Almost everyone I meet these days talks about going Keto. Are you thinking of the same? Wait! Do you know exactly what is a Keto Diet and is it really fine to consume so much fat?
Since most of my readers and clients are so much keen to know about the Keto diet, so this is what exactly I am going to explain in this post!
What is a Keto Diet?
Abbreviated as ‘Keto diet,’ it is a high-fat ketogenic diet that was designed primarily for epilepsy. But as per some studies, Keto diet has been proven to be beneficial for people suffering from type-2 diabetes, obesity, cancer, and those who wish to increase their energy levels, boost cognitive function or want to lose excess body fat.
One thing I want to tell is that Keto is not for everyone, but it is certainly interesting that it is getting so much of attention.
As per nutritional ketosis, our body reaches a metabolic state where it burns ketones instead of glucose to release energy. These ketones are rich sources of energy produced in the liver when there are not enough amounts of carbohydrates available to release the energy. The body enters into the ‘ketosis phase’ when our blood sugar levels are below a specific level and glycogen, which is the stored form of glucose, it not available to burn glucose for energy.
Before we move ahead, one thing I would like to clarify is that I am talking about nutritional ketosis in this post and not about diabetic ketoacidosis. The latter one is a life-threatening issue of type 1 diabetes that occurs when high ketones level build up as there is not enough insulin available to metabolize blood glucose. If you are a healthy person who is not suffering from diabetes and engaged in nutritional ketosis then levels of ketones are controlled and PH level of blood remains within normal limits.
What’s The Aim or Principle of Nutritional Ketosis?
The core aim of a Keto diet is to shift the metabolism of the body in favor of burning fat and not sugar for fuel. When we follow nutritional ketosis plan our cells burn fat for releasing ketones. These ketones burn quickly and efficiently in our body, and hence, turn out to be an excellent source of energy, particularly for the brain.
In this condition, our body reaches to ketosis metabolic efficiency that implies our body gets trained to shift into fat-burning mode rather than depending on glucose or sugar from every meal or snack. As a result, we tend to develop a healthy metabolism, which is able to shift conveniently between sugar and fat as a primary source of fuel.
What Are Some Prominent Benefits of Keto?
Some of the specific benefits of a keto diet are:
- Augmented Insulin Sensitivity
- Reduced Blood Sugar
- Enhanced Cognitive Function
- Reduced Excess Fat from the Body
- Reduced Oxidative Damage
- Reduced Inflammation
- Freedom from Sugar and Carb Cravings
What are Potential Ill-Effects of a Keto Diet?
The biggest side effect of a keto diet is that it is difficult to follow. You have to plan and calculate every meal at least for the initial 5 – 6 weeks. It is because during this time your body is getting trained for metabolism. The diet is highly restrictive and needs elimination of numerous vegetables like carrots, sweet potatoes, and beets as they have high levels of carbs.
Secondly, if you consume too many acidic foods then this can deplete the minerals of the body that can have further consequences like potential bone loss and increased inflammation. Hence, it is essential to include lots of alkaline foods too, such as veggies.
Most of the people fail to include enough nutrient defenses and the low-carbs in their keto diet does not supply them with enough dietary fiber. As a result, they suffer from constipation.
The keto diet may negatively affect the female fertility system and reproductive health. Hence, the diet may deliver better results to men as compared to women.
How to Begin a Keto Diet?
If you wish to try to ketogenic diet then I strictly recommend doing so under the supervision of a nutritionist or a doctor. Alternatively, you can follow a book specially designed on the Keto diet. The basic keto macronutrient breakdown is:
Protein – maximum 20%
Carbohydrates – 5-10%
Healthy fats – up to 80%
In order to get the benefits of your keto diet, it is extremely important that you don’t simply increase the consumption of healthy fat. Additionally, you have to decrease the consumption of carbs and sugar. Also, you must restrict protein consumption as excess dietary protein can get transformed into glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis.
The first step towards a keto diet is ditching sugar, grains, refined vegetable oils, flour and substitute them with healthy fats and nutrient defense low carbohydrates vegetables. Focus on healthy fats as the main source of your calorie. You need to eat extra-virgin olive oil, MCT oil, coconut oil, seeds, nuts, coconut, and avocados. For weight loss, it has to be even lower and approximately 20-25 grams each day.
Furthermore, it is essential to figure out the right volume of dietary carbs that get you into ketosis. This may take some error and trial first. Hence, it is suggested to check the blood ketones using a ketone meter.
I suggest meeting your carbohydrate requirements from vegetables, particularly leafy vegetables such as spinach, kale, beet greens, chard, arugula, romaine lettuce, and more. You can consume these vegetables raw or cook them into soups. When you are trying to burn out those fuel or fat, you must avoid consuming fruit, at least till the time your body gets adjusted to the Keto-diet.
The volume of protein you consume to maintain the ketosis depends on your activity level. Some of the best sources of proteins are grass-fed meat, organic poultry, seeds, nuts, wild fish, and eggs.
Get Ready for the Keto Diet!
If you are not ready for a Keto diet then you can begin with intermittent fasting. I suggest beginning with a 12-hour fast each night between breakfast and dinner. Once you get comfortable and feel easy then you can gradually move to a little longer experiment by giving your sweet spot a break of around 14-16 hours.
If you really want to switch to a Keto diet then keep the above-mentioned aspects into consideration so that you can enjoy the maximum health benefits of this diet!
About The Author:
Amit Shah is a renowned Diet and Nutrition Counsellor from Mumbai, India and founder of https://frommonday.in/. Where most nutritionists, doctors and dieticians focus on weight loss as the primary component of healthy living; Amit’s focus is on helping you discover and decipher a sustainable, long term plan for yourself, that takes into account your existing lifestyle, eating and activity habits and even your dietary preferences to come up with a unique, customised solution for you.