What is a keto diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very restrictive weight loss diet and quite a few Hollywood celebrities swear by it, making keto one of the hottest diet trends, globally! Ketogenic diet plans are based on very low-carb and very high-fat diet plans. About 70% of your diet would be made up of fat, and 25% protein and a mere 5% of calories would come from carbohydrates. The average person eats approximately 55% carbs and 30% fat in their daily diet. So, when your body is suddenly starved of carbohydrates, it starts breaking down or burning fat for energy. This is when your body is said to be in a state of ‘ketosis’. The goal of keto dieters is to reach ‘nutritional ketosis’ in order to lose weight, lower blood sugar and optimise cholesterol levels.
What foods can you eat on a keto diet?
If you have no trouble with eating dollops of fat, the keto diet may be your answer to dieting. Remember to stick to the 5% carbohydrate rule on keto.
Generally, you can pick and choose from the following food groups:
- Fats & Oils: Natural fat sources are the best. Eat all meat (even bacon and sausage, pork chops, liver), whole eggs, oily fish (salmon, tuna, cod, trout), shellfish, and nuts. Supplement with saturated and monounsaturated fats like ghee, coconut oil, nut butter, olive oil, and regular butter.
- Protein: Organic and grass-fed meats are the best. Remember eating too much protein is not a good thing on keto diets.
- Vegetables: Fresh or frozen, it does not matter. But the vegetable does matter. Non-starchy veggies, like avocado, asparagus, cabbage, and leafy greens are the best vegetables for keto diet plans.
- Dairy: Most dairy is fine, especially the full-fat dairy and hard cheeses like cheddar because they have fewer carbs!
- Nuts and Seeds: Nuts are full of healthy fats. The fattier the nut like macadamia and almond, the better for health!
- Beverages: No sugary drinks, juices, or diet sodas. Stick to water, and flavour only if you must with lemon or lime juice.
Are keto diets hard to achieve?
Not once you get used to a keto diet plan. Keto diets focus on the distribution of the 3 main food groups: fats, proteins and carbs. But the emphasis is on nearly three-fourths of fatty foods! You can achieve this by balancing the ratio of proteins on your plate. Add fatty side dishes and sauces to your non-vegetarian meal. Say, you are having a fresh chicken salad or a tuna sandwich for lunch, then add your favourite cheese, paneer or feta, an olive oil dressing, and top it off with nuts to increase the fat.
Historically, the ketogenic diet was created to control disease and not for weight loss. A keto diet helps lower blood sugar and “bad” cholesterol and treats epilepsy. But some experts are questioning whether higher ketones in the body can be harmful.
Before starting a new weight loss diet and taking new supplements, check with your doctor and a dietician or nutritionist, who can recommend the best weight loss diet plan for you.