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Keto diet is a special diet that predominately contains fat, some amount of protein, and only a minimal proportion of carbohydrates.
• Fat- 55% to 60% (up to 75%)
• Protein- 10% to 35%
• Carbohydrate- 5% to 10%
This is different from the average diet of a person where the carbohydrates form about 50%-60% part of their meal.
In the keto diet, the carbohydrate consumption is reduced to less than 50 grams a day, which stimulates your body to go into a metabolic state known as Ketosis. In this state, your body becomes highly efficient in utilizing fat and becomes resistant to the storage of fat.
It was first devised as early as 1921, to treat patients with epilepsy, and was successful for a decade until the antiepileptic agents were discovered. However, the diet has gained popularity again in recent years. It is now known to play a role in reducing weight and controlling certain medical conditions.
There are a few types of keto diets which you can use according to your suitability. All these diets have high-fat content, but differ slightly in the amount of other constituents and the way it is consumed.
There are four types of diets as mentioned below.
This is the commonest and most widely researched diet. It contains high fat, about 70%, moderate protein about 10-20%, and very low carbs about 5-10%.
This is similar to a standard keto diet, but has more amount of protein. It contains about 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. The high protein content can be helpful in muscle building.
This diet involves a cyclical exchange between the low-carb ketogenic diet and a high-carb regular diet. For example, a5 day period of the low-carb keto diet is followed by a 2 days period of a high-carb diet.
This diet is mostly preferred by athletes or people who opt for training. It consists of adding additional carbs around the periods of a high-intensity workout.
The standard keto diet and the high protein keto diet are the two types that are extensively used. The other two types are recent additions and primarily used by athletes and bodybuilders.
Technically, the keto diet is called a ketogenic diet as it leads to the generation of ketone bodies, which provides energy to the body in place of glucose.
Ketone bodies are a good source of energy that provides more energy than the same amount of glucose. They are very well utilized by the heart, kidneys, muscles as well as brain to perform their function.
Obesity is a silent killer that kills about 2.8 million people each year. About 1.9 billion people in the world are overweight, which is just above 1/4th of the population. Obesity is associated with many life-threatening diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and even some cancers.
The ketogenic diet has proven highly effective in reducing weight and thus providing a healthier life.
Although most of the studies done are short term and the long term result needs to be studied more. However, the diet seems to work for a number of conditions.
Some of the advantages of a ketogenic diet include:
• Multiple studies have proved the keto diet to be effective in reducing weight and other associated health issues such as heart conditions.
• It also suppresses the feeling of hunger and improves the metabolic rate.
• Ketogenic diet reduces the blood sugar, which in turn decreases the insulin levels in the blood. This is important as insulin is associated with a few cancers.
• Early studies have shown the benefits of keto diet in cancer treatments. It is found to suppress tumour due to the oxidative stress it produces in cancer cells.
• Ketogenic diet promotes eating healthy fat. This helps promote the quantity of good cholesterol(HDL) and reduces the deposit of bad cholesterol(LDL).
• Studies suggest the diet helps reduce the unwanted cholesterol from the body; it promotes a healthy lifestyle and reduces the risk of heart-related complications in life.
• The efficiency of this process depends on the consumption of clean and excellent source of food, thereby aiding the process.
• Ketogenic diet produces β-hydroxybutyrate that improves the functioning of the brain. It also enhances memory function.
• Studies done on Alzheimer’s disease have shown less effect of the disease upon exposure to ketogenic diet.
• Clinical trials for epilepsy patients have been conducted with a ketogenic diet for over a year, and it has shown considerable improvement in patients for a longer duration of time.
• It also helped most of the patients reduce the consumption of medicines and remain seizure-free for longer durations.
• The consumption of essential fatty acids has shown that people have a lesser chance of contracting Parkinson’s disease.
• A study suggests a 43% reduction in the disease for the participants who enrolled in the trials. It has shown moderate to substantially good improvements in these people.
• This condition causes formation of tiny cysts in the ovary and also leads to excess secretion of male hormones in the body.
• A low carb diet helps in PCOS by managing various associated factors such as:
– Level of free testosterone
– Level of fasting insulin in obese women
• Major problems associated with acne are often related to consuming excess amounts of carbohydrates and an imbalance in the blood sugar levels.
• The consumption of a ketogenic diet maintains the blood sugar levels, which reduces the risk of breakouts or acne.
• Studies show positive results of the consumption of a low carb diet on acne.
• Ketogenic diet reduces the levels of glucose in the body, which in turn reduces the secretion of insulin, enabling better control over the sugar levels.
• The results from an NCBI study show that 95% of the patients who completed the clinical trial on a ketogenic diet either reduced or eliminated the need for medication. In comparison, only 65% percent following a low glycemic index diet was able to do the same.
• Weight is a major factor associated with diabetes and results from trials suggest a decrease in the average weight of about 1.6kg within 14 days of the diet, as well as a reduction in cholesterol levels. An increase in the sensitivity of insulin also improved by a factor of 75%.
