What is Keto Diet? A Beginner’s Guide!
By Naveen Sharma, Founder – Ashmayu Yoga
Nowadays, Keto diet has become very popular due to the fast results it delivers.
Keto diet or Ketogenic diet is also known as a Low Carb High Fat (LCHL) Diet.
In this diet, your intake of fat is very high which counts on 70% of the food, intake of protein is moderate which counts on 25% of the food and intake of carbs is very less which counts on 5% of the food. When we follow this diet the body produces ketones in the liver, which is used as energy.
What happens when you are on high carbs
When you intake high carbs, your body converts it into glucose which acts as the source of energy in the body. As the body is using glucose for the energy, the fat which was there in the food gets stored in the body and not being used. And over a period of time, the percentage of fat goes higher in the body and ultimately either makes you overweight or obese.
What happens when you are on low carbs
When you intake low carbs, your body does not get enough carbs to convert it into glucose and use for energy. In this situation, your body reaches a state called Ketosis wherein the body is in a survival mode and starts depending on Fat to covert it and use as energy for the body. In this case, your body becomes a fat burning machine 24/7 and as a result, you reduce a lot of weight.
In other words, Keto diet is meant for making the body capable of generating energy without carbohydrate and of producing the ketones from breaking down the fats in the liver.
Benefits of being on Keto diet:
- Weight Reduction:
When on Keto, your body becomes a fat burning machine. It lowers down the insulin level and uses the fat of the body as a primary energy source, obviously helps in losing weight.
- Blood Sugar Control:
The ketogenic diet is very effective in controlling diabetes. The type of food you eat during keto burns the fat and helps you lower the sugar level in the blood. If you have diabetes type 2, you must consider a keto diet (Consult your Doctor before starting this diet).
- Increased Energy
By providing your body a better source of energy by keto, you would definitely feel more energized.
- Treats epilepsy effectively
Since 1900, keto diet is being used as an effective therapy for epilepsy in children.
A low carb and high-fat diet increases HDL Cholesterol (The Good Cholesterol) and decreases LDL (The Bad Cholesterol).
Keto diet can help people maintain the insulin levels to the ideal range.
- Blood Pressure:
A low carb diet regulates the BP more effectively as compared to a high carb diet. (It helps maintain ideal weight, which is a bonus for BP)
How to start and what to eat on a keto diet?
You will require a complete month’s diet plan ready. For which you must consult a dietician. The stricter you are the earlier you reach a ketosis state.
Low carbohydrate (5%), moderate protein(25%) and high fat(70%)
What needs to be avoided in Keto Diet
- Grains – Wheat, Corn, Rice, Cereal, etc.
- Sugar – Honey, Agave, Maple Syrup, etc.
- Fruit – Apple, Bananas, Oranges, etc.
- Tubers – Potato, Yams, etc.
What needs to be eaten in Keto Diet
- Nonveg – Fish, Lamb, Poultry, Eggs, etc.
- Leafy Greens – Spinach, Kale, etc.
- Above ground vegetables – Broccoli, Cauliflower, etc.
- High Fat Dairy – Hard cheeses, High fat cream, Butter, etc.
- Nuts and seeds – Macadamias, Walnuts, Sunflower Seeds, etc.
- Avocado and Berries – Raspberries, Blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
- Sweeteners – Stevia, Erythritol, Monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners
- Other fats – Coconut oil, High-fat salad dressing, Saturated fats, etc.
How to reach Ketosis
You must follow the below-mentioned rules for achieving the ketosis level –
- Control the carb intake – 20-35gms of carbohydrate per day is suggested for a standard keto diet.
- Restrict the protein intake – Too much protein may lower down the ketosis so better be aware of the protein you take.
- Fat is needed – On keto, your body gets the energy from fat. So, do take a lot of fat without carbohydrate or protein.
- Water – Drink as much as you can (approx a 3-4 Ltr a day). It will keep you hydrated, regulate hunger and improve many functions of the body.
- Say no to snacking – Avoiding snacks helps you get better results.
- Fasting – It is effective in boosting ketones.
- Exercise – it is always helpful. Keeps you fit and makes you active.
Keto for Indians
Indians (generally, vegetarians and vegans) find it difficult to be on a keto diet. There is a good news for you, keto is possible for you, only the diet restrictions would be high.
Indian cuisine is rich in carbohydrates, that’s the major reason, why the keto diet can be a little challenging. However, Indian meal plan includes a variety of vegetables and flours which are low in carbohydrates and can blend well with the keto diet plan.
Including white butter, paneer, gram flour, fish, chicken, local vegetables like spinach, bottle gourd, Indian round gourd, brinjals, and beetroots can turn out to be extremely nutritious and also help in rapid weight loss along with the additional benefits of controlling your insulin levels.
To begin with, try and cut down the traditional sources of carbs.
- If you eat three chapattis for lunch, reduce it to two.
- The dinner should be very light.
- Green leafy vegetables, root vegetables and fruits contain lots of vitamins and minerals and they supply quite fewer calories to the body. They can easily supply the required amount of carbs to your body every day. Moreover, they make you feel fuller and faster for longer periods of time.
- Avoid eating refined flour as it contains lots of calories.
- Stay away from drinks, packaged juices and sodas as they contain lots of sugars and they will put all your efforts in vain.
To get a full diet plan for you, It is advisable to consult a dietician. As everybody is different.
Drawbacks of a Keto diet:
In the beginning, people might find themselves uncomfortable to be on keto. Though these problems do eliminate in the long term, yet there are some drawbacks you might find in short-term.
- Keto Flu
This is the most common side effect which you can expect after starting a Keto diet. It is commonly known as Keto flu. In this flu, You might experience a Headache, Fatigue, Dizziness, nausea, Irritability etc. The side effects subside as your body adapts Keto Diet. Usually, it takes a week to subside.
It’s common to get cramps in the initial days of your keto diet. This happens because of low levels of minerals in the body especially magnesium. Have more fluids.
Constipation is another most common side effect the people go through in the initial phase of Keto because of a metabolic shift in the body. You can take care of this by increasing intake of fiber in your food and drink plenty of water.
- Energy Levels
You might experience low energy levels for a few days because of a shift in the way body produces energy from carbs to fat.
- Hair Loss
It is a very less common side effect of being on keto. But if you experience this, you can start taking multivitamins, don’t be too restrictive and make sure you sleep well every day.
You might see an increase in cholesterol but when the body starts burning fat for the energy and you start losing weight, cholesterol will automatically be under control.
Don’t worry, consult your dietician and things will be under control soon. You don’t need to get less motivated.
The above information is only to keep you aware of what is possible with Keto diet and what could be the adverse effect. I would suggest you not to go on this diet without consulting your dietician. Keto diet is a good option for specific conditions but generally not a great option to adopt because of its imbalanced diet pattern.
Eat Well, Live Well!
If you have any questions, Please leave it in the comment sections below and
I would be more than happy to help you out!