When Emily Mguire saw the results of a ketogenic diet, she began to question everything she’d learned about weight loss and good health.
When it comes to understanding the health crisis facing Australians today, there’s not many people with the depth of knowledge held by nutritionist Emily. Dedicating her life to finding manageable and worthwhile weight-loss solutions, she offers a insiders perspective on why the low-carbohydrate lifestyle is the way of the future.
Tell us about yourself and why you are so passionate about ketogenic nutrition
I am qualified with a BSc(Hons) in Nutrition in 2010 and an MSc in Obesity Science in 2011. My undergraduate degree was your typical degree in the way that nutrition was taught. Low fat, high carb was the resounding mantra that was instilled into us. The summer between finishing my second and starting my third year of university, I took a placement at a commercial weight loss company. As I was about to learn though, this company wasn’t just any type of company. It was in fact a low carbohydrate company. I almost never returned after the first day as I had been taught that this type of eating was dangerous for your health. This of course was before I had witnessed any of the science that was out there.
That was the year that I discovered the work from Drs Eric Westman and Will Yancy from Duke University and the rest they say is history. Since then I have counselled thousands of people through the low carbohydrate lifestyle. For the past year I have been on a world tour where I have met, shadowed and been mentored by some of the great minds in the world of low carbohydrate nutrition. The work that is being done out there, particularly on the merging areas for ketogenic nutrition, is really exciting.
How much can a keto diet support weight loss?
By reducing the carbohydrates in your diet, you allow your body to switch from using glucose (sugar) to using fat for energy. This means that the body can use both the fat from your diet and burn its own body fat stores. Unlike the conventional approach of calories in equals calories out the ketogenic diet can suppress your appetite. This means that you can actively lose weight without feeling the constant hunger that normally occurs.
Can you tell us about one person whose life you have seen transformed by the keto diet?
I have worked with a various amount of people over the past seven years on various journeys. Choosing just one story would be so difficult as there have been so many amazing transformations. I think though to see how the diet can positively impact individuals with health conditions such as diabetes, PCOS and epilepsy is just amazing. The improvement in their quality of life is just exceptional, and all done through real food.
What are the potential benefits of keto in Australia?
It’s no secret that the problem of obesity and it’s co-morbidities is sweeping the world. In both the developed and the developing countries obesity is now at epidemic proportions. In Australia more than 5 million people are obese. If the weight gains continue like this then by 2025 close to 80% of all Australian adults and a third of children will be overweight or obese. Further to this more than 900,000 Australians suffer from diabetes. The scary thing about all of this though is that it can be stopped and reversed simply from changing your nutrition. The consensus on eating less and doing more, eating a high carb and low fat diet has not been working. For individuals who are metabolically damaged with Insulin resistance, following a low carbohydrate high fat diet is going to be the best dietary approach to fix this and reverse the epidemic.
What is lacking? What would you like to see happen to help people embrace the low sugar, high fat revolution?
There is a lack of support in all areas of society. We need more health professionals standing up and taking a long hard look at the evidence. We also need more of the industry on board to stop making such cheap, processed food. We then also need more of a grass roots movement with people themselves taking control of their food and health. Lastly we need more accessibility of foods and services that support a dietary approach that is not just based on a high carb and low fat approach. Think of it, normally you go out for lunch and you are surrounded by so many high sugar and carb options. I had the delight of visiting Karibu café whilst I was visiting Perth on my World tour of ketogenic nutrition I could probably count on my hand the number of places that I have found out with Australia that support this dietary change as well as Karibu does. Getting as much support as possible on this type of nutrition is so important in order to implement the change. Knowing that Karibu can be a go to place to pick up some bulletproof coffee or a low carb snack makes this way of living that much easier in a high carb world.
Emily Mguire runs a useful blog where you can find loads of information about the ketogenic lifestyle.