If you are health conscious and like to stay in shape, the term keto diet is not news to you. Keto diet is usually adopted for quick weight loss and fat burning. Although started in 1920’s and 30’s keto diet became a famous health trend in somewhere 2015-16.
Most people wonder if they should go on this diet. Like any diet plan, one has to understand the pros and cons. Every body type is different and it is better to consult dietetic or doctor before considering any weight loss programs.
How it Works?
Less than 50 grams of carbs a day saturates the blood sugar in 3-4 days. Thus, expediting the process to break down protein and fat for energy which leads to weight loss. Keto diet helps you lose more weight in the first 3-6 months.
It is also believed that due to carb shortage, body doesn’t produce insulin hormone fast. Thus, lower insulin levels may help you protect from some kinds of cancer, heart disease and acne. Although, more research is being conducted on these medical benefits. However, if you have type 1 diabetes it is not advisable for you.
Different types of Keto Diet
- Standard ketogenic diet: Low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat diet. The complete diet makes up of 75% fat, 20 % protein and 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet: Primarily use by body builders and athletes, this diet involves periods of higher-carb refeeds.
- Targeted ketogenic diet: Famous among body builders, this diet allows you to add carbs around workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet: This is similar to a standard ketogenic diet with more protein. The ratio is often 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Weight Loss with Ketogenic Diet
Keto diet is an effective way to lose weight along with lower risk factors. Research also points out that by far it is works well to certain body types. Unlike many diet plans, keto doesn’t involve cutting down on food. With high percentage intake of protein and fat it doesn’t leave you hungry. High protein intake is in fact work wonders with numerous health benefits such as:
- It reduces appetite and hunger levels,
- Increase muscle mass and strength,
- Good for bones, especially for women,
- Reduces cravings and late-night snacking,
- Boosts metabolism and increases fat burning resulting weight loss,
- It is really good for patients suffering from high blood pressure,
- Helps maintain the weight loss and,
- Helps you stay fit as you age.
How does keto diet work for weight loss?
The mechanism behind weight loss in ketogenic diet plan helps in quick fat burning even when you eat full. Some of the key aspects apart from faster fat burning for maximum protein intake include:
- Food elimination, limiting carb intake also limits food options. Which further leads to less calorie intake.
- This diet helps you feel full, which means your appetite will be suppressed.
- It drastically improves insulin sensitivity, which can help improve fuel utilization and metabolism.
- With decreased fat storage, it reduces lipogenesis – the process of converting sugar into fat.
Other Health Benefits of Keto Diet
Keto diet was originally used to treat neurological diseases such as epilepsy. Apart from that, keto diet may reduces or slow down progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
- As it reduces fat, it brings down cholesterol levels, blood pressure and blood sugar – main culprits for heart diseases.
- Reduced insulin levels, play vital role in treatment of polycystic ovary syndrome
- One animal study found that, it can help aid faster recovery from injuries.
One cannot be certain of all these findings and research is in process to prove effects for sure.
What Not to Eat:
Keto diet is all about cutting down on carbs. However following foods should be avoided completely:
- Soda, fruit juice, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, anything which has high level of sugar.
- Wheat-based products, rice, pasta and cereal along with beans such as Peas, kidney beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- All fruit and root vegetables such as, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips. Small portions of berries like strawberries is an exception.
- Intake of processed vegetable oils, mayonnaise should be limited.
- Alcoholic beverages and sugar-free diet foods is strict no.
What You Should Eat?
To increase the protein and healthy fat intake, you should focus on:
- Red meat, steak, ham, sausage, bacon, chicken and turkey. Fatty fish such as salmon, tuna and mackerel are good.
- Pastured or omega-3 whole eggs, butter and cream are must haves. Unprocessed cheese (cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella) is also good addition.
- Almonds, walnuts, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds will help curb the appetite while keeping you full.
- Avocados are great protein source and you can easily introduce them in salads or intake as guacamole.
- Focus on healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
- Most green veggies, tomatoes, onions, peppers, etc. prepared in condiments like salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices is good.
Great but Not for Everyone
Keto diet is good but not for everyone. It works really well for people who are overweight, diabetic and with metabolism issues. It is a long-term commitment; many people give up in 3-6 months as it restricts certain food and your body will crave for those.
Cutting down on carbs at once can have negative impact on the body. All nutrients are important and especially when you are a vegetarian, it is impossible to cut down on vegetables at once. A proper formulated ketogenic diet should have green leafy vegetables.
Keto Diet Risks
According to study by dietitian Kathy McManus, director of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital there are potential keto risks:
- Not eating a wide variety of vegetables, fruits, and grains, may risk for deficiencies in micronutrients, vitamins B and C.
- Excess fat could make any existing liver conditions worse. The kidneys help metabolize protein, and diet may overload them.
- People usually feel constipation due to low fibrous foods like grains and legumes.
- The brain needs sugar from healthy carbohydrates to function. Low-carb diets may cause confusion and irritability.
As mentioned above it is advised to consult a registered dietitian before ever attempting a ketogenic diet. Whatever your goal weight loss, health benefits your aim should be to live healthy and live impressive!