Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets have no metabolic advantage over nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets

Carol Johnston, Sherrie L. Tjonn, Pamela Swan, Andrea White, Heather Hutchins, Barry Sears

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

83 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Low-carbohydrate diets may promote greater weight loss than does the conventional low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet. Objective: We compared weight loss and biomarker change in adults adhering to a ketogenic low-carbohydrate (KLC) diet or a nonketogenic low-carbohydrate (NLC) diet. Design: Twenty adults [body mass index (in kg/m2): 34.4 ± 1.0] were randomly assigned to the KLC (60% of energy as fat, beginning with ≈5% of energy as carbohydrate) or NLC (30% of energy as fat; ≈40% of energy as carbohydrate) diet. During the 6-wk trial, participants were sedentary, and 24-h intakes were strictly controlled. Results: Mean (±SE) weight losses (6.3 ± 0.6 and 7.2 ± 0.8 kg in KLC and NLC dieters, respectively; P = 0.324) and fat losses (3.4 and 5.5 kg in KLC and NLC dieters, respectively; P = 0.111) did not differ significantly by group after 6 wk. Blood β-hydroxybutyrate in the KLC dieters was 3.6 times that in the NLC dieters at week 2 (P = 0.018), and LDL cholesterol was directly correlated with blood β-hydroxybutyrate (r = 0.297, P = 0.025). Overall, insulin sensitivity and resting energy expenditure increased and serum γ-glutamyltransferase concentrations decreased in both diet groups during the 6-wk trial (P < 0.05). However, inflammatory risk (arachidonic acid:eicosapentaenoic acid ratios in plasma phospholipids) and perceptions of vigor were more adversely affected by the KLC than by the NLC diet. Conclusions: KLC and NLC diets were equally effective in reducing body weight and insulin resistance, but the KLC diet was associated with several adverse metabolic and emotional effects. The use of ketogenic diets for weight loss is not warranted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1055-1061
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume83
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2006

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Keywords

  • Adults
  • Insulin resistance
  • Ketogenic low-carbohydrate diets
  • Nonketogenic low-carbohydrate diets
  • Weight loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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