Ketogenic or keto diet has been the buzzword that has caught the attention of fitness enthusiasts. It is a high fat, low carb diet that helps you lose weight without compromising on your meals. Sounds too good to be true? Well, the keto diet does not make empty promises because it promotes a strict diet plan which reduces the fat content of the body. It does so by eliminating carbs, increasing fats and moderating proteins in your diet.
What Is Keto Diet & How Does It Work?
A keto diet requires you to reduce your daily carbohydrate intake to 20-50 grams. Since the body uses carbs to fuel itself, its lack will direct your body’s attention to the already available fat. The excess fat in your body gets used up during this diet, helping you reduce weight.
A high-fat diet may seem contradictory to what we have believed about weight loss so far. Common sense says that if fat is the problem due to its high-calorie content, eliminate that from your diet. But a keto diet uses fat to keep the body fuelled, without depriving it of nutrition. Eating more fats while reducing carbs and proteins lowers insulin in the body. Lower insulin does not let your body store the fat. So when you work out or go about your chores, you use up the consumed fat as ketones to fuel your body.
4 Noteworthy Benefits Of Keto Diet
Now that you know what is keto diet, let’s look at some advantages that it has over regular low fat-diets:
- Keto does not require you to skip meals or eat unsustainably small portions. It encourages dieters to eat all meals in proper portions. Less hunger means less binging. Since you will be full and satisfied after meals, you will not be taking snack breaks that significantly increase calorie intake.
- Since you do not have to stay hungry, there is less chance that you will lose patience and give up. This makes keto a sustainable diet that you can continue even after achieving your goal weight.
- The low-carb keto diet uses up visceral fat which is the fat that accumulates around your tummy. This is the most harmful kind of fat that causes illnesses in overweight people.
- Keto is also good for your heart because it reduces the production of triglycerides. These are fat molecules that are to blame for heart-related diseases. Low-carb and high-fat content in your diet also promotes the production of HDL, the ‘good’ cholesterol, improving heart health.
Hence, keto diet benefits are not restricted to efficient weight loss. They promote the overall health of the body and may even help in improving underlying conditions.
Is The Keto Diet Right For You?
Now that you are intrigued and wondering if you can get on a keto diet, consider the following:
- If you are struggling with obesity, keto may help you reset your metabolism. This will speed up the weight loss process. You can return to a normal or relaxed diet once you reach your goal weight.
- Due to its benefits for heart health, people with current heart conditions or with a genetic history of heart diseases should consider a keto diet.
- The ketogenic diet also helps in the reduction of insulin which may be beneficial for some diabetes patients. However, as a diabetic, you should consider consulting your doctor to ensure that adopting a keto diet will not hamper with your health. The same advice goes for pregnant women.
- If you have or are struggling with an eating disorder, it may not be advisable to go on keto. It may cause relapse if you are recovering.
- If you are a vegetarian, it may be tough to find foods that meet keto requirements. This is mainly because most vegetarian protein sources have carbs and starch in them. So you may have to stick to paneer and leafy greens.
8 Keto-Friendly Foods That You Must Include In Your Diet
This diet emphasises on the intake of the right kind of calories so that they only fuel your body and do not get deposited. These will come from consuming the right kind of keto diet foods. So here is a list of keto foods that you can enjoy:
Meat-eaters will have a great time with this diet as it allows you to eat all kinds of meats. Fish rich in fat is also recommended.
They have high Omega-3 content, which is good fat and can be consumed in various forms.
Greasy fats like butter, mayonnaise, healthy oils (olive, coconut or avocado) should be used while cooking.
Since you will be consuming a lot of fats, fibre should be an essential ingredient in your meals. This will help your liver with the pressure of digesting so much fat and also avoid constipation. You can do this by having at least 1 salad per day.
To keep your digestive system in shape, it is important to keep hydrated. Make sure you drink at least 4 litres of waters every day.
When you feel like snacking, pick up nuts like almonds and walnuts or seeds like chia, flax, and pumpkin. You can toss them up in a spice mix to make them tastier.
Use salt, pepper, oregano and all the good Indian herbs and spices to enhance your keto diet foods.
Stick to lime water, sparkling water, unsweetened coffee, and green tea.
