If you are planning to lose a little weight or trying to fit into that one dress you bought or you just want a healthier lifestyle, dieting is the word you might have heard everyone mentioning. But dieting without a proper meal plan or proper schedule can cause malnutrition. Keto diet is the newest addition to the ever changing diet vocabulary.
The ketogenic diet is a high in fat, low in carbohydrate and adequate in protein-diet that is primarily used to treat epilepsy and reduce the signs of epilepsy in children.
In this diet, the body is forced to burn fats instead of carbohydrates which would turn into glucose- a form of energy fuel for the brain. By replacing the carbohydrates, the liver is forced to turn the fats into fatty acids and ketone bodies (water soluble molecules). These ketone bodies replace the glucose and fuel the brain. Higher level of ketone production in blood is termed as Ketosis which is effective against Diabetes and Epilepsy. Keto diet is popular for its effects in decreasing blood sugar and insulin levels, and many other beneficiary conditions for health.
Keto diet shares similarity with Atkin’s diet which is a low in carbohydrate fad diet. Since Atkin’s diet has an increased risk in heart disease if followed, that is why this diet is not that sought after.
What Are Ketone Bodies?
When there is an insufficient amount of insulin in the blood, the body needs to break down fat instead of glucose for energy. Breakdown of fat produces ketone bodies which are used instead of glucose as source of energy. The ketone bodies (acetone, acetoacetate, and β-hydroxybutyrate) are acidic chemicals. They build up in the blood stream and then spill over into the urinary bladder passing onto the urine. The body can also get rid of acetone through the lungs.
History Of Dieting As a Form Of Weight Loss
The word ‘diet’ was an invention from Ancient Greece but it was not based solely on weight loss. It was meant to represent a lifestyle around the foods, drinks and exercises. They strongly believed a healthy mind and body can lead to a healthy future- a phrase which is still in use till date.
In 600 A.D., some early Christians would starve themselves for the sole purpose of remaining holy. Those who did not follow suit would suffer from “Holy Anorexia”.
IN 1558, an Italian Nobleman named Luigi Cornaro lived on till the age of 102 and put his long life in the hands of a diet called “Immortality Diet” consisting of 340grams of food and 414ml of wine.
The first notably popular diet was termed “Banting”, named after the English mortician William Banting. William wrote a booklet in 1863 called “Letter on Corpulence, Addressed to the Public”, where he included a plan for diet he himself followed through. The diet included four meals a day, each consisting of meat, greens, fruits, and dry wine. He emphasized on avoiding sugar, sweets, food containing starch, beer, milk and other dairy products. This diet instruction was popular through the upcoming years and was a model for modern day diets.
Types Of Keto Diets
An article in “Diabetes.co.uk” states that there are many types of Keto Diets. Most of these are still under research and are not recommended to be followed by a person looking for a way to lose weight.
- Standard Ketogenic Diet– A standard ketogenic diet contains about 70-75% fat, 15-20% protein and about 5% carbohydrates. If grams per day are considered, the ratio should be about 25 to 50g of carbs, 60g of protein and about 150g of fat or more (depending on your BMI) each day.
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet– The targeted ketogenic diet is similar to standard ketogenic except, in Targeted keto diet carbohydrates can be consumed during extreme workouts. This diet is especially for Athletes who need proper carbohydrates to keep their muscular figure.
- Cyclic Keto Diet– Cyclic keto diet is a form of diet where you can go back and forth between being in ketosis and not being in it. In a week, 5 days are considered as keto days and the rest two days are non-keto days. Carbohydrate rich food can be consumed during these non-keto days to prevent Malnutrition and muscle sag. About 50% carbs can be consumed during non-keto days.
- High Protein Keto Diet– In this version of the keto diet around 120g of protein and 130g of fats are consumed every day. The consumption of carbs still being at 5-10% . This approach might not result in proper ketosis as protein can also turn into glucose. So, the standard keto diet is still considered the better option out of these.
