The Keto diet or Ketogenic diet is a low-carb, high-fat diet that offers many health benefits.
In case you are tired of the weight gain during the pandemic and want to achieve your health and fitness goals, you can start with Keto Diet.
You might have heard a huge buzz about this diet and also have done your fair share of research.
Keto Diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source.
When you eat foods that are low carb and high in fat, you get to the state of ketosis.
During this diet, the major calories you consume from fat, with a little portion of protein and very few carbohydrates.
Moreover, ketosis can happen even when you eat a low-calorie diet, reduce cholesterol levels, etc.
In fact, many studies suggest that this type of diet can help you lose weight and improve your overall health.
Studies also suggest that it can cause a significant reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels.
Types of Keto Diet
There are different version of the keto diet and includes:
Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): This is a very low-carb diet, a moderate amount of protein, and a high-fat diet.
It typically contains 70% fat, 20% protein, and only 10% carbohydrates.
Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): This type of diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds like 5 ketogenic days along with 2 high carb days.
Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): TKD allows you to add carbs around your workouts.
High Protein Ketogenic Diet: It is similar to a ketogenic diet, however, includes more amount of protein.
The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbs.
However, there are only extensive studies on standard and high protein ketogenic diets.
The other two are, however, more advanced and are often used by bodybuilders and athletes.
To understand how the keto diet works, you will need to understand the process of Ketosis. So let us start with it.
Ketosis is a metabolic process in which your body uses fat as fuel instead of using carbohydrates.
It can start in your body when you reduce the consumption of carbs, therefore, limiting your body’s supply of sugar, which is the main source of energy for the cells in your body.
Moreover, when you follow a ketogenic diet, you can enter the state of ketosis.
Generally, it involves limiting carbs to 20 to 50 grams per day and filling up on saturated fats that are meat, fish, eggs, nuts, and healthy oils.
However, it is also important to have protein consumption.
It is because protein can be converted into glucose if you consume it in high amounts, which may slow your transition to ketosis.
Moreover, intermittent fasting can also help you enter the state of ketosis.
Certain symptoms, however, indicate that your body has entered the states of ketosis, which includes increased thirst, dry mouth, frequent urination, and a decrease in hunger or appetite.
Lose weight with Ketogenic Diet
A keto diet is an effective way of losing weight and maintaining overall health.
In fact, research suggests that this diet is very much effective for weight loss as it is a low-fat diet.
What’s more, is you can lose weight without counting calories or tracking your food intake.
Moreover, it is likely to reduce your blood sugar levels and triglyceride levels in your body.
The ketogenic diet for Diabetes and Prediabetes
Diabetes is changing in your metabolism, high blood sugar level, and impaired insulin levels. It is of two types.
Type 1 Diabetes and Type 2 Diabetes.
One study found that a ketogenic diet helped people lose fat, thereby reducing blood sugar levels in their bodies.
Another study suggests that people with type 2 diabetes lost an average of 29.2 pounds or 11.9 kgs over a 2 year period following this diet.
Other Health Benefits
This diet can help to treat neurological diseases like Eplipisy.
Moreover, studies suggest that this diet have benefits for a large variety of health conditions and includes:
Heart Disease: This diet can help improve the risk factors like body fat, HDL (good cholesterol), blood pressure, and blood sugar levels.
Cancer: It can help slow the growth of tumors according to some studies.
Alzheimer’s Disease: The keto diet can help reduce the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and slow its progression.
Epilepsy: Research suggests that the keto diet can cause a significant reduction in seizures in epileptic children.
Parkinson’s Disease: Although more research is required, however, one study found that this diet can help improve the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Food to Eat
To follow the keto diet, you need to base your meals around the following keto friendly foods:
- Meat: Red meat, steak, sausage, chicken, and turkey
- Fatty fish: Salmon, trout, tuna, and mackerel
- Eggs: Pastured or omega 3 whole eggs
- Butter and cream: Grass-fed butter and heavy cream
- Cheese: Cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella
- Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, flaxseeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, etc.
- Healthy Oil: Olive oil, coconut oil, or avocado oil
- Avocados: Whole or freshly made guacamole
- Low Carb Veggies: Tomatoes, onions, peppers, green veggies, etc.
- Condiments: Salt, pepper, herbs, and spices
Learn more about Keto Foods here.
Foods to Avoid
While on a keto diet, you will have to avoid, reduce or limit the intake of the following foods:
- Sugary foods: Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cakes, candies, etc.
