, fruit, vegetables, and beans.

Without enough carbohydrates to fuel your body and brain, your body burns fat for fuel, breaking it down into ketones, which can be used for fuel. This alternative process for generating fuel is known as ketosis. When you are following a keto diet, only one-tenth of your daily kilojoule intake is from carbohydrates, keeping your body in ketosis.

A keto diet may be helpful for children with epilepsy that are having seizures even though they take antiepileptic medication. The potential benefit of a keto diet for cancer patients is currently being researched with unclear preliminary results. Following a keto diet has been found to worsen some leukemias but beneficial in some breast cancers in animal (non-human) studies.

There is a limited amount of research on the efficacy of keto diets. Keto diets can be effective for weight loss in the short term, but many people start, quit and restart as the diet is difficult to maintain. The best diet in the long term is one you follow day-in day-out.

Possible side effects, especially when beginning a keto diet, include fatigue, constipation, bad breath, headaches, dehydration and dizziness.

If you are planning to follow a keto diet, you should plan it together with your doctor and a dietician so you can meet your recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals. Whatever diet you choose for you and your family should be balanced and nutritious.

Further information

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