In recent years, the ketogenic diet (also known as "keto diet") has become a nutritional buzzword and a popular lifestyle choice worldwide. But what exactly is the hype about and why has it become the talk of the hour? Is the ketogenic diet effective, and what are the advantages of following a ketogenic diet?
This article will take a closer look at each of these questions and provide you with evidence-based answers.
What Is Ketogenic Diet and How Does It Work?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet. On the ketogenic diet, fats account for 60-70 per cent of total daily calories, proteins account for 30-35 per cent, and carbohydrates account for 5-10 per cent. Thus, your body is forced into the metabolic state known as ketosis due to reduced carbohydrate intake while increasing fat intake.
Foods to Include
- Seafood – Salmon, Oysters, Shellfish
- Green and Leafy Vegetables – Broccoli, Cucumber, Lettuce, Olives, Spinach, Zucchini
- Yoghurt and Cheese
- Meat and Poultry
- Oils – Coconut oil, Olive oil
- Nuts and Seeds – Almonds, Pistachios, Walnuts, Cashews, Chia seeds, Flax seeds, Pumpkin seeds
- Black Coffee and Black Tea
Foods to Avoid
- Sugary Foods or Drinks – Soda, Candy, Ice-cream, Cookies, Fruit Juice
- Grains – Rice, Pasta, Cereal
- Fruits – Avoid all fruits except small portions of strawberries
- Beans and Legumes – Kidney beans, Lentils, Chickpeas
- Anything that consists high percentage of carbohydrates
What is Ketosis?
By adhering to the ketogenic diet plan, your body will achieve ketosis. This metabolic state occurs when your body uses ketones as its primary energy source rather than glucose to fuel itself.
You are in ketosis when your body uses fat instead of carbohydrates for energy (as typically happens when you eat food containing carbohydrates).
The ability to enter a state of ketosis can be beneficial when trying to lose weight or burn fat. You are forced to burn fat as fuel, specifically the fat in your "trouble areas," which has been stored in your body for an extended period as a means of survival.
Advantages of Keto Diet
A keto diet plan makes a conscious effort to cut back most on the easily digestible carbs, such as refined sugars, white bread/rice, soda, bakery items, etc.
Some of the significant benefits of the Keto Diet:
Increases the 'Good' Cholesterol Levels
HDL (High-Density Lipoprotein) levels are increased with a low carb diet. So, it is ironic enough to say that a low-carb (high-fat ketogenic) diet is an excellent way to increase HDL levels, which helps prevent heart diseases.
Controls the 'Bad' Cholesterol
High LDL (Low-Density Lipoprotein) levels are associated with the increased risk of heart diseases. Eating low-carb reduces the LDL level in the blood, which directly correlates to improving heart health.
Lowers the Triglycerides
Triglycerides are nothing but fat molecules! Higher triglycerides levels are associated with an increased risk of heart diseases. Therefore, a low-carb diet is an excellent method to reduce triglyceride levels.
Low-carb is also suitable for controlling insulin levels and lowering the spikes of blood sugar levels in the body and subsequent crashing of the sugar levels. Therefore, the ketogenic diet serves as a naturally effective treatment of type 2 diabetes.
Lose the Surplus Water Weight
We usually carry an extra weight in terms of stored water, especially if we are dehydrated. Therefore, if you want rapid weight loss, you can shed these extra pounds in the form of water weight quickly with the keto diet.
Prevent the Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a set of risk factors that significantly puts you at risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. A low-carb diet helps to reduce these risk factors causing metabolic syndrome and is one of the most effective ways to prevent any cardiovascular diseases and the associated complications.
When you consume a high percentage of fats in the low-carb ketogenic diet, the body adjusts to burn out the fat for energy requirement (this process is called ketosis). Also, eating foods rich in good fat, curbs the need to snack frequently or overeat.
Increases Mental Well-being
There are studies which confirm that a low carb keto diet results in boosting your mood. This helps in mental health and well-being, eventually leading to good physical health.
Rapid Weight Loss
You experience rapid weight loss by following a keto diet because a low-carb diet helps in removing the excess water weight and lowers your insulin levels. This means your kidneys start removing the excess sodium from the body, and most importantly, you can burn off the dreadful belly fat too in no time.
Can Supplements Help?
A ketogenic diet can be pretty challenging to maintain for someone who has never done it before. You are naturally programmed to have carbs and use glucose as a form of energy for daily activities, but when you try to manipulate it and make ketones your primary fuel source, your body may show resistance in the beginning. This is where most keto diets fail, and people are not able to continue.
A full spectrum stimulant-free fat burner like Ripcut from Epicvita would be helpful in this situation. It is a keto-friendly fat burner that helps you maintain your ketosis, curbs your appetite, and enhances your metabolism to help you achieve your fat loss goals.
The Bottom Line
The ketogenic diet is definitely worth it if you want to lose weight quickly or improve your metabolic health. But this is not something you want to opt for your whole life as carbs play an equally important role in your lifestyle as the other two macronutrients. Also, following a keto diet for a long time may have its drawbacks, such as it is not sustainable for most people lifestyles and preferences. Keto may also not be the best diet for you if you want to put on a good amount of muscle mass and compete. Therefore, consult with your doctor first about your eating patterns and goals before opting for a keto diet altogether.
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Kakodkar, P. (2020). Ketogenic Diet: Biochemistry, Weight Loss and Clinical Applications. Nutrition and Food Science International Journal, 10(2). https://doi.org/10.19080/nfsij.2020.10.555782