Ketogenic diet (also called Keto diet):-
You need to know everything about the Ketogenic diet before you decide to go the Keto way to lose weight.
The keto diet is a great, weight-loss strategy, and can also help you, if you’re obese.
It’s a dream come true diet that can transform the way your body looks.
Make your body a fat burning machine with this wonder diet, that will melt away your fat quickly, and in a healthy way.
If you are over 150 kgs or even diabetic. It can be very effective way to get your system into correct metabolic state, thus bringing you into healthier state.
What is ketogenic diet and how it works?
Ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. This diet involves drastic reduction of carbohydrate intake, replacing it with fat.
Keto comes from the word “ketogenic”. This is a scientific term that means body produces ketones from fats.
The keto regimen essentially tricks your body into thinking its starving, by depriving it of nearly all carbohydrates. The aim is to trigger a metabolic state called ketosis, in which the body burns fat for energy instead of storing it up in reserve.
In this process your body uses ketones, made by the liver from fatty acids during the period of restrictive carbs intake, as its main fuel source, rather than glucose.
This is the body’s natural mechanism to handle body functioning in the absence of carbs.
When there is insufficient level of glucose, the body looks for an alternative source of fuel, and starts burning fat, which results in massive weight loss.
This diet provides umpteen benefits along with the magical weight loss results in short period of time.
Remember, there is a right and a wrong way to go about it.
A healthy keto diet consists of 75% fat 20% protein and only 5 % carbs(less than 50grams of carbs per day).
Avoiding carbs is essential for ketosis. If you don’t follow the ratio, you’ll quickly kick yourself out of the fat burning state, and your body will start burning carbs again, storing more of the fat you eat as reserve. So it is essential that you understand the concept clearly before starting.
In the past couple of years ketogenic diet has become the in-thing and lot of celebrities have given it a boost by endorsing it. Several famous faces from Hollywood also have claimed this diet has helped them.
Keto diet can work as miracle for certain conditions. New evidence also suggests that the high fat plan may improve certain cancer treatments and also keep your brain healthy.
Amazing Benefits of keto diet:
-The number one reason people adopt the keto diet nowadays is for weight loss.
Adopting ketogenic diet is a natural way to lose weight, with improved health and fitness.
This diet makes your body incredibly efficient at burning fat resulting in quick weight loss.
Studies prove that on the keto diet your body burns fat 24/7.
- It controls your appetite.
High fat and protein keeps you full for longer time which helps in lower calorie intake, resulting in quick weight loss.
-It revitalizes your energy.
-Keto diet may cause massive reduction in blood sugar and insulin levels.
The Keto diet is well known for its effectiveness in weight-loss, blood sugar control and reduced heart disease risk.
-People with conditions like type 2 diabetes, type 1 diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and epilepsy can be helped tremendously by ketogenic diet.
-The clear and proven benefit of the keto diet is reducing epileptic seizures in children.
Keto diet has been used therapeutically for this purpose since 1920's.
Keto diet is great for vegans too.
Though often this diet is associated with animal foods, those who eat plant based foods can follow a keto diet as well.
Keto friendly foods (non- vegetarians)
Meats: chicken, beef, pork, lamb.
Nuts and seeds: (chia seeds, flaxseeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds). Avoid cashews as they are high in carbs.
Vegetables: green leafy veges like spinach, collards, kale, all tubers [a1] (above ground grown vegetables) cucumber, tomato, onion, bell peppers, asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage (crucifer vegetables)
Fish (fatty fish like salmon and sardines).
Cheese, cream cheese, butter, heavy cream.
Oils (olive oil, coconut oil, Avocado oil).
Herbs and spices. Water is wonderful, have plenty, it has no carbs.
You can drink coffee or tea without sugar, almond milk, and coconut water. Bone broth can be a great beverage which can be sipped with a pat of butter to enhance the taste.
Bulletproof coffee: Very trendy in this diet. It involves adding 1 to 2 spoons of coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of butter into your morning cup of coffee.
It gives amazing energy and kills appetite.
Keto vegetables (low carb) you can eat as much:
1. Asparagus - very low carb - has probiotic fibre -phytonutrient.
3. Broccoli-omega 3 fatty acids.
5. Celery-vitamins minerals.
7. Brussels sprout.
Foods you can’t eat on the Keto Diet:-
Sugar is a big no-no.
Grains and starches: cereals, breads and all kinds of baked foods, rice, pasta, grains.
Carbonated and sugary drinks: Sugar in tea, soda, fruit juices, chocolate drinks and shakes,
Starchy vegetables: potato, sweet potato, beets and peas.
Beans: Black beans, kidney beans chickpeas.
Fruits: Since most fruits contain high carbs, for best results you may want to avoid fruits, however, on Keto diet, you can eat small amounts of raspberries, blackberries and straw berries.
Having said that, not eating any fruits at all for first few weeks would be beneficial as the fruit carbs can rapidly add up.
Alcoholic beverages: beer is very high carb beverage and should be completely avoided.
Avoid milk as the milk sugar will add to your carbs.
