If you are someone who is on the lookout for the right diet, then you are sure to have heard about the ketogenic diet. It is said to be a common fad amongst celebrities and health enthusiasts. Anyone who’s oblivious to this diet plan would be sceptical as there is no restriction on calories.
So, what’s this diet that says you can eat anything without worrying about calories?
The ketogenic diet works based on the metabolic process called ketosis. Ketosis happens when you rapidly cut off carbohydrates from your diet and replace it with fats. Your body copes up with the starvation of carbohydrates by breaking down the fats into ketone bodies in your liver that act as the primary source of energy.
When carbohydrates are consumed, glucose becomes the primary source of energy. This isn’t ideal because an increase of glucose levels tend to increase the insulin production in our body. When glucose is used by the body for energy, the fats you consume is free from its job of fuelling the body and therefore, gets stored up. So, to avoid this we are forcing our body to the state of ketosis.
Ketosis is an everyday phenomenon that happens when your body is lacking in sugar. So, it is bound to happen regardless of you consciously cutting down carbs or not. But, when you cut down a larger portion of your carbs, the fats you eat and the ones stored in the body breaks down to fatty acids and glycerol to form ketone bodies. At this stage, when your body is in dire need of energy, it becomes entirely dependant on ketone bodies for sustenance.
This brings us to another question – Can fats not directly be used for energy? Well, fats are to a larger extent used by the cells in our body for energy. But the problem is that they do not help in giving sufficient energy to the brain as they take a longer time to get converted to produce energy. Therefore, ketosis is the ideal way of using up all the fats accumulated in the body and preventing spiking sugar and insulin levels.
HOW TO FOLLOW THE KETO DIET
This diet revolves around monitoring the levels of carbs, proteins and fats. Although there are several moderations to this diet, an ideal keto diet would require reducing the intake of carbs rapidly, consuming a moderate amount of proteins and liberally increasing fats. So, you’d typically have 5% carbs, 20% proteins and 75% fats in your diet.
Some other forms of keto diet are cyclical keto diet – where you have a combination of high carb and low carb days, targeted keto diet – where you take carbs only when you workout or get into any intense physical activity and high protein keto diet – that involves an increased protein intake than the standard diet.
FOODS TO INCLUDE AND AVOID
As mentioned earlier, our main focus is to cut down on carbs. There is no fuss of counting your calories or being watchful about your portions. At the same time you need to stay away from starchy and sugary foods, unhealthy fats, processed food, alcohol, beans and legumes. This would mean your pastas, cereals, coke, ice creams, candies, potatoes, chickpeas and refined oils are discarded from the diet. Even your sugar-free and fat-free products that claim to be diet friendly are to be cut off completely.
You can happily relish your meats, fish, eggs, cheese, butter, seeds and nuts. You are free to have a limited amount of low carb veggies like tomatoes and onions. Switch to healthy oils like olive oil and coconut oil and stick to unprocessed cheese and butter.
THE PROS OF KETO
Although ketogenic diet was primarily crafted to treat epilepsy, people who have stuck to his diet have witnessed miraculous benefits.
- The diet prevents the risk of the growth of several types of tumors and cancers. Ketones do not give energy to the growth and multiplication of cancer cells, thus, preventing their occurrence or inhibiting their growth
- Weight loss has been the primary benefit of this plan as fats are completely used up in the process
- The function of the brain drastically improves when it uses ketones for its energy. The keto diet has been effective in treating autism, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
- As the insulin levels are carefully controlled, the keto diet prevents Polycistic Ovarian Syndromes (PCOS) that is mainly caused by an imbalance of insulin
- As you tend to cut sugar and processed food completely from your diet, you will never have another episode of popping your pimples.
- Ketones function similar to antioxidants that protect you from any kind of reactive oxidative damage. So, sticking to this diet will help to maintain your youth and delays aging
- It takes anywhere between 1-2 weeks for the body to be fully adapted to Ketosis and hence the initial phase of this diet might affect the body in several ways that will leave you feeling giddy, exhausted and uncomfortable. Some of the common discomfort faced during the initial stages includes nausea, sleeplessness and indigestion. There are chances for varying levels of minerals, salts and water. However, these problems will decline while you slowly get used to the diet, with improved hydration and higher nutrients.
- Fuelling your body with just ketones wouldn’t be sufficient for you if you indulge in a lot of physical activities. A slightly higher percentage of carbs may be required.
- The diet requires a very strict adherence to what can be consumed and hence tight discipline on part of the follower is mandatory for reaping the results.
You can reap the benefits of this diet only if you are persistent and patient. Although this is considered as a safe and healthy diet, it is ideal for you to consult your physician before starting your journey on keto diet.
Keeping a constant eye on the macros can be a little daunting at the beginning. Fret not, because NUTRIBOWL is designed exclusively to ease your healthy journey. As all the recipes are low in carb and high in fat, it helps you with variety, ease in cooking leading to a longer sustenance on this diet.