Ketogenic diet


Ketogenic diet, or “Keto diet” as it is popularly called, was originally designed for epileptic patients.  Children who had seizures responded to this diet by experiencing a decrease in the number of seizures that they had.

The ketogenic diet has seen a revival in the recent past as a weight management tool.  Carbohydrates are ordinarily the primary source of fuel for the body, particularly for the brain, which uses glucose exclusively as an energy source, when it is available.  Low carbohydrates force the body to switch to an alternate energy/ fuel source.

The ketogenic diet recommends eating high amounts of fat and moderate amounts of protein with little or no carbohydrates.  The body, in an attempt to conserve lean muscle mass, switches to using the products of fat metabolism, namely ketones, as fuel.

Ketones are capable of crossing the blood brain barrier and therefore can act as an alternative energy source for the brain.  In this process, the body adapts to using fat from both within the body and in the diet as its primary energy source.

Four in ten adults in the United States attempt to lose weight in their lifetime.  With over 2/3 of the population that is either overweight or obese, people are in constant search of the next thing that works.  Keto diets have become popular among college students, especially to lose the “Freshman 15.”

The Prompt: What You Need to Do

Research and understand the scientific reasons behind WHAT the ketogenic diet is and WHY it works (you can also search for “low carbohydrate diets”) and how it is different from current dietary guidelines.  Be sure to review the current dietary guidelines (Unit 1.3) so that you can address this appropriately.  Understand the science behind the rapid weight loss of the keto diet, the limitations of the keto diet, attrition rates (inability to stick to the diet plan for an extended period of time) and its potential negative effects on health.

Use scientific journal articles to understand and come to your own conclusions regarding the merits and/ or weaknesses of the keto diet, as compared with a more conventional method of weight loss which would include restricting caloric intake and might include increasing physical activity.  How to find resources for discussion walks you through the process of finding peer reviewed articles for research.  Please do not do google search.  In your discussion, cite your sources.

Details and Requirements: How to Get the Full Grade for This Discussion

Discussion Statement:  The ketogenic diet is an excellent idea for an easy weight loss diet among college students (age group 18-30) with no apparent harmful side effects.

Pick a side and argue FOR or AGAINST this statement.  (You must choose a ‘side,’ even if you are personally ‘neutral’ on the subject.)  Your arguments should be scientifically based with appropriate citations.  In making your case take into account the following:

1.  List at least three (3) reasons why low carbohydrate diets work as a weight management or weight loss tool, as compared to a conventional diet of caloric restriction and/ or increase in physical activity;

2.  The similarity, if any, between fasting (or starvation) and the keto diet;

3.  Reason(s) for the high attrition rate for this type of diet (specifically, high attrition rates for the keto diet);

4.  What is the likelihood that weight loss due to a low carb diet will be permanent?  How does that likelihood compare with a more conventional plan of caloric restriction and/ or increase in physical activity?  What happens when the student goes back to regular eating and activity habits?

5.  How can a student use a low carb diet as a lifestyle modification?  What are the potential downsides to the health of an individual who is on a long term low carbohydrate, high fat diet (6-12 months)?

(Your first post should be about 500 words excluding references.)

  • Find one or more peer-reviewed publications from scientific journals to support your viewpoint.
  • Cite the scientific sources that support your argument.  (This does not mean you do a google search.  Journal articles are considered as the ‘gold standard’ of scientific research. Find journal articles that support your point of view).  Look at How to find resources for a discussion for an example on how to find credible sources.
  • Use APA format ( (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.) to cite your sources within your text and to list your references at the end of your first post.
  • Respond to one or more of your classmates with an opposing point of view to further the discussion.

See the rubric for more detailed grading criteria (discussion rubric is in the resources module. It is the first module that appears when you click the ‘modules’ tab).

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