As the debate over carbohydrate consumption continues, questions arise about the optimal approach to dietary carbohydrate intake. Joining us for this enlightening discussion are seasoned registered dietitian nutritionist, Kim Arrey, and CJAD radio host, Ken Connors. Together, we explore the dichotomy between unrestricted carb consumption and carb restriction, delving into the nuances of each approach and their potential impacts on health and well-being.

Furthermore, amidst this discourse, we delve into the topic of the ketogenic (keto) diet—an increasingly popular dietary regimen characterized by low carbohydrate intake and high fat consumption. In this interview, we aim to unravel the mysteries surrounding the keto diet, examining its principles, potential benefits, and considerations for those contemplating its adoption. Join us as we navigate the complexities of carbohydrate consumption and shed light on the keto diet phenomenon.


This podcast was aired on the Weekends with Ken Connors show on CJAD.


Ken Connors: Kim I know a lot of people who follow low carbohydrate diets.  I am not too sure what to think about this trend. I always thought that we needed to eat carbohydrate for energy.  Can you tell me what is a low carb diet and should people be following this trend?

Kim Arrey: Ken this is a question that keeps coming up. I have a lot of clients who are trying to lose weight and the want to follow a low carbohydrate diet. The body does need to have carbohydrate as a source of energy.  The brain in particular will not use either fat or protein as a source of energy so it is essential to eat some foods that contain carbohydrates.  But you need to make sure that you are consuming quality carbohydrates and of course that you are consuming the right amount of carbohydrates.

Ken Connors: Kim is following a low carbohydrate diet good for people?

Kim Arrey: Ken there are more and  more studies that suggest that especially people with type 2 diabetes should be following a diet that contains a moderate amount of carbohydrates.  That would probably be about what I mentioned before.  But a new study published in JAMA looked at the difference between 4 different low carb diets.  The study was based on data in the Nurse’s Health Study, the Nurse’s Health Study II and the Health Professionals Follow up study, and used data collected from 67,000 participants.  They looked at 5 different diets: one emphasized overall lower carbohydrate intake, another that emphasized animal sourced protein and fat, a vegetable based low calorie diet a healthy low carb diet emphasizing less refined carbohydrate, more plant protein and healthy fat, and an unhealthy low carbohydrate diet found that emphasized a less healthy carbohydrate sources, more animal protein and unhealthy fat.

Over the 4 years of the study, the researchers found that the people that followed the unhealthy low carbohydrate diet with a lot of meat actually gained weight by the end of the 4 year study.  And those on the healthy low carb diet that emphasized a plant based diet were more likely to lose weight over the 4 years.

Ken Connors: Ok. Can you tell me what are healthy carbohydrate diets?

Kim Arrey: Sure Ken. The biggest concern with carbohydrates is how can you include foods that are high in nutrients, fibre and carbohydrates?  These foods would include vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and of course pulses and legumes.   Any vegetable will do.  Some like potatoes and sweet potatoes contain about the same amount of carbohydrates as a piece of bread.  Others like spinach and cucumbers contain hardly any.  Most fruits contain about 15 grams of carbohydrates in a 125 ml serving.  The exception is dried fruit that contains that amount of carbs is about a 60 ml serving.  Whole grains and pulses and legumes contain about 14 grams of carbs in about 1/3-1/2 cup serving.  But all these foods are packed with nutrients and fibre as well.  You also get some carbohydrate in dairy products but that can vary depending on if it is yogurt, cheese, kefir or milk.

Ken Connors: So these are what you would call healthy carbs.  How much would you suggest people consumer per day?

Kim Arrey: In the study the participants were consuming between 38-40% of their calories from carbohydrates.  That would be roughly what I described or perhaps a bit less.

Ken Connors: How is that different from a Ketogenic diet?

Kim Arrey: Ken a ketogenic diet contains between 10 to 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.  This is really low and it does not provide you with all the nutrients that your body needs.  So if you are following the ketogenic diet you would need to work with a registered dieititan to make sure that you consume the right amount of supplements.  Ketogenic diets are very difficult to follow, so while they may lead to more weight loss in the short term, most people do not maintain their new weight, unless they successfully transition to a moderately low carbohydrate healthy diet.

Ken Connors: Is there anyone who should not follow a ketogenic or lower carb diet?

Kim Arrey: Anyone who is has a medical condition should check with their doctor or their dietitian before starting lower carb diets.  If you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, reducing the amount of carbohydrate in your diet may reduce your need for medication so you need to know the best way to manage that.