Edited by Pinki
If you have been on any health related website or read a health magazine, chances are you've come across as the term Keto. A ketogenic diet has gained so much popularity in the last few years that there is hardly anyone these days who hasn't heard of the term.
In this article, you find all the information you need to know about a keto diet and how you can adopt it. So let's get right to it and learn all about the wonder that is KETO.
What is Keto?
The word keto comes from the process of ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state of the human body in which the body starts to burn down fat to release energy.
As you may have already heard throughout your life that fat is the reserved energy source of the body.
The primary source of energy for the human body is glucose or carbohydrates. The body uses carbohydrates or carbs to provide energy for the functioning of the body.
But when the body does not have carbs, it starts using its reserve source for energy which is fat. When fat cells are broken down in the liver it produces ketones which serve as the fuel for the body.
The body goes through a similar process when you are fasting. When you don't eat anything all day the body starts to produce ketones. The body starts doing ketosis to provide energy. But since starving yourself forever is not an option, you can induce ketosis in the body by following a Ketogenic Diet.
What is Keto Diet?
A ketogenic diet is a diet which induces the process of ketosis in the body. It is achieved by cutting down the intake of carbs and increase fat intake. This way when the body does not get carbs to produce energy, it turns towards fat. In other words, a keto diet is a high fat, low carb diet.
How Did it Begin?
The induced use of ketosis to burn fat was introduced in the early 1920s. It was popular among doctors as a therapeutic measure against epilepsy. Before this, the patients have advised fasting, but since that was not a long term option doctors came up with a diet which had similar effects on the body as to when you fast.
A diet was created which was low in carbs and high in fats to induce ketosis.
This diet was then termed as a ketogenic diet. Initially, this diet was prescribed by doctors to children with epilepsy, but as more scientific advancements came to light new medications were introduced which led to anticonvulsant therapies and slowly ketosis diet left the limelight.
Until in the past 5-6 years, Ketogenic has emerged again as a method to reduce weight and burn fat.
How to Start Keto Diet?
To kick-start your ketogenic diet and start your ketosis metabolism you will have to make drastic changes in your diet depending on your current food intake. It is pretty straight forward; you have to eat very small amounts of carbs, some protein and a lot of fats.
But not just any fats. For those of you who may not know this, there are good fats and bad fats.
Bad fats are mostly trans fats and saturated fats. These fats are bad for your body as they increase your cholesterol, risk of type 2 diabetes and heart issues. The biggest danger we face from bad fats is that there are artificial trans fats which are even worse than trans naturally occurring trans fat.
Sleep is also a very important aspect of a keto diet. As it allows the body to get used to changes and increase the speed of washing out toxins and improves metabolism. Therefore it is necessary to not alter the sleep schedule and give your body enough time to rest.
Keto Diet for Beginners
While pursuing a ketogenic diet, your daily carb intake should be less than 50 grams a day to keep your body in ketosis mode.
To achieve that you will have to calculate the exact amount of carbs in every food item you eat. Track your daily intake in terms of macros so that you can notice the changes in your body more easily.
You can use various apps and websites to track your intake. They have pre-set inbuilt caloric value and macros of almost every food you can think of. They are very handy and easy to use as well.
In the beginning, you might find it difficult to keep a track of all the foods that are low in carbs and high in good fats but it will get easy with time as you will learn them by heart.
You can keep a chart of a list for easy reference in the starting phase of your diet.
Pro keto diet food list:-
All low carb vegetables. As a rule of thumb, all vegetables that grow below the ground are a no go as they have a lot of stored starch which translates to glucose and carbs.
You can eat some specific non-processed dairy products such as:
Fruits and Berries:
Since fruits are mostly sweets, you should avoid them except a few:
Since they're rich in fats and an integral part of most dishes:
Since dried nuts are a rich source of fats and are very tasty, you can gorge on all types of nuts and seed.
Drinks and Beverages
Here you will have to pay most attention since they’re not so easy to track:
Foods to avoid
Avoid all foods that are high in carbs and or sweetened such as:
The list of foods you can or can not eat is not limited to the above items of keto diet menu. Any food which is low in carbs or high in fat is okay to eat. You can find endless recipes and dishes which you can make using these ingredients and cook up a good tasting meal.
The most important aspect of any diet is to have fun while you’re doing it.
Benefits of Keto
The main reason as to why a ketogenic diet is so famous is because it has a lot of health benefits. Some of these health benefits are:
- 1Performance and Energy: Ketones are a great source of fuel for the mind. While on a ketosis diet the brain works with more efficiency and hence improving the mental and overall performance of the body. It increases energy levels in the body.
- 2Epilepsy: The thing which started it in the first place. It was and still is a great way to prevent and comfort patients with epilepsy. It allows people to use fewer medications and have better results.
- 3Weight Loss: Weight loss is one of the most visible and prominent features of a ketogenic diet. Not only does it have significant effects on your weight, but it also gives you healthier and glowing skin by getting rid of all the cellulite. Keto diet plan for weight loss results in decreasing insulin levels, generating ketones and boosting fat burning by consuming high fat , low carb and moderate protein.
- 4Heart Diseases: It reduces the level of bad cholesterol in your body and thus reduces the risk of many heart-related diseases. It drops the probability of a cardiac arrest to a very low level.
- 5Type 2 diabetes: With the decrease in sugar and glucose in the body due to the absence of carbs the blood sugar level drops majorly. There have been cases where people with type 2 diabetes don't even feel the need to take their daily medications to keep their sugar levels in check because of the keto diet.
- 6Physical Endurance: Ketogenic diet increase your endurance and stamina by clearing your blood vessels for better blood flow thus providing more oxygen to the whole body for recovery.
Although, in spite of all the attracting benefits of a ketogenic diet, it not suited for everybody. Since it involves a sudden change in your lifestyle by drastically cutting down on carbs, going through with ketogenic diet without proper supervision might have major repercussions.
Therefore, you should always consult with your doctor before adopting a keto or any diet for that matter. Especially if you already have pre-existing health issues.