The keto diet has recently become very popular. Beware of those “ketogenic” and “low carb” labels on products. E.g. Those “low carb pastas”, or “ketogenic chocolates”.
One wrong food can kick you out of ketosis, wasting all your efforts to lose weight.
Keto diet for vegans:
With proper planning, vegans too can reap the benefits of ketogenic diet.
Since keto diet is composed mostly of fat, vegans can reach ketosis by relying on high fat plant based foods like almonds, walnuts, avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, nuts and seeds like pumpkin seeds.
Research has shown that following the high-fat, low-carb vegan diet, positively impacts your health,
And helps in massive weight loss.
To implement the diet correctly you need to follow certain rules:
Do not exceed the limit of carbs per day.
Eat plenty of low-carb vegetables (given above).
Consume 70% of your calories from plant based fats.
Eat 25% of your calories from plant based proteins.
Ensure that you get enough of vitamin D3, B12, and B6, DHA AND EPA, iron, zinc, and taurine, by consuming the right kind of foods along with supplements which you may require.
Make sure you’re eating the right amount of calories, carbs, fat and protein.
It may not be easy to track and restrict your carb consumption in the beginning.
Planning is the key.
The foods to avoid in Keto diet (Vegan):-
Meat, fish, poultry, eggs and other animal products.
Sugar (All kinds of sugars, refined, caned, honey, corn syrup.
Grains (Wheat, pasta, rice, legumes (beans)
Starchy foods (All kinds, potato, yams, sweet potato)
High carb nuts like cashew nuts, chestnuts, pistachios.
All refined vegetable oils.
Foods that you can eat (Vegans):-
Tofu, Mushrooms (all kinds)
Leafy greens (Spinach kale asparagus, celery and all the other keto friendly vegetables mentioned above)
Above ground vegetables (cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, zucchini etc.)
High-fat dairy alternatives (unsweetened coconut based yogurt, coconut cream, cheese etc.)
Nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds.
Strawberries, raspberries, black berries (small amount)
Fermented foods like sauerkraut, khimchi, natto.
Sweetener – stevia, monk fruit.
Other fats – coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil, MCT oil.
All kinds of sprouts.
To add variety to your diet, you can replace plain yogurt with nut based yogurt (without sugar)
Avoid keto friendly vegan, packed dairy products, as you may end up consuming some amount of added sugar and carbs or unhealthy hydrogenated oils etc.
However, this dietary approach will require more hard work and dedication than most other diets, if you want to get it right and enjoy the benefits.
In the beginning it may be a little difficult to follow this new lifestyle with low-carb diet, but by following the right foods it will give you the much needed energy, and quick weight loss which will motivate you to stick to this diet plan more comfortably.
You can smartly veganize almost every keto recipe.
There are many potential replacements for these foods that are great for keto diet like:
Homemade keto breads
Keto rice (grated cabbage is the new rice)
Keto porridge (coconut flour, flax seed meal, protein powder in almond milk)
Keto dosas (made with almond powder)
You may be on low carb diet but if you consume too much protein, which may also defeat the idea of ketosis.
So you have to check your limits on protein intake also for the diet to work.
Avoid keto foods that you dislike as you have a huge variety to choose from. This is to avoid any kind of food allergies or food intolerance that may disturb your progress.
Include potassium rich keto friendly foods. Green leafy vegetables like Swiss chard, avocados, Brussels sprouts bring about a healthy balance of electrolytes .
Eat enough fat.
Those who find it difficult to adapt keto diet, must avoid sudden change in their diet.
Instead start slowly by cutting carbs gradually.
This diet needs to be well planned to ensure you’re hitting all of your nutritional bases.
Keto adaptation and why you’re always hungry.
Since the body has a constant supply of carbs it does not require fat for fuel. Only when the supply dips too low the body starts to burn fat for energy.
Too much carbs lead to blood sugar spike, in this situation your body has to work overtime to combat this high glucose and send out more insulin, a hormone to help sugar get out of your blood stream, consequently your insulin levels rise.
With too much insulin in your blood, your brain’s signals go haywire, including those that let you know that your stomach is full.
This explains why you tend to overeat, and why you are always hungry and have no control over food.
Your body keeps craving for more junk food and you find yourself binging all day, which leads to weight gain and fat accumulation.
When you lower your carbs and increase fat intake, you reach a point of keto adaptation where your body develops its own enzymes that are capable of tapping into your excess fat stores to give you the much needed energy and weight loss.
You can get Keto adapted in 6 weeks:
Try and handle the initial carb withdrawal symptoms, also called the keto flu, with the tips given above.
These symptoms stay only for few days depending upon how well you follow the regime.
It is the third week when the shift really happens where the body starts to make transition from burning glucose to burning fat.
It is this stage, where you have to stay put, and not quit for any reason.
Once you’ve maintained six to eight weeks of fat burning process, your body will automatically get Keto adapted and will start burning fat over carbs.
Signs you’re in ketosis:
On keto diet, your body undergoes many biological adaptations, including reduction in insulin levels and increases fat breakdown.
When this happens your liver starts producing high number of ketones to supply energy for your brain.
Sometimes it may be difficult to know whether you are in ketosis or not.
