By Dt. Hetal Chheda , Dietitian/Nutritionist
If you are on a mission to lose weight, the ketogenic diet or the keto diet is what most nutritionist will recommend. It is a diet that is low in carbohydrates. The idea behind this diet is to deprive the body of carbohydrates so that it produces ketones. The body enters a metabolic pathway, whereby fats stored in the liver are broken down to produce ketone bodies. This process of ketone synthesis is known as Ketogenesis. Thus, in the absence of carbohydrates, the body’s energy requirements are met using the ketone bodies, a state referred to as Ketosis.
A person on a ketogenic diet should consume more of;
- Vegetables: Spinach, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussel sprouts and lettuce. Include green leafy and above the ground vegetables as they are low in carbohydrates.
- Fruits and berries: Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, kiwi and avocados. Consume raspberries and blackberries in limited quantity.
- Walnuts, sunflower seeds and macadamia.
- Coconut oil, olive oil, avocado oil and macadamia oil.
- Fatty fish, coconut butter, cocoa butter, egg yolk, hard cheese (Cheddar, Feta, Parmesan) and soft cheese (Mozzarella, Colby, Monterey Jack).
- Vegetable oil, if used, should be cold compressed.
- Include more of saturated and monounsaturated fats into the diet.
On a ketogenic diet, one should avoid;
- Fruits: Apples, oranges, bananas and mangoes.
- Vegetables: Potatoes, tomato, eggplants, mushrooms and yams.
- Honey and maple syrup.
- Cereals, wheat, corn and rice.
- Avoid processed polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and trans fats.
One needs to drink water at regular intervals of time. Physical activities like exercise, jogging, morning walks are a must.
The ketogenic diet should be low in carbohydrates, moderate in proteins and contain high amounts of fats.
Benefits of a Ketogenic diet:
Low in carbohydrates, the ketogenic diet takes care of many ailments and medical conditions.
Weight management: The diet is a blessing for those who are struggling to get rid of stubborn fats. Deprived of carbohydrates, particularly blood glucose, the fats (in the liver), are broken down to provide the body with ketones (an alternate source of fuel) so that the body can function normally. In doing so, it helps the body get rid of unwanted fats.
- The diet helps to maintain the insulin level.
- A diet low in carbohydrates plays a pivotal role in controlling the blood sugar level.
- The high-fat ketogenic diet helps to minimize the hunger pangs and food cravings, without compromising on the energy quotient.
- A ketogenic diet goes a long way to treat epilepsy successfully.
- In addition to being a fat-burning fuel, ketones are also brain fuels. Thus, the diet helps to improve concentration and mental focus.
- Carbohydrates can spell doom for your skin. A high-fat (ketone) diet reverses the damage, reducing the instances of acne, skin rashes, lesions and other skin problems drastically.
- A keto diet brings about a significant increase in the Good Cholesterol or HDL level while lowering the concentration of LDL in the body.
The ketogenic diet is a blessing, but only when recommended by your physician (nutritionist or a dietician).