A ketogenic diet or more commonly called as keto diet is a low carb but fat rich diet which can help you with weight loss, treats epilepsy, lessens acne and can even treat cancer. This diet is a success only if you tightly monitor your daily carbohydrate intake which should be less than 60 g per day and also monitor your PUFA and MUFA rich fat sources rather than saturated fats.
What is a ketogenic diet?
A ketogenic diet is a high-fat but low-carb diet with a moderate number of proteins. It works by producing ketones and thereby burning the same to produce energy. As you are not eating enough carbs, no glucose is produced for burning and generating energy. This clearly indicates that this diet can help with weight loss if followed religiously without any cheating, which is not possible many times.
How does the keto diet work?
A keto diet works in the way that your body is not getting enough carbs (less than 5-10 % of total calories), this forces our brain, which solely relies on glucose for functioning and other cells of the body to burn fats and convert them into ketones. These ketones are then converted into energy-producing ketone bodies as an end product. So here instead of carbs, fats are being used to generate energy by burning ketones and not glucose.
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5 Benefits of Keto Diet
- Weight Loss: A ketogenic diet helps in reducing weight by reducing your appetite and increasing your metabolism. The benefits of the ketogenic diet in weight loss are observed only for the first two to three weeks, which is because of improved insulin sensitivity of the cells and excess excretion of water from the body.
- Lowers Bad Cholesterol: A ketogenic diet followed by consuming healthy fats helps in the faster removal of triglycerides or bad cholesterol from our bloodstream, which is attributed as a main cause of cardiovascular diseases. The reason is that triglycerides are produced mainly because of the consumption of sugars and highly processed foods. On the contrary, the consumption of healthy fats increases the levels of good cholesterol and proportionately decreases the bad cholesterol.
- Lowers Blood Pressure: A low-carb diet, reduces high blood pressure. This is because reduced intake of carbs, mainly refined sugars leads to a reduction of inflammation in the heart’s blood vessels. This reduces the risk of high blood pressure, protects you from various chronic diseases, and may help you live longer.
- Improves Brain Function: Since a small portion of our brain relies solely on glucose for functioning by using glucose as a source of energy and in deficiency of glucose, our liver converts protein into glucose to supply this to the brain. But our brain can also use ketones as a source of energy, in the absence of carbohydrates. In many studies, it is found that the seizures in epilepsy can be reduced by putting the patient on a low-carb meal or a ketogenic diet.
- Appetite Suppression: High-fat and moderate-protein intake on the keto diet may contribute to increased feelings of fullness and reduced appetite. This can help individuals control their caloric intake and promote weight loss.
5 Side effects of Keto Diet
- Bad Breath – being on a ketogenic diet for more than 2 weeks will make your breath foul-smelling. This is nothing but just a side-effect of the onset of ketosis in your body. This is known as keto-breath and is a result of the breakdown and production of ketones into ketone bodies.
- Constipation – It is evident that if you decrease your complex carbohydrate (soluble and insoluble fiber) intake then it leads to constipation. On a ketogenic diet, you are consuming less than 50 g of carbs daily, which drastically affects your bowel movement as fats and proteins don’t make up the bulk of your stool. You can get rid of this condition by ensuring adequate amounts of magnesium and iron.
- Insomnia – As we are habitual of having feelings of satiety and fullness only after having a carb-rich meal following a ketogenic diet for over a considerable time can make us depressed. This mental disturbance can make us suffer sleepless nights.
- Low Bone Density – A ketogenic diet is a fat-rich diet and the body becomes deficient in other nutrients and vitamins, especially B-group vitamins. A deficiency of vitamin D and thus inefficient absorption of calcium and phosphorus from the digested food makes our bones less dense.
- High Cholesterol – A high-fat diet, increases the levels of bad cholesterol if our choice of fats is not healthy. Always choose healthy fat sources like avocado, olives, fatty fish, plant-based oils, and fats.
Sample Keto Meal Plan for Weight Loss
- Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee (Coffee blended with butter) + Paneer Bhurji cooked with tomato, onion, and spices in ghee or coconut oil.
- Lunch: Besan Chilla + Vegetable Raita
- Snack: Avocado Fritters (2 avocados, 2 tbsp groundnut flour, 2 tsp flaxseed powder, 3 tbsp mayonnaise. Blend and bake)
- Dinner: Malai Mushrooms with Stir Fry Broccoli and Asparagus
In order to stick to your ketogenic diet and follow it without any cheating, pre-plan your meals, cook and carry your meals whenever you are visiting your friends or family, and also make a habit of checking the labels of any packaged food for its carbs, proteins, and fat content before consuming it. Never start a low-carb diet or a ketogenic diet on your own, Consult Weight Management Expert Fitness with Nidhi, and enrol in a weight loss program.