Many people have turned out to be disappointed with the absence of change in well-being in spite of following the guidelines released by health and government institutions. This is generally because of the general absence of information on what healthy food is and how to prepare healthy meals. It’s less demanding and more helpful for us to hit the drive-through or microwave a prepared meal than to start from scratch, which is the thing that impacts those ascents in heftiness and ceaseless illness. Be that as it may, the message to eat less processed food isn’t sufficient to promote healthy living. We require a diet that can significantly adjust the inflammation and damage caused by a diet of excess sugar and processed fat.
This is where the ketogenic diet (also known as the keto diet) comes in. If you’re looking to lose weight, lower your blood glucose, impact your neurological health, or just overall feel better, the ketogenic diet is sure to help.
What Is A KETO DIET?
The keto diet is a low-carb, high-fat, moderate-protein diet that helps change your body from utilizing sugar or glucose for vitality to turning into a fat-burning machine. As you expel high-starch food from your meals, your blood sugar levels will drastically fall and your body will start to break down fat for energy, delivering ketones that can be utilized by almost every cell in the body. This procedure causes weight loss, a decrease in appetite and bloating and enhanced mental clarity.
A recent study by Hussein M Dashti, MD Ph.D. FICS FACS, and his colleagues confirms that it is safe to use a ketogenic diet for a longer period of time.
The keto diet has been one of the hottest areas of research within the nutrition, health, and medical community. While many have understood the benefits of the keto diet for years, these benefits are just beginning to be recognized by the medical community—and the health-conscious people are beginning to take notice.
The main objective of the keto diet is to eat just enough protein to meet the body’s needs. Take carbs that are only rich in vitamins and fiber to help maintain a sound gastrointestinal tract, and fuse a high amount of fat in the diet to meet the vitality needs.
BENEFITS OF A KETO DIET:
From losing weight to gaining more energy, a keto diet is a powerful tool that can have a significant impact on your life.
Weight loss: Now, I’m not going to tell you that this is going to work like a magic pill and you’ll lose weight overnight, but if you are on a keto diet you will start noticing the difference in a couple of weeks. When you are on a high-carb diet, your blood glucose level increases, leading to the release of insulin. This process sends a signal to your body to store energy as glycogen, which is then converted to fat. And this can make you obese (fat is stored in your stomach area), which is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. A keto diet prevents your body from releasing too much insulin and instead encourages your body to burn fat for energy.
Steady Energy: Unlike glucose (which is more concentrated in the liver and muscle and is generally limited to less than 1,000 calories total or converted to body fat for use later), ketones are utilized by many different parts of the body for energy. This gives your body a steady source of energy rather than the up-and-down energy you get from eating a high-carb diet.
THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND BEFORE STARTING A KETO DIET:
Now you must have already read different posts on the keto diet, and some people must be having some serious questions in their minds about the whole new fat consuming thing.
Isn’t fat gonna make me obese?
There’s a widespread belief that fat causes obesity and heart diseases. However, there is little evidence that fat intake causes cardiovascular diseases and obesity. The major factor in gaining excessive weight and becoming obese is your calorie intake. When you consume more calories than you should (especially in the form of carbs) insulin is released by your body. Insulin leads to the storage of excess calories which again results in making you obese. Whereas on a keto diet, the food doesn’t lead to the release of insulin. Simply put, no insulin, no storage of extra calories. So the fat you consume will not be stored but will be used as a source of energy.
Do I need to take some vitamins while on the keto diet?
Experts suggest that one should take some high-quality multivitamin while on a keto diet, to prevent any deficiencies which can occur due to some major dietary changes.
Why is fat so essential in a Keto diet?
When you lower your carb intake, fats are the only source of the majority of your energy. But make sure to include only good fats in your diet. Some are healthy whereas some fats are to be avoided. Trans-fat in processed food can affect your health in a negative way. The American Heart Association suggests keeping trans fat intake to less than 1 percent of total calories. Fats to be avoided include Vegetable shortening, Salad dressings with added sugar, high-fat meat. Your daily intake of fat must include a good and healthy source of fats like avocado, olive oil, almonds. We will get back to it in a moment. The point is fat found in oils such as coconut and MCT oil—are of particular interest to many keto dieters due to their ketone boosting potential. Because they require minimal if any digestion before being absorbed and are shuttled right to the liver for ketone production, using MCT-based oils may enhance your level of ketosis.
Should I get rid of carbs totally?
Absolutely not. People have this misconception that a keto diet is totally carb-free. On a keto, diet carbohydrate is limited to an amount of about 5% of the total calorie intake. Your diet must consist of food that provides the most nutritional value with the fewest grams of net carbohydrates. Food with high fiber and minimal sugar is considered low in carbohydrate. If you totally remove carbs from your diet you may experience a variety of side effects like weakness, nausea, muscle cramps. So to keep these side effects away, your keto diet should consist of about 30-50g of carbohydrates on a daily basis.
Why do we reduce the amount of protein in a keto diet?
On a keto, diet protein makes up around 15-20% of the diet. Protein in a keto diet is kept low because consuming more protein than is actually needed by the body to maintain healthy tissues can have an anti keto effect on your body. Your body might not produce as many ketones as you want it to produce.
