Weight loss and health consciousness have made people try various types of diets and among them, the most popular one these days is the keto diet. For weight watchers who are ready to make a commitment to a healthy lifestyle, a keto diet has many benefits.

What is the Keto Diet and How Does It Work?

A keto diet also called the ketogenic diet is low in carb and rich in proteins and fats. The carbs depending on the individual can be completely removed or reduced. When on this diet a person limits the quantity of the carbs intake to about 50 gms per day as compared to the 130 gms recommended in a normal diet. However, instead of carbs fat intake is tripled. Under normal circumstances, the body uses carbs to convert to energy, in the case of the keto diet, the body uses the fat for energy as the carbs content in the food is low. The body breaks the fat into ketone bodies and this state is called ketosis. It is a metabolic state where the body starts to use fat as energy instead of carbs. Diet and fasting can help you to enter this metabolic state quicker than other ways.Due to the presence of enough fat stores in the body and since even brain cells accept ketones as an energy source, it can be successful in weight loss. Moreover, the fat that gets burned is from the adipose tissues and hence there is greater weight loss. It is also believed that people who follow this diet have better mental clarity as the mind works efficiently due to ketosis.

Benefits of the Keto Diet

There are many benefits to following the Keto diet plan. Some of them are:

  • Weight loss: One of the primary benefits of following this diet is weight loss. More proteins and fats are consumed and less or no carbs are included. Due to this, there is a reduction in appetite as proteins make the stomach full. Since one of the main reasons people give up on dieting is hunger, as there is no such feeling, the Keto diet is more beneficial.
  • Prevents many diseases: Initial studies show that adults who have metabolic diseases find this diet more beneficial for health. There is also research being conducted on the efficacy of this diet on diseases like type 2 diabetes. Keto meals also help in reducing triglycerides and reduce the risk of heart attack and other heart diseases.
  • Reduces blood pressure: Kidney failure, stroke, and heart disease are some of the risks of high blood pressure. Elevated blood pressure is due to a high intake of salt and having keto snacks instead of the usual fried and salty snacks helps in reducing blood pressure.
  • Helps cancer therapy: Keto diet plan along with chemotherapy can prove an effective way to treat cancer.
  • Reduces PCOS symptoms: Women with lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes are at a greater risk of infertility-related conditions like PCOS. Following a keto diet weight loss plan, greatly helps in weight loss and its related issues.

Keto Diet for Beginners

Now that you know the benefits of a keto diet, there are many different types of this diet and one should make a keto diet plan knowing what type to follow. Some of the versions of this diet are:

  • Standard Keto diet, SKD: This is a high-fat diet with 70% of the food is fat where the carb consumption is as low as 10%. A moderate-protein diet of 30% of the diet should be consumed in this version. This is the common keto diet for beginners and the most recommended as it is also the most researched keto diet.
  • Targeted Ketogenic diet, TKD: In this diet, carbs can be consumed after a workout.
  • High Protein Keto diet: This is similar to SKD, but the consumption of protein is increased to a ratio of 60%, fat to 35% and carbs are only 5%.
  • Cyclical Ketogenic diet, CKD: In this version of the keto diet, there will be periods where 5 days will be of keto diet plan and the next 2 days will be the high carb. This and the TKD are mainly used by athletes or bodybuilders.

List of Keto Diet Foods to Include

If you are looking for a keto diet for weight loss here are some foods that are allowed:

  • Vegetables and fruits: A dietician would recommend Carrots, radish, french beans, broccoli, okra, mushrooms, tomato, spinach, mustard leaves, ginger, garlic, onion, bottle gourd, mint, and coriander. Fruits like avocado, muskmelon, berries, lemon, and orange contain vitamins, minerals, and fibre and at least 1 serving of these should be included. These are high fibre and low-fat foods that can satisfy your hunger pangs. Include 4 to 5 servings of these veggies in your keto diet. There are many vegetarian keto diet recipes that you can follow.
  • Nuts: Since nuts like cashews, pistachio, walnuts, peanuts, and seeds like chia, pumpkin, etc are rich in fat they can be consumed as keto snacks. Include a maximum of 1 serving of these nuts. Butter, ghee, or cream of almost 50 gm can be added to the diet.
  • Legumes: Legumes like Rajma, Chana, horse grams, and dals are rich in protein and low in carbs and at least ┬Ż to 1 serving should be added to the keto diet.
  • Dairy products: High fat, moderate protein, rich in calcium, and low carbs dairy products like paneer, cheese, yoghurt, fresh cream, and butter can be added to your diet. Paneer recipes are ideal for a vegetarian keto diet with dairy products.
  • Non-vegetarian foods: Eggs, fish like Salmon, Chicken, mutton, pork, and ham are some of the non-veg foods that can be consumed. A peri-peri chicken salad is a perfect meal for someone on the keto diet. A Keto Chicken Lettuce Wraps Recipe is an ideal keto diet.

Keto Diet Foods to Avoid

  • Sugar: Cut out all types of sugar from your diet which includes juices, sports drinks, vitamin water, etc. Avoid sweets like chocolates, sweets, doughnuts, etc, and also hidden sugars in sauces, condiments, and packaged goods.
  • Starchy food: Bread, rice, pasta, potatoes, and wholegrain products are starchy and should be avoided.
  • Beer: It is rich in carbs and is a big no.
  • Fruits: Those who have high sweet content should be avoided but it can be had once in a while.

Sample Keto Meals Plan

  • Breakfast: Eggs cooked in butter, coffee, black or with milk but without sugar. Fruits like avocado or berries and a smoothie with spinach and cream.
  • Lunch: A peri-peri chicken salad or grilled vegetables with cheese, vegetable salad with olive oil dressing, and iced tea.
  • Keto snacks: A trail mix of nuts without sweetened items.
  • Dinner: One can include keto butter chicken, tandoori chicken, omelette.

Side Effects of Keto Diet?

There are many benefits of a keto diet but there are certain risks involved too so it is not for everyone. Keto diet foods consumed in the long-run can lead to nutritional deficiency, excess protein accumulation, confusion, kidney stones, irritability, mood swings, constipation, headaches, fatigue, low blood sugar, nausea, and worsening of symptoms of certain pre-existing liver conditions. It can also lead to a condition called keto flu. People who have the below conditions should avoid this diet:

  • Eating disorders
  • Have insulin dependency
  • Kidney disease
  • Pancreatitis
  • Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Contact the best nutritionist before you start this diet and learn about the side effects of keto diet Depending on your current situation one can follow a strict keto diet if on weight loss so that it can be effective, but if you are looking to maintain weight then a more liberal diet can be followed. Also, take into account your relationship with the food so that it does not affect your mental health, and then decide on the level of carb reduction.

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