5 Foods To Avoid During A Keto Diet
For foods to avoid, the rule of thumb is not to eat anything which has sugar or starch in it or is processed.
1. Sweet Fruits
Avoid fruits as they have high fructose content, which is a kind of sugar. Instead, you can have different types of berries.
Starchy grains (wheat, rice) and foods made from them (pasta, breakfast cereal).
3. Root Vegetables
Potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes should also be avoided as they are starchy.
You should cut peas, rajma, and certain dals out of your diet, as well as they, are starchy.
5. Processed Foods
Even if high in fat, they should be completely avoided as they contain a lot of carbs. Soda, chips, alcohol, ready-made sauces, processed vegetable oils, flavoured butter or mayo are all foods to avoid on a keto meal plan.
A Detailed Keto Diet Plan To Give You A Strong Start
Even if you know what to eat on keto diet and what to avoid, it may be confusing to come up with a detailed keto diet menu. So here is a model plan for keto diet for beginners to give you a strong start:
|Monday||Cheese omelette with veggies (no bread)||Chicken tikka/Paneer tikka (paneer does have a low carb content)||Veggie salad tossed in butter with a bit of pav bhaji masala|
Salami slices cooked in butter with herbs
|Tuesday||Veggie wrap (veggies or chicken stuffed rolled in lettuce or cabbage leaves)||Capsicum and peppers stuffed with spiced paneer||Avocado, cucumber, onion salad mixed in Greek yoghurt (or plain dahi)|
Keto bhel (muri tossed in spices with veggies)
|Wednesday||Boiled eggs topped with chaat masala and onions||Butter chicken (make sure that all ingredients are fit for keto) with keto naan||Mushrooms cooked in creamy garlic butter|
Dessert: whipping cream, dark cocoa, stevia mixed together
Boiled broccoli spiced with salt, pepper and herbs
|Thursday||Cocoa, peanut butter, almond milk mixed together in a shake||Cauliflower patties with yoghurt (curd/dahi) or a mint dip||Fried fish with a side of veggies||Paneer, shallow fried and served with homemade mint chutney|
|Friday||Scrambled eggs with sausages||Keto salad with boiled eggs and sliced chicken||Spicy roasted cauliflower with cucumber raita||Frozen strawberries|
|Saturday||Berry and fresh cream smoothie||Veg platter with paneer, mushrooms and bell peppers||Pan-seared fish with a side of veggie salad (capsicum, spinach, onions, bell peppers)||Roasted peanuts|
|Sunday||Keto poha||Chicken malai tikka|
Dessert: chia seed pudding
|Spinach omelette with a side of toasted seeds||Kebabs (seekh, shami, or any other kind) with mint chutney|
Now that you have a solid list of keto foods, here some pointers to keep in mind when making your keto diet plan:
- Avoid packaged ‘diet’ foods as they are highly processed and may contain hidden sugars.
- It is best to cook your own food as it is difficult to find keto diet foods easily and economically.
- Distribute foods across your keto diet plan such that you intake either maintenance calories (required to maintain current weight) or fat-loss calories (required to lose weight) and not more.
- Avoid milk completely (it has lactose and carbs) but you can have cheese and paneer in small portions.
FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions
Q. How long should I do keto?
A. Keto diet for beginners can ideally be followed for three months continuously. You can then switch to a low carb, low-fat diet and take up keto again if you feel like it.
Q. Will I gain back all the weight once I get off keto?
A. Even after you get off a keto diet, you will have to limit the intake of carbs and processed foods. This will ensure that you do not overshoot your maintenance calorie intake.
Q. What immediate changes will I notice when I get on this diet?
A. You will see a dramatic reduction in weight in the first week, which is the water weight that you lose. After that, a sustained keto diet will help you consistently lose belly fat and inches at your waist. Women with heavy breasts will also notice a reduction in the side bulges and breast fat.
Q. Will changing to this diet have an effect on my mood?
A. Once you begin this diet, you may have a period of 2-3 days where you will have a heavy head, may feel fatigued and nauseated, and have a bad mood. This is called ‘keto flu’ and is a side-effect of your body getting used to the new diet, it is not something to worry about. It lasts for a short window after which you will feel perfectly fine throughout your diet.