The ketogenic diet also known as low carb high fat (LCHF) as the name suggests, is a diet which is rich in fat and adequate protein while being low in carbohydrate content. This diet forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates by initiating ketosis- a process where ketones are produced by the breakdown of fats in the liver.
The science behind this is simple; in case of higher carb diet, the body uses glucose as the main source of energy but when the carb content is lowered the body undergoes ketosis i.e. it starts burning stored fats for energy.
A keto diet has numerous health and therapeutic uses apart from weight loss. It controls blood sugar, increases energy and controls appetite, checks blood pressure and cholesterol levels; it keeps the insulin to a healthy range. The ketogenic diet also prevents acne. And it has been used to heal epilepsy since the early 20thcentury. It is yet one of the most used therapies for children who have uncontrolled epilepsy.
Keto Diet and Weight Loss
This diet uses your body fat as a source of energy so there will be weight loss. Obviously!
When you are Keto dieting, your insulin (the fat storing hormone) level drops greatly which turns your body into a fat burning machine.
The incredible adaptive nature of your body comes into rescue. When you overload it with fats and deprive it with carbohydrate, it will burn ketones. The optimal level of ketone has various health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.
Foods to Eat When You Are On a Keto Diet
Seafood is most preferred food in keto diet. Sardines, Mackerel, Salmon, Shellfish, Shrimp, and Crabs can be consumed twice a week.
Low carb veggies like Zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower.
Different variety of cheese (especially cottage cheese), eggs, meat and poultry, avocados, Greek yogurt, Olive oil, Nuts and seeds, different berries (blackberries, raspberries, blueberries, strawberries) and yeah Dark chocolates too.
Different types of a Ketogenic Diet
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is the usual keto diet that everyone knows and follows. The diet that is rich in fats and proteins and low in carbs. Generally, starch and fruits are avoided in SKD.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): This is usually for individuals who exercise or are planning to start their workout session. Here you intake a small amount of fast-digesting carbs before a workout; alongside SKD. Usually, 20-40 grams of net carbs is taken an hour every time you go for a workout.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): CKD is for athletes and bodybuilders or people who perform intense workout on a daily basis. It is more like carb cycling. You cycle between periods of low carb, high protein, and high fat with periods of high carb, high protein and low fat. Mostly you will consume low carb diet throughout and a time period is set for intaking high carb content.
How to proceed with Keto diet?
You need to plan before you start a keto diet. You should be ready with your variable diet plan. The aim is to get into the ketogenic state. The more you restrict your carb intake the faster you will let your body perform ketosis. It’s recommended to take less than 15 g of carbohydrate per day.
Avoid any refined carbohydrate like wheat (bread, pasta, etc.), starch (beans, potatoes, legumes) or fruit (apple, banana, oranges, etc.). Don’t eat grains (wheat, rice, cereal, corn), sugar (agave, honey, maple syrup) as these are rich in carbohydrate.
As already discussed you can include foods like meats (poultry, fish, beef, etc.), spinach, kale, broccoli, high fat diet (butter, cheese, and fat cream), nuts and seeds (macadamias, sunflower, walnuts etc.), Avocado, Berries (Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, etc.), additional fats (Coconut oil, salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.), and certain sweeteners (Monk fruit, Erythritol, etc.).
As keto diet is rich in fat, moderate in protein and very low in carbohydrate content, your nutrient intake should be 65% fat, 30% protein and rest 5% carbohydrate.
Net carb of 20-30 g is typically recommended for dieting but if the carbohydrate content is lower, the better the results will be.
In case you aren’t aware, net carb is your total dietary carbohydrates minus total fiber.
Protein needs to be consumed as required with fat filling in the rest of the calories in your day.
If you feel hungry throughout the day, you can consume nuts, peanut butter, seeds, and cheese to control your appetite.
Should you up for a ketogenic diet?
There is no such diet that is suitable for everyone, especially when there is a difference in metabolism, genetics, body types, taste buds, lifestyles, and personal preferences.
No matter what, the ketogenic diet can work magic for people who are obese or at a height is of metabolic syndrome.
If you are a person who likes indulging in carbs but wants to stay away from high-fat foods, the ketogenic diet can turn out to be the most difficult diet program to stick on for a long time. If you like the concept of a low carb diet, then a standard low carb diet can turn out to be a better option for you. You can go on a ketogenic diet program for a short-term period for weight loss and improve health but it requires a lot of discipline and should be continued with healthy eating.
Signs you’re in Ketosis
1) Increase in urine output.
2) Dry mouth because of increase in urination.
3) Bad breathe cause of acetone.
4) Increase in energy and reduction in appetite.
Initially, people tend to experience certain discomfort because it takes time for the body to get over the usual routine of breaking down the carbohydrates and using them as energy. The sudden transition from regular routine will lead to building up of certain new sets of enzymes. Your body will use what’s left of your glucose. During the initial few days, many people will complain of a headache, dizziness, fatigue, etc. as ketosis has a diuretic effect on your body. Slowly your body used to it. You have to increase your water and salt (sodium) intake in order to maintain the electrolyte balance in your body. There is this temporary wobbly feeling which is known as keto flu.
Not to worry as it goes away in few days.
Side Effects of Ketogenic Diet
Everything in this universe has two sides to it, pros and cons to be clear so it’s with ketogenic diet too. Usually, it’s dehydration or lack of vitamins in the body. However, there are few side effects of a ketogenic diet which is worth noting.
1) Cramps, usually at night, due to loss of minerals, usually magnesium loss in the body.
2) Constipation because of dehydration. Make sure to have fiber-rich vegetables to avoid it.
3) Heart palpitations.
4) There will be a quiet reduction in physical performance because of the burning of fat.
5) Less common side effects include hair loss, indigestion, keto rash, stones in the gallbladder.
Keto diet is mostly recommended for a person with sound health. People having heart disease, kidney or liver disorders should strictly abstain from following it.