Ms. Steffi Alexander is a dietary professional with over 4 years of experience as a Diet Counselor with a vast knowledge of Food Service Management. She has a demonstrated ability to confer with clients to determine their nutritional goals. She also has a sound knowledge of a family-centered approach to diet therapy.
In an exclusive conversation with Zotezo, she has spoken about Keto Diet and who all should follow this. Here are the edited excerpts of the interview.
Team Zotezo: What is Keto diet and how safe is it?
Dt. Steffi: Keto diet is one of the hottest global dietary terms today. It is a low-carb high-fat diet, which is believed to have an outstanding impact on human health by an ever growing group of people. We come to know about the ketogenic diet, a low-carb high-fat diet that shares many similarities with Atkins and other low carb diet plans. It is the process of drastically reducing carbohydrates and increasing the sources of fats in your daily diet. Here the carbohydrates are being replaced with a fat source. The reduction of carbs from the diet places you in a metabolic state called ketosis. Ketosis is a metabolic state where the body burns a highly efficient alternative fuel called keto. This is all about the ketogenic diet.
Whether we should follow it or not, that entirely depends on the individual. But it is not good for a prolonged time. Because then you will have many unhealthy metabolic effects. Use it for a particular period of time.
Team Zotezo: What are the different types of keto diet?
Dt. Steffi: There are several versions of this ketogenic diet.
The first one is SKD or Standard Ketogenic Diet. In this diet, there are low carbs, moderate protein, and high fat. This diet contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and only 5% carbs.
The second one is the Cyclic Keto Diet, we call it as CKD. in this diet there are periods of higher-carb references. That is for 5 days we follow a ketogenic diet followed by 2 high-carb days. We do it in a cyclic mode.
The third one is the TKD or Targeted Ketogenic Diet which allows adding carbohydrates around workouts. Only in the workout period, you can have carbohydrates.
The final one is the High-Protein Ketogenic Diet. It is really similar to the SKD, but here we include more protein. For a high protein ketogenic diet, we add 60% of fat, 35% of protein and 5% of carbohydrates.
Team Zotezo: Who can follow a keto diet?
Dt. Steffi: In order to follow this diet or any other diet program, you should undergo a health screening. Health screening is very important to have indications and contraindications with your health, whether you are allowed to undergo a ketogenic diet or not. Apart from that, the diet is not appropriate for people with any diabetes, or kidney diseases or any other complications, or any other metabolic disorders or something like severe distress in the pancreas or liver disease or kidney disorder. And also people with hypoglycemia can not go for this diet. People who are going for weight loss and need a drastic change in their body can surely follow this diet.
Team Zotezo: What are the health benefits of keto diet?
Dt. Steffi: The ketogenic diet can help you to lose more weight. There are lots of programs for weight loss. But following a ketogenic diet, will also satisfy your hunger level. You don’t compromise your taste or your appetite and things like that. It is a very important thing because in weight loss a proper amount of calories we should take. Lifestyle modification and diet changes will help you in losing weight. Keto diet can help you in losing lots of excess fat and tone the muscles. Studies have done globally that proves that It can reduce type 2 diabetes. You can stop diabetes medications when you follow this particular diet. But there are lots of contraindications that can hamper this.
Team Zotezo: What to eat and what not to eat in a keto diet?
Dt. Steffi: When it comes to food to be included and foods not to be included in the keto diet, you can always go for foods that contain high fats. And take 35 g of carbohydrate a day and take 70% of your calories from fats and 75% through protein. You can always have nonveg. Meats are a great source of fats. Red meats like beef, hams, sausages, bacon, lean meats like chicken, turkey, or other meat products and even fish also, like salmon, tuna, trout, mackerel are also good sources of fats. You can also take eggs, butter, lean cheese, healthy olive oil, avocado oil and low carb veggies, green veggies, tomatoes, peppers, corns.
You need to avoid sugary foods, soda, juices, cakes, candy or any processed foods. Grains and starches should be strictly avoided, like wheat, pasta, rice, spaghetti. Fruits that should be avoided like berries, bananas, they can hamper your diet.
Team Zotezo: What is the Indian vegetarian version of a keto diet?
For breakfast, you can have paneer bhurji. The amount of food that you can consume is really important. The quantity and process of preparation are really important for a diet plan of keto.
For lunch have a salad with spinach and sliced tomatoes, onions, any veggies of your choice which has low carbs.
For a mid-evening (4 pm) snack, you can have buttermilk or 80-100g of sauteed paneer.
Then at dinner, you can try palak mushroom. For a non-veg diet, you can go for ham or chicken breast.
Remember to avoid sweets completely.
Team Zotezo: How to get started on the keto diet?
Dt. Steffi: The first and foremost step of a keto diet is that you should be ready for lifestyle modification and a diet change. I already told you about ketosis.
There are 3 major steps that you need to follow before the beginning of your keto diet.
Firstly, eat the right food. Remember the foods to be included and not to be included. Priorities your plate of what to eat and what not to eat.
The second step is to eat the right amount of food. So when it comes to eating the right amount of foods, you have to check and measure how much portions you are having and you need to prioritize and choose the foods you eat. There are lots of medical apps on the play store, you can download them and use the keto calculator. You can check your macros, macros include fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. You have to be very careful about balancing it. and keep your body on ketosis. So that is the second step. That is you have to eat the right amount of food.
Thirdly, You have to be prepared for keto food. When we start, when we put our body on ketosis, there are some withdrawal symptoms or we call it keto flu. In keto flu, you feel fatigued, mental drowsiness, a lot of headaches. Some people undergo constipation, these are very minor changes. we have to get ourselves mentally prepared physically and emotionally prepared for the keto flu.
If we follow all these 3 steps in a competitive way then it will be easy to start the keto diet.
Team Zotezo: Are there any side effects of the keto diet? If so, how can you reduce its effect?
Dt. Steffi: Nausea, constipation, headache, dizziness, nausea, sugar cravings, fatigues are very minor things. But the question is, what if we are doing it for a longer time? So keto diet seems like an attractive way of losing weight, but you have to keep in mind that when your body enters ketosis, it will essentially enter a starvation mode So you have to balance. The person practicing the keto diet should not go for an unhealthy lifestyle. A prolonged keto diet can slow down fat loss and increase or develop type 2 diabetes. It can also cause dehydration, discomfort, develop hypothyroidism, thyroid malfunctions, it can lead you to hyper cholesterol, increase cardiovascular diseases. Following a restricted diet like the keto diet, only for a particular period of time can help you.