INDIA. Ketogenic diet (popularly known as keto diet) is a low carbohydrate, moderate protein and high fat diet.
It is observed that people who follow this diet, tend to lose weight faster than other dieting forms. However, the big question is: Does Keto diet actually burn all the stubborn fat or it is just a fad diet? Let’s take a look at what it is, how it works and its pros & cons.
What is a Keto Diet?
Keto diet is a high-fat diet in which 75% of your calories come from fat, 20% of your calories from protein & remaining 5% from carbs. This diet includes moderate amount of protein & very low amount of carbohydrate.
It is generally believed that people lose body fat easily while following Keto diet. But, this is a common misconception and the truth is the opposite. On a Keto diet, the body doesn’t lose fat instead it loses the water weight.
What is water weight?
Carbohydrate rich food provides energy to the body. The unused energy in our body is then stored in the form of glycogen molecules. Each gram of glycogen molecules contains three grams of water. During a low carb diet the body uses these stored glycogen molecules in the form of energy.
This is how the body uses the stored water weight which results in losing four to five kilograms (8-9 pounds) in just a week. However, this weight loss isn’t permanent because as soon as you fill your body with carbs, you will gain back your normal weight again.
How does Keto diet work
To lose weight in a Keto diet, a person’s body has to attain the stage of Ketosis. A human body reaches the stage of Ketosis when a person eliminates carbs from his diet and the body starts converting the stored glycogen molecules into energy. Normally, it takes around three to five days for a body to reach the Ketosis stage.
Keto diet & weight loss
A person who is overweight with a sedentary lifestyle may opt for Keto diet. Keto diet uses stored fat for body functioning instead of carbs. Therefore, it is an ideal weight loss mechanism for a person with a sedentary lifestyle. Meanwhile, on a strict Keto diet, a person can lose up to 10-15 kilograms in just about 40 days.
However, it is very important to count every calorie, every ounce of your food while on Keto diet. Calorie counting is of utmost importance during this diet because if a person doesn’t count his macronutrients then he may not reach the full ketosis mode.
Keto diet for active people
People who follow an active lifestyle require more energy. Carbohydrates are considered as energy-giving food. Hence, active people need to include carbs in their daily diet. An active person who decides to go for Keto diet may experience low energy levels throughout the day. Therefore, Keto diet is not advisable for athletes or other highly active people. However, if one want to go for this diet, one must consult a dietician or physician first.
How long can Keto plan be followed
One must not follow the diet for more than 40 days. You may lose weight quickly following this diet but you will have to pay a price for it. One might experience constipation, nausea and many other complications too.
A diet should be made in such a way that a person can follow it religiously for the rest of his/her life. It should include all nutrition in its right proportion.
What to eat during Keto
While on keto diet, one can eat food with high fat content. For example: avocados, nuts, eggs, meat, fish and seafood. Butter, ghee and olive oil can also be included in the diet. You can also consume monounsaturated and polyunsaturated (Omega-3 and Omega-6) fats.
However, try to avoid food that are rich in trans-fat for example: baked food products like cakes, cookies, microwaved popcorns, frozen food etc.
Try to eat more of green vegetables which can provide more fibre to the body. Fruits are not recommended on a Keto diet as the carb levels are mostly high in fruits. Rice, wheat, cereals, processed foods and carbonated drinks are strictly prohibited on a Keto diet.
(The author is a professional powerlifter and a nutritionist).