Keto diet is a diet which is high on fats, low on carbohydrates and includes medium proteins, following which the body starts consuming the ketone produced from the fat. These fats are used as the main source of energy unlike glucose which goes down due to low carbohydrates level. This phenomenon allows your body to make the most of the fat stores and gives you energy. It is also seen that during the initial days there is a quick weight loss due to water or muscle loss.
Eat fat to burn the fat? Sounds illogical, but it does works. Priya Aurora came down from 100 kg to 65 kg by just following Keto diet. “I would recommend the diet to anyone –professionals, working mothers or anyone who wants a makeover. The diet allows you to gorge on a vast range of food and doesn’t want you to skip conventional food,” says Aurora. Highly impressed by the diet she now writes diet tips, yummy recipes and gives Keto coaching on her blog ‘Keto For India’.
Usually, carbohydrates help to gain about 45-65 % of the calorie requirement, but keto drops it down to 5-10%. Keto helps the body to gain energy from fats instead of carbohydrates. Glucose from carbohydrates relates to obesity and cardiac diseases; whereas when fats are metabolized it results in ketones and the mode of metabolism is called ketosis.
Basically, the diet is about preparing your body to use fats as the primary source of energy. Deepti Mehta is a consultant dietician and a visiting faculty at P.D.Hinduja Hospital and has also been a dietician affiliated with prominent hospitals like St Elizabeth Hospital, S.L.Raheja Hospital and Shushrusha Hospital. She says, “Low-Carbohydrate, High-Fat (LCHF) diet asks for a restricted amount of daily carbohydrates intake. The diet calls for 70 per cent fats, 20 per cent proteins and 10 per cent carbohydrates. Anyone interested should do it under a doctor’s close monitoring as it needs to be customised based on individual’s height, weight and physical activity levels.” She further adds, “When on a diet the individual should monitor vitamins and mineral levels regularly.”
“The diet allows you to gorge on a vast range of food and doesn’t want you to skip conventional food.” –Priya Aurora (who lost 35 kg by following this diet)
With the growth of technology everything is available on a click, even a diet plan. “Barring the quick result, one may get tempted to try Keto diet, but that should be completely avoided. Like we don’t intake any medication without doctor’s advice, similarly no diet should be followed without the consultation of a dietician or a nutritionist,” says Mehta.
The Keto diet was introduced in 1924 by Dr Russell Wilder at Mayo Clinic, US for treatment of cancer, epilepsy and autism. The diet went out of fashion in the 1940s after the introduction of anti-seizure medications. But since the past few years, Keto has again been trending because of the hypothesis that fat helps to shed weight.
Geeta Shenoy, Clinical Nutrionist from Nutrition and Wellness Centre, describes Keto diet as too ‘extreme’ and is not a great idea for the lifestyle of modern people. She says, “Keto diet is highly impractical and needs monitored. It is a common dietary intervention for epilepsy when medicines don’t work. The calorie count is recommended as per age and gender. As we all know that it takes few days to gain weight but months to lose weight. And when you are thinking about long term then instead of taking shortcuts I would recommend people to go slowly but carefully and choose a healthier option.”
Though the diet allows you to gorge on a vast range of food products but following the diet means saying goodbye to refined carbohydrates and refined sugars. You can opt for fat rich food and healthy protein. The food helps you to eliminate glucose and reduce cholesterol level.
Ruchi Shah, a jewellery designer, is a vegetarian who followed Keto diet and lost 3 kg in six months. When quizzed her about the diet plan she says, “The diet is really affective and being a vegetarian didn’t stopped me from following the diet. I was allowed to eat vegetarian food that is high on fat such as paneer, tofu, coconut, berries, keto bread and muffins. The diet also had a good impact on my skin and hair. Though I lost only 3 kg but I dropped 2 sizes.” She pairs the diet with weight training as it enhances the result.
However, as tempting as it may sound, keto is a subjective diet. Dieters may even come across ‘Keto Flu’ which leaves them low in energy, nutrient deficiency, nausea or constipation. It is always recommended that follow the diet under a professional’s supervision.
What to eat?
- Grass-fed meat
- Pastured poultry
- Clarified butter, ghee
- Wild caught fish, fatty fish or sea food
- Leafy greens or vegetables like radish, asparagus, zucchini, cucumber
- Black tea/coffee or tea with coconut milk
- Lemon and lime juice
- You may occasionally eat tomatoes, pepper, mushrooms, berries, coconut, olives, eggs, plain yoghurt, cottage cheese, almonds, pistachio, cashew nuts, walnut and seeds –pumpkin, sunflower and sesame.
What not to eat?
- Farmed fish
- Processed foods
- Artificial sweeteners
- Refined oil
- Tropical fruit
- Diet soda