NUTRITION
November 23rd, 2020
7 mins read

Everything You Need To Know About Keto Diet

A ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that conditions the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.

Given that the keto diet is based on a low-carbohydrates principle, there are several foods you simply shouldn’t consume

Given the complexity of this nutritional plan, don’t experiment with it without professional guidance.

When it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight, there are numerous approaches you can follow. Among the safest, most effective, and sustainable measures is to adopt a tailored meal structure that helps you achieve your desired goals. Over the years, various weight-loss diets have risen to popularity and have been adopted by the masses to shed kilos. While some of these are healthy, others have been proven to be fad diets that do more harm than good. Among the more popular ones for weight loss in recent years is the keto diet. You may be surprised to know that what was once used as an age-old form of therapy for epilepsy is now a recommended nutrition plan for those with the goal of losing weight quickly.

Additional Read: Top Myths On Weight Loss

However, keto nutrition isn’t for everyone and should only be undertaken with professional guidance. This is because it is restrictive in practice and requires a proper nutritional balance to deliver its desired effect without any side effects. For this reason, even when opting for this diet plan for beginners, it pays to have the keto diet explained to you beforehand so that you’re familiar with the principles that guide it.

For a clear answer to the common question, ‘What is a keto diet?’ and to learn about the other important factors that define it, read on.

What is the keto diet?

Simply put, a ketogenic diet is a high-fat, low-carb diet that conditions the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. During ketosis, fat is efficiently used as energy as it is converted to ketones in the liver. These ketones are then used to provide energy for the brain. Healthline Media outlines 4 main types of ketogenic diets, and they are as follows.

  1. Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD): 75% fat, 20% protein, 5% carbohydrates
  2. Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD): 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days
  3. High-protein Ketogenic Diet: 60% fat, 35% protein, 5% carbohydrates
  4. Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD): Allows liberal consumption of carbohydrates before or after a workout and otherwise follows the SKD skew

Apart from these major types of keto diets, you may come across other combinations such as a very low carb ketogenic diet, calorie-restricted keto diet, or MCT keto diet, which focuses on getting fats from medium-chain triglycerides usually found in foods like coconut oil.

What are the benefits of a keto diet?

Besides the fact that a ketogenic diet works well for weight loss, there are other potential health benefits associated with it. Keto diets may help:

  • Reduce seizures
  • Relieve PCOS symptoms
  • Protect the brain and its function
  • Control blood sugar, reducing the risk of certain cancers
  • Improve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease
  • Aid recovery from brain injury

Which foods can you consume on a keto diet?

From the outside looking in, this diet may seem indulgent since it is centered on high-fat, high-protein foods, many of which are usually demonised for their unhealthy nature. However, given how this diet works, these foods can work favourably if consumed in a controlled manner. Here are the foods you should consume when on a keto diet.

Low-carb vegetables

Tomatoes, onions, greens, peppers

Meat

Red meat, white meat, bacon, ham, turkey, and other unprocessed meats

Eggs

Boiled, fried, omelettes, scrambled

Avocados

As guacamole or plain

Cheese

Unprocessed and cottage

Cream or butter

High-fat dairy

Condiments

Salt, pepper, and herbs

Fatty fish

Salmon, tuna, mackerel, and trout

Oils

Avocado, olive, and coconut

Nuts and seeds

Walnuts, almonds, pecan, chia seeds, flax seeds

Which foods should you avoid when on a keto diet?

Given that the keto diet is based on a low-carbohydrates principle, there are several foods you simply shouldn’t consume. These can affect the overall efficacy of the diet and can set you back by weeks if you’re not careful. To highlight the foods you should avoid, here is a list.

Alcohol

Carbohydrate content affects ketosis

Sugar-free foods

Contain sugar alcohols affect ketone levels

Sauces

Certain sauces have sugar and unhealthy fat content

Beans and legumes

Lentils, chickpeas, peas, and others

Starches or grains

Cereal, pasta, rice, wheat-based products

Fruit

Almost all fruit barring berries

Sugar-rich food

Candy, soda, juices, etc

Low-fat foods

Usually high in carbohydrates

Root vegetables

Potatoes, carrots, parsnips

Are there any side effects of a keto diet?

While it does have its benefits, adopting the keto diet on a long-term basis may cause a few health complications. These side effects aren’t restricted to the long-term practice of following a keto diet, and may also occur right at the start. This is because certain pre-existing conditions don’t adjust to their diet plan too well. For instance, those with diabetes and those who are insulin-dependent are not advised to go on a keto diet. Similarly, those with kidney disease, pancreatitis, and eating disorders should also avoid it.

However, for those who do get on the keto diet, here are some possible side effects of following a long-term plan.

  • Excess protein in the blood
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Fat in the liver
  • Kidney stones
  • Keto flu (occurs in the early stages)

How long should you maintain a keto diet?

There are studies that back the health benefits that a keto meal plan provides. However, many of these studies were conducted over periods of a few weeks, extending to a maximum of a few months. While other studies did find benefits up to a period of 2 years, there isn’t enough data to suggest that a keto diet remains beneficial for longer. Ideally, it is best to adopt the keto diet for a few months, achieve your weight goals, and then switch back to a less restrictive diet for maintenance.

Given the complexity of this nutritional plan, simply understanding the keto diet meaning is clearly not enough. As such, it is crucial that you don’t experiment with it without professional guidance. While you may think you know what is keto, experts are cautious and some even deem the diet controversial. The side effects of the keto diet are very real and can cause lasting damage to your health if you’re not careful. However, if you’re interested in trying it out for yourself, consult a specialist and have them draw up a keto diet for beginners, specifically designed for you. This is the best route to take as nutritionists will not recommend it to you if a risk exists. A good way to find the best dieticians in your area is to access the healthcare platform provided by Bajaj Finserv Health.

With it, you can not only find the best doctors in your vicinity but also book appointments online and consult with them virtually over video. For dietary care, virtual consults are a lot more convenient and easier to handle. Moreover, you can use the ‘Health Vault’ feature to track your vitals and store digital patient records. You can send this information to doctors digitally and get timely tweaks to your keto diet plan for optimal results. It is time to make your health your priority!

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

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