Ketogenic diet reduces body weight in patients scheduled for weight loss surgery

Jack Woodfield
Mon, 12 Mar 2018
Ketogenic diet reduces body weight in patients scheduled for weight loss surgery
Eating a ketogenic diet for four weeks encouraged weight loss and improved micronutrient deficiencies in obese patients scheduled for weight loss surgery, a study reveals.

Scientists assessed the safety and success of the ketogenic diet on 27 morbidly obese people. Ketogenic diets which generally restrict carbohydrate intake to around 30g per day are very effective in lowering blood sugar levels and losing weight. They have therefore been the focus on several recent studies investigating their efficacy in treating type 2 diabetes and improving other aspects of metabolic health.

All of the participants were due to undergo bariatric surgery. Dietary interventions prior to weight loss surgery are designed to reduce the size of the liver, improve the health of the organ and reduce the risk of health complicationsof surgery occurring.

A low fat, very low calorie diet is the standard pre-surgery diet. This may include small quantities of whole foods or meal replacement soups or shakes.

The researchers aimed to investigate whether a ketogenic diet could be more effective at reducing body weight, liver size and helping patients to comply well with the diet.

They were assigned a four-week preoperative ketogenic micronutrient-enriched diet (KMED), which all participants adhered to. The Italian and French research team monitored a variety of health markers before and after the trial including body weight, BMI, size of the liver (left hepatic lobe volume), micronutrient status and metabolic patterns.

There were "highly significant" decreases in body weight and reduced liver size, the researchers revealed. The participants also benefited from improved micronutrient status.

Compliance in the diet was high and no adverse side effects were reported by patients, who completed questionnaires measuring diet acceptability and side effects.

While the research was only a prospective pilot study, the results are useful as they demonstrate a ketogenic diet could provide an effective alternative to low fat, very low calorie pre-surgery dietary interventions.

The study is published in the journal Obesity Surgery.
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