Keto diet, short term for the ketogenic diet is the most searched topic in recent times. 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 the source of energy which normally comes from carbohydrates. When we eat carbohydrate our body produces glucose and insulin. Glucose is the easiest form to break down and used as an energy source. So our body doesn't get a chance to use the fat we consume and it gets stored.
If we are dieting with starvation then in the 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. This system is known as ketosis.
Are All Calories Created Equal?
I have come across a great piece of article on the Keto Diet on HVMN.
Read the full article here: Do Calories Matter in Keto Diet?
The article says:
"The first law of thermodynamics (or the law of conservation of energy) states that energy cannot be created or destroyed. When applied to weight control, this law translates to the basic formula:
weight gain = energy (calories) in - energy (calories) out
This traditional viewpoint argues that the food eaten is unimportant–a calorie is a calorie. To lose weight, create a calorie deficit by either eating less or burning more. To gain weight, increase calorie intake.
The opposing viewpoint maintains that calories still count, but the type of food consumed has a trickle-down effect on the amount of energy you expend, and what foods the body craves. It takes way more energy to process and store protein than it does carbohydrate or fat–this is called the thermic effect of food. Essentially, one burns more energy dieting protein because it requires more energy for the body to process. In one study, twice as much energy was expended after meals on a high-protein diet versus a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet.
Another study compared the effects of three diets differing in macronutrient (carb, fat, protein) composition on energy expenditure during weight-loss maintenance. Weight loss causes resting energy expenditure (metabolic rate) to go down, which predisposes to weight regain. The results of the study showed that the very low-carb (and high protein) diet had the least effect on reducing resting energy expenditure following weight loss."
The article also explained how a calorie is used by our body resulting in weight loss: 60% from resting metabolic rate, 32% physical activity, 8% thermic effect of food.
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 the body will not get glucose to use as the energy it will act on the stored fat. Then the fat will get converted to an energy source. This state is known as ketosis.
When the body will not get enough carbohydrates and glucose it will naturally induce ketosis.
Ketosis is a natural process where fat breaks down into ketones in lever. These ketones are in fact used as a source of energy by our body and mind. Ketones can fuel up to 75% of brain fuel requirements. It boosts the brain’s function and helps prevent 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 – 50 gms of carbohydrate in a day which is 5% of your diet. The food intake will be fat 70%, protein 25%, and carb 5%.
But you can customize to some extent depending on what works well on the body. Keto diet is more like a lifestyle than a diet where you develop eating healthy food and eliminate all unhealthy food.
The body takes 3 -4 days to enter into the state of ketosis as it will first utilize the stored carbohydrate to convert into energy and then starving on the 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 – Especially 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 the 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, let's 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 good fats. It consists of polyunsaturated fatty acid & monounsaturated fats. The unsaturated fats are better than that of saturated fats in a normal diet. Polyunsaturated fats have omega 3 fatty acid which is helpful for the human body and mind.
The monounsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature. These are good fats which are sources of antioxidant and vitamin E. Saturated fats are bad fat in a normal diet but are highly recommended in the keto diet. Strictly avoid trans fats. Out of all these fat categories, Saturated and monounsaturated fats are the more stable and the best option in ketogenic diet.
Saturated Fat – Butter, Lard, Meat, Poultry, Coconut products, Full-fat dairy foods,
Polyunsaturated Fat – fish oil, soybean oil, fish oil, nuts, and seeds
Trans Fat – Fried food, sweets, desserts, packaged snack items.
Protein – 25%
Protein has to be taken in moderation else it will increase the 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, shellfish, whole eggs, beef, pork, poultry, lamb, turkey, chicken breast, chicken thigh, almond butter.
Vegetarian Food Option for Keto Diet
If you are vegetarian, then nuts and seeds are the best sources 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)|
|Fat from Oils|
|Per 1 oz||Protein (g)||Fat (g)||Carb (g)|
|Red Palm Oil||0||28||0|
|Flax Seed Oil||0||28||0|
The low carb vegetables for keto diet are:
Green Beans, Asparagus, Spinach, Kale, Pumpkin, Eggplant, Celery Stalk, Cucumber, Kale, Cauliflower, Red Cabbage, White Cabbage, Lettuce, Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Red Peppers, Broccoli, White onion, Garlic.
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 levels and helpful in type II diabetes.
- Keto diet is ideal for a brief duration and not for the long run. Else you might lose muscles instead of weight.
- A ketogenic diet is great but not for everyone.
- Strictly adhere to the diet plan. Otherwise switching on and off will confuse our body and system and this will add to weight gain.