These signs will tell you’re in ketosis.
1. You start experiencing weight loss.
2. There is appetite suppression, as Fat and Protein keeps you full for longer time. You will find yourself not feeling hungry for 4 to 6 hours between meals.
3 When you reach full ketosis you may experiences bad breath
This is due to elevated ketone levels.
4 You experience high energy throughout the day.
5 You have more energy during workout.
6 Testing blood ketone levels with a monitor is the most accurate way to determine whether you are in ketosis.
You’ll eventually learn what ketosis feels like and will know that you have managed to cross the hurdles and are in ketosis.
Temporary side-effects when you first start ketogenic diet (Also called keto Flu)
These symptoms are caused by the body, as it is adapting to a new diet consisting of low carbs.
These can feel similar to the flu.
Not everyone experiences these symptoms, some of you may transition to this new diet without any side effects.
Others may experience one or more of these symptoms like:
1. Fatigue, weakness, headache.
2. Temporary decrease in performance.
3. Muscle cramping.
4. Sugar craving.
And some other flu like symptoms.
These side effects are temporary and disappear within a week in most cases.
How to get rid of these side effects?
When carb intake is extremely low, electrolytes, especially sodium levels get out of balance.
So replacing fluids is essentially important when on keto diet, also include potassium rich keto friendly foods, like green leafy vegetables and avocados, to bring about a healthy balance of electrolytes.
It is extremely important that you stay hydrated.
You can be more liberal with salt shaker by adding some, in your drinking water each time, to make up for sodium loss (sea salt).
Eat seeds like hemp, pumpkin and chia for magnesium, also make sure you include portion of mackerel, almonds and green leafy vegetables every day. If needed take a magnesium supplement.
Avoid strenuous exercise for first few days.
Eat at least 7 cups of vegetables to give the required amount of minerals and fibre to the body that will help you eliminate the discomforts and will help you follow keto diet with more ease. The potassium in green leafy veges will help you lose weight.
Tips to get into ketosis quickly
You have to follow the guidelines of a ketogenic diet and stick to it.
Eat 20 to 50 grams of carbs per day (track your carbs).
Be aware of hidden carb sources.
Concentrate on meats and vegetables.
Increase your intake of high quality fats.
Use a medium-chain triglyceride supplement (MCT) a type of fat that’s rapidly absorbed by your body and easily converted into ketones.
Try intermittent fasting.
Eat real foods, keep it simple, no keto supplements are required.
Do not make a sudden drastic change in your routine, instead stick to your routine as much as possible, and just change your food.
Plan your meals, write what to buy before shopping.
Keep a digital kitchen scale to measure your food intake.
Keep snacks on hand, like cheese, vegetables, nuts (almonds and walnuts)
Timing between meals is very important, keep at least 5 hours gap.
Sleep early to avoid late night snacking.
Know how to differentiate between head hunger and stomach hunger.
Handle your emotion in ways other than food.
How to get started with Keto Diet:
Make sure you are not travelling during first 2 weeks of starting this diet.
Be in home environment, so that you don’t eat the wrong foods as you may have certain food craving in the first 2 weeks.
Do not cut down carbs drastically, start gradually by reducing some amount of carbs while adding more fats and proteins to your diet. This will help eliminate sugar craving as you can feed yourself little amount of foods that you crave initially, and also make you transition smoothly.
You can expect some amount of changes in your blood sugar (insulin) for the first couple of days.
Always have meal prep in the beginning.
Store enough ketogenic foods and snacks at home.
Keep protein low and fat high in the first week (for every 1 gram of protein, consumed 3 grams of fat
(Only first week keep fat very high)
Coffee and caffeine: coffee is beneficial for keto diet. Helps to produce more ketones (Without sweet only cream)
Avoid dairy completely for 2 weeks, have almond milk instead.
Some people quit keto diet because they have some blood insulin issues in the beginning, to combat that sacrifice on dairy foods.
You do feel a bit run down, headaches, fatigued like you feel when you don’t have enough electrolytes.
That happens because you lose lot of water weight in the beginning. For every 1 gram of carb you are holding 3 grams of water. So without carb you lose water from your body and with that you lose electrolyte, to make up for that loss, increase your potassium and magnesium.
Keep fats high enough, electrolyte high and sprinkle salt in your water, to feel better.
Go for moderate workout instead of high intensity.
Who should avoid keto diet?
Pregnant women, children and teens should avoid Keto diets.
People who have some health conditions like kidney, liver and pancreatic disease should not follow this diet.
Those who have diabetes should consult their doctor before starting ketogenic diet.
If you have chronically high cholesterol keto diet may not be for you.
Others who have rare disorders that make it difficult to metabolize ketones,(chemicals your liver makes, when it burns fat for fuel)
Both Vegan and non-vegan Ketogenic diets have been linked to health benefits, including weight loss and lower risk of heart disease and diabetes.
You have to constantly be on track and make sure you don’t go below your calorie requirement at any point. Do not try to eat less as that will bring your energy levels down taking a toll on the efficacy of the diet.
I will be sharing Vegan and Non-vegan diet plans in my upcoming posts.