A nutritionist, Prof. Ngozi Nnam, on Tuesday advised people against the practice of a ketogenic diet, saying it could damage their kidneys.
Nnam gave the advice in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, says: “Ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children.
“The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates.
“Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain-function.”
Nnam said: “The keto diet, as it is popularly called, is being adopted by a growing number of people.
“There is no scientific basis to ascertain its effectiveness in promoting permanent weight loss.
“What goes on in the body with the ketogenic diet is that with the normal diet, the body uses glucose derived from carbohydrate to generate energy for activities.
“In the case of a ketogenic diet, you are switching from the use of glucose to the use of fats.
“This means that you are going from what is natural to what is not natural and the body goes into starvation mode and the body switches to fat to stay alive and active.”
According to Nnam, ketogenic diet alters the natural course of utilisation of biomolecule for energy just to stay active by replacing glucose with fat.
She said: “While we don’t have reports on the long term effects of ketogenic diet on individuals because it is being newly embraced, it will take time before study can be done to ascertain the effects on individuals.
“We are only used to seeing fast results such as weight loss, but we don’t consider the long-term effects on our body from a physiological and metabolic point of view.
“We, however, know that the process of the body using fat to stay active and alive will result in too much pressure, which will be exerted on the kidney.
“Kidney protein will be excreted in abnormal way and this is not good for the kidney.
“This might pose a big challenge in the future and lead to eventual kidney damage.”
Nnam urged people to seek the opinion of expert nutritionists in addressing weight problems and obesity.
She said: “We need to make people aware about the risk of following random advice from anyone regarding our health and nutrition.
“In matters of the body and health, there is no universal hat that fits all.
“We must talk with a qualified nutritionist.”