“Now that we have some insight on the facts of the keto diet, let’s discuss the different phases of a keto diet.”
KETO DIET, PHASE 1: INDUCTION
The initial phase of a keto diet is called the induction phase. In this phase, you need to focus mainly on your carbohydrate and protein intake. This phase lasts for around 2 months but can be followed for however long you need to achieve your goals. You should consider using a keto calculator to calculate the number of calories you’ll need to consume on a daily basis. Most people, however, are satisfied with 1500- 1800 calories a day. You should consider limiting your net carbohydrates intake to 20-25g per day.
KETO DIET, PHASE 2: MAINTENANCE
MAINTENANCE PHASE INTAKE: This table shows the amount of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. you can eat per day based on different calorie levels.
The maintenance phase allows you to be on a keto diet without losing body weight further by consuming the right amount of calories that your body needs on a daily basis. In the maintenance phase, the fat intake can be a little less than the induction phase, but still makes up most of your calorie intake. However, the protein intake stays similar to that in the induction phase. Eating more protein can make your body produce glucose from excess protein which again disrupts ketosis.
FOOD ITEMS TO BE ADDED:
When on a keto diet, you must be aware of foods that can totally disrupt your ketosis. We don’t want our days of work to be wasted by choosing the wrong food items. But that doesn’t need us to give up on taste. We only need to know the right food items and we are good. I have added some of these in my diet and recommend you do the same.
Carbs: There is food rich in carbs which must be avoided at any cost. I try and replace high carbs food with low carbs food. Even if we want to we can’t get rid of them totally. So it is only wise to add low carb substitutes to your meals. Some low carbs food I personally love are Carrots, Nuts, Pumpkin seeds, Berries. Then there are food items like Flour, White Bread, Starchy vegetables like Potatoes.
Fat: When it comes to fat I’d suggest you add butter, bacon, sweet potato.
Protein: Protein being one of the building blocks of muscles needs to be consumed even on a keto diet. You don’t want to lose your muscle mass. But of course, it shouldn’t exceed your daily protein uptake limit. So when on the induction phase of a keto diet I try and keep myself away from protein shakes. If you have noticed you’ll find almost every protein powder is enriched with carbs or sometimes exceed your protein intake limit. Instead, I consider adding eggs, chicken breasts, pork. Just make sure you don’t forget to do the math.
To help you save time and energy deciding on what to eat and how to cook a keto meal, we collected some easy to make keto recipes from Pinterest. Each one has easy to understand instruction so you can easily prepare them to enjoy your meal when on a low carb diet.
1. Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boats
This Chicken Stuffed Zucchini Boat recipe by Yumna is easy to make and is super healthy. It comes with the nutrition of Chicken and is low on carbs.
2. Avocado Egg Salad- Keto Recipe
Eating only hard-boiled eggs for months can sometimes be very boring. So adding herbs can always help with the flavor. This Avocado Egg Salad is tasty as well as low on carbs.
SIDE EFFECTS OF KETO:
When we start on a keto diet, some of us might suffer side effects like muscle cramps, fatigue because our body excretes more water. to cope up with these adverse effects I consume a lot of water and some multivitamins. However, my diet does the rest of the hard work to provide me with electrolytes.
Continuing on the keto diet for a long time can produce other adverse effects like constipation. So, you must consider being in the maintenance phase if you are willing to continue on the keto diet for a few months. Again consuming the right amount of water can help with constipation too. Consider adding more coconut oil to your diet if you encounter constipation.
Making it Work: Who is Keto Good For?
Now we’ve gone through all the major concerns and the pros/cons of keto, the real question is who should be on a keto diet? Should YOU be on a keto diet?
The answer to both is this: Keto diets are primarily useful for endurance athletes who are looking to lose or maintain weight. We’ve already seen that these diets are far from optimal for power athletes and can rapidly break down when it comes to muscle-building. The overall structure of these diets doesn’t conduce to strength sports or maximum-hypertrophy gains.
Outside of these highly-specialized ultra-endurance athletes, we can also say that keto is effective for the elderly. They’re more at risk of some of the complications like digestive health problems and kidney stones, but these can be off-set by a very high-volume plant food presence in the diet and adequate hydration. They’re increased risks, but they’re very manageable.
The other side of this is clearly that keto is bad for some athletes – or at least very sub-optimal. This includes anyone looking to build appreciable muscle – keto diets rely on ketosis and a state of carb-depletion for their endurance-boosting effects. These are opposite mechanisms to the processes that govern muscle protein synthesis.
This makes them unsuitable for bodybuilders, powerlifters, sprinters and other high-force-output athletes. If you’re looking to get as big, strong and/or powerful as possible, keto probably isn’t for you. You might still make progress, but you’ll be operating at a much lower progress rate.
Hope this post was kind of help to you. Feel free to tell us which part needs to be modified or if we missed something. Combine this diet with HIIT sessions and you will look like a Greek God/Goddess in no time.
Hi, I’m Pankaj Sinha, Co-founder of Healthconditio.org which discusses everything related to health and fitness.
I am from NE, India. I hold a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry and these days I am pursuing my Masters in Nutrition and Dietetics. I am also pursuing my personal trainer certification.