The 'Ketogenic Diet', also known as the Keto diet has become increasingly popular as celebrities, including Bollywood stars like Karan Johar, Huma Quereshi and Hollywood starlets Gwyneth Paltrow and Kim Kardashian among others have plugged it as a weight-loss regimen. But similar to any other weight loss regime, while some vouch for the diet plan to lose weight others resent it claiming it's a fad. But how do you decide if it can work for you not? Let's make it simple, here's a basic understanding of the keto diet:
What is Keto diet?
As per the dictionary definition, Keto diet is a popular weight-loss method followed across the world. It got much attention when popular names from showbiz described it as their weight-loss "secret". Put simply, it's a low-carb and high-fat diet, where the body begins to burn fat as fuel, instead of glucose.
Do you know, the Keto diet was originally designed for epileptic disorders?
In a nutshell, the diet regime is high on good fats and protein and low on carbohydrates. So it communicates the body to go into ketosis mode. And hence it starts burning fat for energy production instead of carbohydrates. According to reports, this diet was ingeniously devised and designed to fight epilepsy and related epileptic disorders.
After reading this, a question that instantly pops up in one's head is -- does it seem normal for a regular person to follow this diet, with the purpose of quick fat loss? And the answer is simple, you can. But it is recommended to take the doctor's advice you decide to change your eating habits.
The science behind Keto diet
Our body at a cellular level is endowed with mitochondria organelle which oxidises carbohydrates to produce ATP (adenosine Triphosphate-- our energy currency) for the cell. In keto diet, we tend to maintain a low carb infusion. And thus the decreased availability of carbohydrates and increased mitochondrial uncoupling during nutritional ketosis suggest a decline in ATP production, at least until compensatory adaptations occur. It's a complex process and sounds like something which isn't the most natural way of working for the human body. In computing parlance, it's like overriding the code.
Are there side effects of Keto diet?
Scrolling through multiple health forums, it can be concluded that in general no serious side effects have been observed in those opting for the keto diet. Although, initially, some suffered constipation, mild low blood sugar and indigestion too. But in majority cases, nothing turned to be life-threatening. However, in some serious cases, doctors speculate that low-carb diets can lead to kidney stones. Or in some, there can be high levels of acid in your body (acidosis).
What if Keto Flu?
Some common mild side effects of the diet during the initial days are grouped together and called "keto flu." These may include headaches, weakness, and irritability. Some also complained of bad breath and fatigue.
Foods to eat during Keto diet plan
Keto diet doesn't mean you should cut down on meat and cheese altogether. You can base the majority of your meals around these foods:
- Meat (red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken) and fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel) can be included in your diet plan
- Pastured or omega-3 whole eggs too make it to the list
- Unprocessed cheeses like cheddar, goat, cream, blue, or mozzarella are a yes
- Nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds are also said to be good for your body
- Food cooked in extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, and avocado oil is also recommended by health portals
- Green veggies, tomatoes, onions and peppers can be added to your meals too
Foods to avoid during Keto diet
High carb foods should be reduced or eliminated when on a ketogenic diet. Here's what you should avoid:
- Sugary drinks like soda, smoothies or candies and wheat-based products, rice, pasta, cereal will hamper your diet regime
- Sugar-free sweeteners are again a no-no
- Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas should not be in your diet too
- Likewise, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips are not advisable.
- Unhealthy fats like processed vegetable oils are also in the foods to avoid list
- Say no to all kinds of alcohol like beer, wine and other mixed drinks
- Fruits: Except for small portions of berries fruits should be avoided in your diet
Before embarking on a Keto diet, here are five important tips:
- Top on the priority list is to have enough water throughout the day.
- Don't rush with the diet. Take the time to slowly introduce high-fat foods in your routine and to slowly reduce the carbs. Rushing into the diet may lead to constipation, diarrhoea and other keto flu symptoms.
- Do not give up on exercise! While on a Keto Diet make sure you keep your body active with some physical workout. Not strenuous but just enough.
- Remember to cut down on starchy and sugary foods and increase your fibre and protein intake.
- Since the ketogenic diet involves a paradigm shift in one's diet it may disturb the electrolyte balance in the body. So increase your salt intake.
Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Please consult a doctor before starting any fitness regime or medical advice.
(-- with inputs from agencies)