- Grains or starches: Wheat-based products like rice, pasta, cereal
- Fruits: All fruits except barriers
- Beans: Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas
- Root vegetables and tubers: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips, etc.
- Low-fat diet products: Low-fat mayo, salad dressings, and condiments
- Unhealthy fats: Processed vegetable oil, mayo, etc
- Alcohol: Wine, beer, etc.
- Sugar-free diet foods: Candies, syrups, puddings, etc.
Sample Keto Diet Plan
To help you start with a ketogenic diet, this is a simple meal plan for a week you can follow easily:
Breakfast: veggies and egg muffins with tomatoes
Lunch: Chicken salad with cheese of your choice and salad
Dinner: Salmon with asparagus
Breakfast: egg, tomatoes, basil, and spinach omelet
Lunch: Almond milk, peanut butter, spinach along with stevia milkshake.
Dinner: Cheese-shell tacos with salsa
Breakfast: Nutmilk chia pudding with coconut and blackberries
Lunch: Avocado shrimp salad
Dinner: Lamb chops with cheese of your choice and salad
Breakfast: Omelet with avocado, salsa peppers, onions, and spices
Lunch: a handful of nuts with celery sticks with guacamole
Dinner: Stuffed chicken with pesto and cream cheese
Breakfast: Sugar-free greek, whole milk yogurt with peanut butter
Linch: ground beef lettuce wraps with bell peppers
Dinner: Loaded cauliflower and mixed veggies
Breakfast: cream cheese pancakes, with mushrooms
Lunch: Zucchini and beet noodle salad
Dinner: Fish with kale and pine nuts
Breakfast: fried eggs with mushrooms
Lunch: Chicken sesame chicken and broccoli
Dinner: Spaghetti squash bolognese
It is important to try and rotate the veggies and meat over a long period of time as each of them provides different nutrients and health benefits.
Getting hungry between meals is natural. You can eat cheese, a handful of nuts or seeds, sushi bites, olives, boiled eggs, snack bars, 90% dark chocolate between the meals.
Moreover, you can eat guacamole, strawberries, celery with salsa, beef jerky, leftover meals in small portions, and fat bombs.
Tips and Tricks
There are several tips and tricks you can use to start this diet, although it can be sometimes challenging.
Start by getting to know about different food labels and checking the grams of fat, carbs, and fibers.
Planning out your meals before starting this diet can be beneficial and help you save time throughout the week.
Many websites, food blogs, and apps are now available that offer easy recipes.
Moreover, some healthy meal services are also available that provide keto meals at home.
Make sure to bring your own food while going to dinners with family and friends.
Possible Side Effects and How to Minimize them
Most of the time, the keto diet is safe for healthy individuals, however, there may be initial side effects while your body adapts to this type of diet.
Some people might experience Keto-Flu, any of the symptoms include diarrhea, constipation, and vomiting.
Moreover, some less common symptoms are poor energy, an increase in hunger, sleep issues, nausea, and digestive discomfort.
To minimize this, you can try a low-carb diet for the first few days or weeks. This will teach your body to burn more fat before you eliminate carbs.
This diet can also change the water and mineral balance in your body, therefore, try adding extra salt to your meals or taking mineral supplements.
However, in the beginning, you can eat till you feel full and avoid restricting too many calories.
Moreover, a keto diet usually causes weight loss without intentional calorie restriction.
Risk Factors of Keto Diet
Following this diet pattern for the long term can cause certain negative effects and these include the following:
- low protein in your blood
- extra fat in the liver
- kidney stones
- micronutrient deficiencies
Moreover, a type of medication, Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors for type 2 diabetes can increase the risk for diabetic ketoacidosis.
It is a dangerous condition that increases blood acidity, therefore, anyone taking this medication should avoid the keto diet.
Supplements for Keto Diet
Supplements are usually not required in a keto diet, however, some can be useful.
- MCT oil: It is present in your drinks and yogurt.
- Minerals: Added salts and other minerals are important as you might have an imbalance of water and minerals when you start this diet.
- Caffeine: It can have benefits for energy, fat loss, and performance.
- Creatine: It has a number of benefits for health and performance.
- Whey: Using half a scoop of whey protein in your shakes or yogurt can increase your daily protein intake.
The Bottom Line
A keto diet is a good option for people who are overweight, have diabetes, and are looking to improve their metabolic health.
However, it is less suitable for people who are elite athletes, or who want to add large muscle or weight.
Moreover, it may not be suitable for you if it does not align with your lifestyle and preferences. It is important to consult your doctor about your eating plan and the goals you intend to achieve if you want to start a keto diet.