Ketogenic Diet And Plans To Follow
Since a standard ketogenic diet contains about 70-75% fat, 15-20% protein and about 5% carbohydrates, here is a list of food items known to have the lowest amount of carbs possible:-
- Meats: Red meat, lamb, ham, sausage, chicken and turkey are said to contain zero carbs.
- Fishes: Such as salmon, trout, tuna, Rohu also have zero carbs in them.
- Eggs: omega-3 whole eggs are also zero carbs as well.
- Butter: High saturated fat content with almost zero carb.
- Cheese: Unprocessed cheese such as cheddar, goat, cream, blue or mozzarella have about 2% carbohydrate content.
- Seeds and Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, coconuts, cashew, sunflower seeds, Pumpkin seeds, etc. are high in micro-nutrients low in carbohydrates.
- Oils: extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil are carb free.
- Vegetables: Most green veggies have low to zero carbs, tomatoes, onions; peppers also have low carb, etc.
- Condiments: Condiments like salt, pepper and various healthy herbs and spices are carb free.
- Beverages: Water, Green tea, carbonated water, black sugar-free coffee or full fat heavy cream coffees are carb-less beverage options.
Foods You Should Avoid When On A Keto Diet
- Food with High Sugar Content: Soda, fruit juices, smoothies, cake, ice cream, candy, chocolates, etc.
- Grains or food with starch: Wheat products, rice, pastas, cereals, etc.
- Fruits: All fruits, except small amounts of berries like strawberries, blueberries.
- Beans or leguminous plants: Peas, kidney-beans, lentils, chickpeas, etc.
- Vegetables: Potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, etc.
- Some condiments or sauces: Sauces that contain sugar and unhealthy fats.
- Fats: processed vegetable oils, egg or veg mayonnaise, etc.
- Alcohol: Due to their high carb content, many alcoholic beverages can mess up your keto diet if consumed.
- Highly Processed Food: Highly processed foods are often high in carbs.
Although Keto diet is a modern westernized term, which has slowly made its way into India, it does not mean that a there is no Indianized version of the meal plans available. Listed below are two meal plans set for Indian Vegetarian or Non- Vegetarian Consumers.
Indian Keto Diet Plan For A Day (Vegetarian)
- A plate of Paneer Bhurji
- One glass of Avocado Smoothie
- 1 Bowl of Mixed Veg Salad (with Spinach, Capsicum, Mushrooms, Lettuce) – you can even add an Olive Oil Dressing.
- Or, A Bowl of Whole French Beans with Cheese.
- One Bowl of Spinach Soup with Button Mushrooms.
- Or, Try a Plate of Green Vegetable Salad with Paneer.
Beverages- Green Tea or Black Coffee and a handful of Almonds, peanuts etc. soaked in water the night before, to snack on.
Indian Keto Diet Plan For A Day (Non-Vegetarian)
- Egg Bhurji with Vegetables
- A glass of Avocado Smoothie
- Chicken Malai Tikka
- Or, A bowl of Fish Salad with Olive Oil Dressing.
- A plate of Shredded Chicken Breast with Vegetables
- Or, One plate- Fish Tikka with Lettuce
Beverages– Green Tea or Black Coffee and a handful of Almonds, peanuts etc. soaked in water the night before, to snack on.
Dieting can be hard and it can make you feel hungry all the time. So, here are some Keto Friendly Snack Recipes for you to make at home.
Malai Chili Flakes Paneer Balls
- ¼ th cup of mashed up paneer( indian cottage cheese)
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons of dry red chili flakes
- Combine the paneer and salt in a bowl and knead into dough.
- Divide dough in 4 equal parts making each one look like round balls.
- Roll the round balls in chili flakes and serve.
- Olive oil (2 tbsp)
- Mushrooms washed and cut into pieces (2 cups)
- Sea salt
- Black Peppers
- Heat olive oil in a griller pan or regular pan, and the cut mushrooms, salt and saute on a medium flame for 5 mins.
- Add pepper powder after switching off the flame and toss the mushrooms gently.
- Serve when hot.
