What is Keto Diet?

Keto diet, short term for ketogenic diet is the most searched in recent time. Its popularity is increasing very fast as it helps in quick weight-loss and provides more energy. Keto diet is simple in concept. Our body needs source of energy which normally comes from carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrate our body produces glucose and insulin. Glucose is easiest form to break down and used as energy source. Thus fat being not used and stored in body.

If we are dieting with starvation then in absence of glycogen (glucose) our body starts breaking down the muscles to meet the energy requirement by body and mind. But our body has another system to stop losing excess muscle known as ketosis.


What is Ketosis?

So the concept is to eliminate the current source of energy (carbohydrate) from our diet and increase fat and protein portion. In this process when body will not get glucose to use as energy it will act on the stored fats. The fats will get converted to energy source. This state is known as ketosis. When body will not get enough carbohydrate and glucose it will naturally induced to ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process where fats break down into ketones in lever. These ketones are then used as source of energy by our body and mind.  Ketones can fuel up to 75% of brains fuel requirement. It boosts brain’s function and helps preventive neurodegenerative diseases.

This diet is one of the best options for weight-loss as it increases the metabolic rate.  This is also known as Low Carb High Fat (LCHF) diet which based on starvation on carbohydrates. However you are allowed to take 20 – 50gms of carbohydrate in a day which is 5% of your diet. The food intake will be fat 70%, protein 25% and carb 5%. But these can be customised to some extent depending what works well on body. Keto diet is considered more a life style than a diet where you develop eating healthy food and eliminate all unhealthy food. Body takes 3 -4 days to enter into the state of ketosis as it will first utilise the stored carbohydrate to convert into energy and then starving on carb it will induce production of ketones.

What foods to avoid in Keto Diet?

Grains – Wheat, Rice, Corn, Cereals

Sugar and any sugar substitute like Honey, Maple syrup

High Carb veggies – Specially underground vegetables which are full of carb and starch like Potatoes, Yam etc

High Carb Fruits – Banana, Oranges, Apple etc

What should you eat in Keto Diet?

Meat & Poultry – Chicken, Fish, Beef, Eggs

Low Carb Vegetables – Green leafy & above ground vegetables like spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, brinjal etc

High Fat Dairy Products – Cheese, Full Fat Cream, Butter

Moderate Proteins – Nuts and seeds – Walnuts, sunflower seeds, Almonds

Low Carb Fruits – Raspberries, Blueberries, Strawberries, Avocados

Other fats – saturated and monounsaturated fats like Olive oil, coconut oil etc.

Fat – 70%

Fats are essential in ketogenic diet. The fat intake should be at least 70%. So understand which fat is beneficial and which are not.

Types of Fat:  There are two types of fats, i.e. Saturated and Unsaturated Fats. Unsaturated fats are known as good fats. It consists of polyunsaturated fatty acid & monounsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are better than that of the saturated fats in normal diet. Polyunsaturated fats have omega 3 fatty acid which is helpful for human body and mind. The monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature. These are good fats which are source of antioxidant and vitamin E. Saturated fats are considered as bad fat in normal diet but are highly recommended in keto diet. Trans fatty acids are strictly to be avoided. Out of all these fat category, Saturated and monounsaturated fats are more stable and preferred in ketogenic diet.

Saturated Fat – Butter, Lard, Meat, Poultry, Coconut products, Full fat dairy foods,

Monounsaturated Fat – Olives, Avocados, Hazelnuts, Almonds, Brazil Nuts, Cashews, Sesame seeds, Pumpkin Seeds, Olive oil, Canola Oil, Peanut Oil, peanut butter, Walnuts

Polyunsaturated Fat – fish oil, soybean oil, fish oil, Nuts and seeds

Trans Fat – Fried food, sweets, desserts, packaged snacking items.

Protein – 25%

Protein has to be taken in moderation else it will increase production of glucose and decrease ketone production. For natural ketosis, avoid high protein intake and restrict to limited quantity.

Some sources of protein in keto diet are fish, shell fish, whole eggs, beef, pork, poultry, lamb, turkey, chicken breast, chicken thigh, almond butter.

Vegetarian Food for Keto Diet

If you are vegetarian, then nuts and seeds are best source of protein and fat. The best options which are protein and fat rich are:

Protein & Fat sources for vegetarian keto diet
Nuts & seeds (1 oz) Protein (g) Fat (g) Carb (g)
Almonds 6 15 2
Pumpkin Seed 10 6 3
Almond Flour 6 14 3
Walnuts 4 18 2
Flax Seeds 5 12 1
Chia Seeds 4 9 1
Macadamia Nuts 2 21 2
Unsweetened Coconut 2 18 2
Hazelnut 4 17 2
Cashews 5 12 7
Pistachio Nuts 6 13 5
Pecan 3 20 1
Fat from Oils
Per 1 oz Protein (g) Fat (g) Carb (g)
Olive Oil 0 28 0
Avocado Oil 0 28 0
Coconut Oil 0 28 0
Red Palm Oil 0 28 0
Black Olives 0 3 1
Green Olives 0 4 0
Avocado 1 4 0
Flax Seed Oil 0 28 0
Cocoa Butter 0 28 0

 

The low carb vegetables which are used in keto diet are:

Green Beans, Asperagus, Spinach, Kale, Pumpkin, Eggplant, Celery Stalk, Cucumber, Kale, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Brocolli, White onion, Garlic.

Also read Top 10 Vegetables for Keto Diet.

Benefits of Keto diet:

  • Keto diet increases metabolism and hence helps in rapid weight-loss.
  • This is especially helpful in treating epilepsy as it research has shown this diet helps in reducing seizures.
  • It helps in treating many mental diseases like Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s disease etc.
  • It’s helpful in controlling insulin level and helpful in type II diabetes.

Disadvantage:

  • Keto diet should be done for a brief term and not for long run as it might lose muscles and can cause harm than good.
  • You have to be strictly adhere to the diet plan and can’t switch on and off unlike other diet plans else body gets confused and this adds to weight-gain.

 

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