Stella Iacovides and Rebecca M. Meiring
Many physiological health benefits observed after following a ketogenic diet (KD) can be attributed to the associated weight loss. The KD has become more prominent as a popular health choice, not only in obese/overweight individuals, but also in healthy adults. The study aims to determine the effects of a KD, independent of weight loss, on various aspects of physiological health including: sleep, thyroid function, cognition, and cardio-metabolic health. The study will also aim to determine whether a change in basal metabolic rate may be associated with any changes observed.
Twenty healthy men and women between 18 and 50 years of age will take part in this study. In a randomized controlled, cross-over design, participants will follow two isocaloric diets: a high-carbohydrate, low-fat diet (55% CHO, 20% fat, 25% protein) and a KD (15% CHO, 60% fat, 25% protein). Each dietary intervention will last for a minimum of 3 weeks, with a 1-week washout period in between. Before and after each diet, participants will be assessed for sleep quality, cognitive function, thyroid function, and basal metabolic rate. A blood sample will also be taken for the measurement of cardio-metabolic and immune markers.
The present study will help in understanding the potential effects of a KD on aspects of physiological health in healthy adults, without the confounding factor of weight loss. The study aims to fill a significant void in the academic literature with regards to the benefits and/or risks of a KD in a healthy population, but will also explore whether diet-related metabolic changes may be responsible for the changes observed in physiological health.