- 200 grams of Cauliflower
- 2 tbsp Ghee
- 20 grams of Peanuts
- 5 grams of Ginger
- 50 grams of Onion
- 4-6 Curry Leaves
- 1 tbsp of Cumin Seeds
- 1 tbsp of Mustard Seeds
- 1 Green Chili (finely chopped)
- Coriander for Garnish purpose
- Blend the cauliflower in a food processor to get a sooji (semolina) type consistency.
- Head 2 tbsp of ghee in a frying pan and add in the mustard seeds and cumin.
- Once they start to sizzle add in the onion, curry leaves, ginger and chili and add in salt.
- Fry the onions till they are giving off a golden color.
- Add in the cauliflower mix and fry for a few minutes.
- Add a cup of water and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Keep checking and stirring every 5 minutes to ensure nothing sticks to the pan.
- Cook till the water dries and finish with fresh coriander garnishing.
Although these dishes may be easy to make and sound delicious, it is strongly recommended to consult with a board certified dietitian before introducing any dietary meals into your lifestyle as every person and their BMI (Body Mass Index) is different and self-diagnosis can lead to a lot of health related problems.
Health Benefits And Hazards Of Keto Diet
The Health Benefits Involving Keto Diet Are
- Eating a low-carb diet can reduce your appetite and this is very useful for obese people and people who suffer from tummy aches due to over eating.
- Keto diet can lead to a major weight loss in the first two weeks.
- Keto diets tend to be high in fat, which leads to a massive increase in blood levels of good HDL (High density lipoprotein) cholesterol.
- It can lower blood pressure.
- Keto diet is effective against metabolic syndrome which is a collection of symptoms including abdominal obesity, elevated blood pressure etc.
- It lowers blood sugar levels and insulin levels.
- It is therapeutic for several brain disorder diseases like:
- Epilepsy in children
- Parkinson’s Disease
- Seizures due to epilepsy
The Hazards Involving Keto Diet
According to the Medicine department of the University of Chicago there are many downsides of this keto diet plan. Being an all or nothing diet, people spend a lot of money on low- carbs items to fulfill their daily fat intake goals. Weight gain may often bounce back and add in more to your actual weight during this diet process. Consuming such excessive amounts of fats can involve the following risks:-
- Cause Low blood pressure
- Slow rate of growth in adolescent
- Kidney stones
- Nutrient deficiency
- Eating disorder
- Muscle Sag or loss
- Diarrhea can occur due to lack of fiber in your diet. The bile produced in the gallbladder is not enough to break down the excess amount of fat intake in your body.
- May cause harm to people already having conditions involving their pancreas, liver, thyroid and gallbladder.
- A person just starting their diet can experience a condition called “keto flu”, where symptoms like upset stomach, dizziness, decreased energy and mood swings are common occurrence. The transition from normal lifestyle to ketosis can cause many people to feel tired and lifeless all day.
This kind of dieting plan is especially not advisable to people suffering from Diabetes, Heart diseases, Hyper tension, Kidney diseases, people having High Cholesterol.
There is a higher risk of developing Ketoacidosis as a result of Keto diet. In this condition one experiences lower than normal pKa of Blood (i.e, the blood turning acidic) due to presence of Ketone bodies like acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate. The normal acid base homeostasis of the body is overwhelmed and the body hyperventilates to lower the carbon dioxide level in the body. The indications of acute acidosis include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and excessive urine production with ketonic odor due to acetone. Also, rapid heart rate, swelling of brain, decreased consciousness, sometimes coma and death.
Many dietitians and health experts do not recommend the Keto diet as it is not at all genuine and sustainable as it is antagonistic towards a balance diet which should include fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy products and multi-grains which have long term health benefits and would eventually lead to a healthy weight loss and proper BMI (Body Mass Index) maintenance without any health complications.
Celebrities and Influencers are always trying to find the next diet trend. These leads to people jumping into the next celebrity endorsed diet bandwagon without ever researching the actual health benefits of such diets. These kind of blind obsessions can lead to more harm than good. So, consulting a health professional when drawing up your own diet plan could benefit you more.