Q: Is the ketogenic diet helpful for brain health, remembering, clear thinking, etc?
A: Thank you as always for questions. I love hearing what nutrition topics are concerning everyone. With so much in the media, it is very hard to know what “real” people are focusing on.
The ketogenic diet is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet. Our body actually wants some level of carbohydrates for energy. Some organs, such as the brain, actually greatly prefer carbs to fats. If there are not enough carbohydrates, the body will burn fat and produce something called ketones. The brain can then use these ketones as a source for energy.
The ketogenic diet has been part of the treatment for epilepsy for many years. There are proven benefits for people whose epilepsy is not controlled well with medication alone. However, the diet needs to be closely monitored by a dietitian to ensure overall nutrient adequacy.
The ketogenic diet most people using it under generally “healthy” circumstances is really just another low carb diet like Atkins or South Beach. There are no proven benefits for weight loss or mental health or clarity. Many people do succeed with weight loss, but as with most diets, it is not sustainable when they go back to their traditional eating pattern.
Sorry this won’t give you the memory recall you hoped! Thanks again for the question.
Don’t forget you can always ask questions in the comments here or email me at kimberlykmarshgmail.com!