Ketosis is achieved when the body starts using ketone bodies (fat) as a source of fuel instead of glucose from carbohydrates. Various things that help you to achieve ketosis are:
One essential aspect of the ketogenic diet is that it is a low carb diet. Here, you need to restrict the intake of carbs to less than 50 grams a day. This ensures you reach the state of ketosis.
To maintain such a low carb intake is a challenge for most of us. Most of the food we consume regularly have carbs as a major constituent.
The content of carb per gram of food is more important than the quantity of food.
|Low Carb||High carb|
|Vegetables: A plate full of vegetables such as green leafy etc., can contain about 20grams of carbs||Starchy vegetables like potatoes only 3 of them can be more than 50grams|
|Egg&Meat: 30 Eggs contain up to 20 grams of carbohydrate||Grains such as wheat or rice- A cup of pasta or rice has a similar amount of carbs|
|Fruits: A medium-sized banana contains about 27 grams of carbs|
Fat is the critical difference between maintaining a sustained keto diet and starvation.
• In the keto diet, the energy typically obtained from carbs is supplied from fat instead. You should make sure to consume enough fat to keep the body functioning.
• Eating fat-heavy food ensures you stay full for longer on a reduced amount of calories
Good fat sources like butter, oils, and cheese or avocado can be consumed regularly.
Although the keto diet is a fat-heavy diet, one needs enough protein
• To sustain the muscles and
• Curb the feeling of hunger.
Starvation of protein could lead to muscle loss and other issues.
You can consume about 1 to 1.5grams of protein/kg of body weight depending on the intensity of the physical activity.
Eating when not feeling any hunger or eating excess food as snacks
• It can prevent one from being on ketosis.
• Moreover, it can lead to extra carbs, which can put you off the diet.
Keto snacks: If necessary, there are various keto snacks available, and one can consume them to maintain their diet. But it is best to avoid snacking regularly and to manage meals accordingly.
Although exercise is not necessary to reach ketosis, regular exercise can
• Maintain health, and
• Burn a few extra pounds of fat.
Losing extra weight has also proven to be beneficial in conditions like type II diabetes.
Incomplete sleep and high levels of stress can lead to an
• Imbalance in the sugar levels, which might affect the diet.
• Increase your craving for food, especially sugary food items.
Although it alone cannot help reach ketosis you need to consume a certain amount of calories. You can opt for intermittent fasting and thereby increase the fat loss.
There are a few signs that can suggest a state to ketosis. Some signs are prominent, while others are a little less prominent but can be considered a positive sign as a result of proper ketosis.
• Excess urination or secretion of fluids from the body can be an indication of ketosis. Acetone produced during ketosis is often flushed out in urine. One can even use strips to check urine for the presence of acetone.
• Bad breath is a positive sign of ketosis. Due to the generation of acetone, which tries to escape with the breath, it is a common indication that one has achieved ketosis. Using sugar-free gum or regular brushing can solve this problem.
• Feeling of thirst can also be associated with ketosis. Due to excess urination, one might continuously require water. It is crucial to consume the required amounts of water in this state and also some electrolytes like sodium.
• Blood samples can also be taken to ensure that one has achieved ketosis. Blood sugar levels usually drop when one reaches the state of ketosis. Blood can be tested for β-hydroxybutyrate which is used for energy production in ketosis.
• Weight loss is another indication of ketosis. Within the first week, excess carbohydrates and associated water weight is lost, which is a considerable amount of weight loss. One also loses fat continuously for as long as the state of ketosis is maintained, which reduced the weight further.
• Loss of appetite is common, and people who follow a keto diet often tend to feel less hungry and skip meals. Although the reason is unknown, it could be due to increased protein intake.
• One often feels short term fatigue due to a change in diet and less consumption of carbs. After the initial period of tiredness, people feel increased levels of energy and clarity. As ketones are suggested to be a good source of fuel for a healthy mind, clarity and better mental health can be linked to the production of ketones.
Due to sudden change of the source of energy in the body, one can experience a variety of symptoms, which usually tend to pass after a few days of regularity in the diet. Due to lower levels of carbohydrate, one might experience:
• Cramping in muscles
One of the most common complications one goes through includes Keto Flu. This occurs due to the rapid loss of body fluids lost during urination as the carbohydrate content reduction causes the loss of extra water and salt is retained in the body. Some symptoms include:
• Low blood sugar
• Lack of focus
This can easily be overcome with regular consumption of water and consuming the necessary electrolytes like sodium daily.
Ketogenic diet isn’t the best diet for everybody. One should always consult a doctor before starting the food and some people, as mentioned below, should avoid the diet altogether.
Pregnancy and Breast Feeding
• Mothers who are pregnant or breastfeeding should avoid the keto diet and consume a carbohydrate-rich diet.
• A low carb diet can affect the growth of the child and cause a lack of nutrients.
• It can also cause neural tube damage during pregnancy.
People on Medication
People who are on diabetes medication should avoid this diet and consult a doctor before doing so. Some medicines can cause an increase in acidity in the blood when coupled with a ketogenic diet.
Diabetes-I and Diabetes-II patients.
Patients suffering liver or kidney diseases.
People of age under 18.
If they suffer from serious mental health issues.
Someone undergoing recovery from surgery.
People who are underweight.
People facing eating issues or disorders.
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