The Keto Diet

June 04,2019

By Emily Pankow Fritz, Ph.D.ACSM EP-C

Weighing In On The Keto Diet

You probably hadn’t heard of the ketogenic/keto diet until a couple years ago, but now the trend is everywhere. In fact, in 2018 new product launches positioned with the term “keto” or “ketogenic” showed a year over year increase of  595 percent. That is a total of 292 products launched globally in 2018 positioned for the keto diet, according to Innova Market Insights.*

So What Really Is The Keto Diet?

In essence, the keto diet is very low in carbohydrates, moderate in protein and high in fat. Calorie intake should be approximately 5% carbs, 20% protein and 75% fats. Generally, carbs are restricted to around 20 grams or 50 grams a day.1-2 That means hello meat and cheese; goodbye pasta and bread. 

When a ketogenic diet is followed as recommended, your body will enter a state of ketosis after a few days. When carbohydrates are dramatically restricted, your body does not have enough glucose for tissues of the body including your muscles and brain to use as energy.  Your brain and muscles use glucose from carbohydrates as their main energy source, so to meet the demand for fuel your liver creates an alternative energy source called ketone bodies through a process called ketogenesis.1 Your body starts ketogenesis after 2-3 days of very low carbohydrate intake. Research suggests that when you a follow a ketogenic diet closely, it can result in significant weight loss.

There are a few different theories on how ketogenic diets can result in weight loss. Ketosis is thought to increase satiety, increase fat metabolism, and might increase energy expenditure.1 Ketosis increases satiety by enhancing the release of cholecystokinin (CCK) and other research suggests that ketone bodies themselves have appetite suppressing benefits.1,3 This is supported by research that shows both reduction in hunger and lower food intake in obese and overweight men on a ketogenic diet compared to those on a high protein non-ketogenic diet.4

Additionally, keto diets can change your metabolism. Glucose provides our body with the most efficient fuel source, like high octane gasoline. When on a keto diet, your body creates ketone bodies and converts stored fat to glucose to use as fuel, which is less efficient; like using gasoline that has ethanol in it. When you use high octane gasoline, you get more miles to each gallon compared to a fuel that has ethanol in it. Now think of this in terms of your body but replace gasoline for calories that come from fat, carbohydrates and protein. If carbs are high octane, then fat and protein are ethanol and if all you are eating is fat and protein in a ketogenic diet you need to burn more calories to keep your engine running.3 Combined with decrease food intake, this increased calorie burn is another reason keto diets can result in weight loss. In addition to weight loss, research also shows that keto diets may reduce blood sugar and blood pressure.5-10

Keto Criticism

As with any new diet trend there are plenty of skeptics surrounding this regime. Jillian Michaels, the famous trainer seen on NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” being one of the biggest critics. She claims that ditching any of the macronutrients (carbs, fat, and protein) threatens the body’s overall health.6 For all of the research touting the benefits of a ketogenic diet, other studies suggest there is no clear advantage of a ketogenic diet in comparison to a balanced macronutrient low-calorie diet, especially over the long-term. Additionally, there is also concern that such a high intake of saturated fat might result in increased cardiovascular risk from levels of LDL cholesterol and reduced intake of vitamin and mineral rich fruits and vegetables.11,12 You should consult with your doctor before trying the keto diet. 

The Keto Boom

Regardless of any controversy behind the keto diet, brands are embracing the trend. Perhaps one of the largest brands to add keto products to their weight loss portfolio is SlimFast, who launched SlimFast Keto at the beginning of 2019. New brands have also been created, such as Perfect Keto and KetoLogic, due to the consumer interest in the diet. Since there is such a demand for these products, you can also get your product Keto Certified through the Paleo Foundation. There is a limited allotment of carbs based on the product type to become Keto Certified, they cannot exceed 10g per serving in meals and meal replacements, 6g per serving in snacks and 2 g per .5oz serving for condiments.8

The keto trend is not isolated to North America, although that is where 80 percent of product launches took place in 2018. Europe accounted for 10 percent with 30 products and APAC was at six percent with 19 product launches. We predict that the keto product launches will continue to increase through 2019. Innova’s database shows that there have already been 114 product launches as of April 2019. If growth continues throughout the year we could see an increase of 60 percent from 2018 to 2019. 

2018 keto product launches by region

The keto trend is not isolated to North America, although that is where 80 percent of product launches took place in 2018. Europe accounted for 10 percent with 30 products and APAC was at six percent with 19 product launches. We predict that the keto product launches will continue to increase through 2019. Innova’s database shows that there have already been 114 product launches as of April 2019. If growth continues throughout the year we could see an increase of 60 percent from 2018 to 2019. 

Popular Product Formats

Of the 292 keto new product launches in 2018,* the majority fall into the sports nutrition category; the most popular format being powders. Additional popular products include snack bars, salad dressings, condiments and baking mixes. When it comes to flavoring, fruit and “brown flavors,” such as chocolate, peanut butter and coffee, are the most popular.

Extra Satiety Support

If you are looking to formulate a new keto product (or weight management product) you may be wondering how to differentiate among all the new product launches. Consider adding Slendesta®, a natural dietary ingredient for satiety that offers the support weight-conscious consumers need to control hunger and feel full between meals. It can be difficult to start a new diet and fight the hunger cravings, so extra satiety support may not be a bad idea. An efficacious dose of Slendesta for foods or supplements only contains 0.159g of carbs. Contact us to learn more about Slendesta. 

Emily Pankow Fritz, Ph.D. is the Technical Services Manager for Kemin's Active Wellness Platform.

She graduated from South Dakota State University with her Ph.D. in Nutrition, Exercise and Food Science and is an ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist.

Prior to coming to Kemin she served as an Assistant Professor of Exercise Science at Simpson College in Indianola, IA and continues to develop her passion for health and fitness through her work at Kemin.

References

1.       Paoli 2014 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24557522

2.       Paoli 2013 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3826507/

3.       Paoli 2015 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4313585/

4.       Johnstone 2008 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=18175736

5.       Westman 2018 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30289048

6.       https://www.usatoday.com/story/life/2019/01/10/jillian-michaels-keto-diet-avoid-common-sense/2535605002/

7.       Yancy 2005 https://nutritionandmetabolism.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1743-7075-2-34

8.       Noakes 2006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16403234

9.       Daly 2006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16409560

10.   Gardner 2007 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17341711

11.   Johnston 2006 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16685046/

12.   Brinkworth 2009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19439458

13.   Delbridge 2009 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19793858

14.   Keto Certified Program Standards and Specifications. November 2018.

Shutterstock Images:  1043983978­, 1077259352

*Data retrieved from Innova Market Insights Database. Free text search criteria included the terms “keto” or “ketogenic” and deselected retailer. Product categories not included were Pet Food and Baby & Toddler. All regions, New Product Launches, and between January 2018 and December 2018.