The ketogenic diet has been welcomed by the food industry, especially since it is one of the trendiest diets among consumers. The diet has caused some product roll-outs and a change in ingredients for other products. Appealing to the health-conscious consumer market is important, however this diet trend might not last long in light of new findings published by researchers in Switzerland. The research showed that the ketogenic diet might put consumers at a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
ETH Zurich, an engineering and mathematics university conducted the research that was published in The Journal of Physiology. NutritionInsight reported that the research showed mice that were fed according to the keto diet appeared to be in a healthy state. However, these animals also had a decrease in glucose tolerance, whereas the mice that were fed a high-carb, high-fat diet did not.
When a body’s system for controlling blood sugar with insulin stops working, people can develop high blood sugar and insulin resistance. The study found that the ketogenic diet had led to insulin resistance in the liver in some mice, which could lead to a higher risk of type 2 diabetes.
These new findings need to be substantiated in human trials to draw more accurate conclusions. However, this shouldn’t be overlooked, especially by the food industry. Manufacturers might want to know this information before rolling out more products that fit diet requirements.
Dang Foods is a prime example of a company that has already rolled out a product just for this diet. In response to the diet, Dang Foods launched their “FATBAR” which is a 100 percent plant-based snack bar. The bar was enthusiastically called a “keto friendly” bar. This meant the bar was high in fat and low in carbs, which is the basic requirement of the diet. This wasn’t a surprising launch considering the founder of Dang Foods had become a follower of the popular diet.
Products such as the FATBAR might stop making appearances if these same results on replicated in human studies. The keto diet has done more than call for the launch of new products; it has also caused healthy oils to become more popular among consumers. Oils such as almond, avocado and coconut oils in particular have risen in popularity. As a result, companies have tried to bank on this trend by creating new, healthy oil-containing products. Nestlé had started to develop an all-in-one creamer which included a mix of MCT oil, added collagen protein and grass-fed butter. Oil manufacturer Cargill also released a new canola oil with 4.5 percent less saturated fat.
It’s clear that the food industry is being influenced by this diet. The research presented might change that, or at least encourage consumers to have a more balanced diet which includes both fats and carbs.
“It should be noted that even the long-term benefits of a ketogenic diet have been questioned in some studies; however, I don’t think concern is warranted at the moment. In general, I am advocate of a balanced diet to avoid any type of malnutrition which can arise from limiting food sources,” Christian Wolfum, study co-author, associate professor at ETH Zurich’s Institute of Food Nutrition and Health, told NutrionInsight.