From weight-loss aspirants to diabetic patients, the Ketogenic Diet has a lot to offer for those striving towards a fitter and healthier lifestyle. Studies have found that people on ketogenic diets witnessed 2-3 times more weight-loss than those on calorie-restricted low-fat diets.
How does it work?
The Ketogenic diets (or keto diets) have been known among nutritionists for facilitating fat loss. However, ironic as it may seem, aKetogeniclifestyleinvolvesmaintaining a low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet.When we reduce the carb intake and increase fat consumption, the body gets kicked into a metabolism known as “Ketosis”. Whilst in this phase, due to the lack of sugar (carbs), the body starts using stored fats as a source of energy. These fats are also converted into “Ketones” which can be used as an additional source of energy for the brain. The body is, now, completely dependent on fat reserves for the energy needed in day-to-day activities, hence, permitting weight loss.
Different Types of Ketogenic Diets
The following ways are some of the several strategies to achieve a ketogenic diet:
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD):It involves a low-carb, moderate-protein and high-fat diet. It typically composes of 75% fat, 20% protein and only 5% carbs.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD):This methodrequires periods of higher-carb re-feeds, such as 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high-carb days.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD):This form of dietpermits you to consume carbs before and after workouts.
- High-protein ketogenic diet:This is a standard keto diet but with higher levels of protein. The composition is usually 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.
Out of all these versions, only the standard and high-protein keto diets have been researched extensively. Cyclical or targeted keto diets are more advanced versions, primarily used by bodybuilders or athletes.
5 Foods beneficial to Keto-Diets
- Meat and Poultry
Meat and poultry areheld high in regard as one of the main components in a ketogenic diet.Fresh meat and poultry have no carbs and are rich in vitamin B, and several minerals, including potassium, selenium and zinc. Being a great source of high-quality protein, they have shown to help preserve muscle mass during a very low-carb diet. Also, these animals are also known to contain higher amounts of omega-3 fats, conjugated linoleic acid and antioxidants that benefit weight loss and prevent cell damage. Studies have found that a high fatty-meat diet results in better HDL levels than a low-fat, high-carb diet.
Fishes like Salmon, sardines and mackerel are veryketo-friendly foods. They are rich invitamin B, selenium and potassium, with negligible amounts of carbohydrates.Usually, fatty fishes are very high in omega-3 fats, which result to lowered insulin levels and increased insulin sensitivity in obese people.However, it is important to note that only certain types of shellfish such as shrimp and crabs contain no carbs whereas other types of shellfish do.
Cheese is one of the most readily available foods in a household. Fortunately, many of the cheeses thatwe are familiar with have low-carb value and are rich in fat, which makes them a perfect fit for this form of diet. Being a derivative of milk, they are richly composed of protein and calcium. Also, uniquely, cheese contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fat componentlinked to fat loss and improvements in body composition.In addition to this, regular consumption of cheese may prevent the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with ageing.
- Low-Carb Vegetables
It is known that non-starchy vegetables possess low calorie and carb contents, at the same time, maintaininga high nutritional value, including vitamin C and several minerals. In addition to this, these vegetables also contain antioxidants that help in preventing cell damage and have also been linked to reduced cancer and cardiac risks. As a result, low-carb veggies make excellent alternatives for carb-rich foods. However, the vegetables with high fibre content can be avoided as they are difficult to digest.
Apart from being green and incredibly healthy, Avocados are highly fibrous and contain several important vitamins and minerals, such as potassium. It has been discovered that with such high intake of potassium, the transition to a Ketogenic diet becomes easier. It may also help in improving cholesterol and triglyceride levels and, in turn, promoting better cardiac health.
Dangers of Ketogenic Diet
Altering your body’s primary energy source from carbohydrates to fat leads to an increase in the amount of ketones in the blood. When you have too many ketones, you may be at risk for developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). DKA is mostly observed in type 1 diabetes when blood glucose is very high and can be caused from a lack of insulin. Although rare, DKA can be a possibility in type 2 diabetes if ketones are too high. Also, being ill while on a low-carb diet may also increase your risk for DKA. Therefore, if you’re on a ketogenic diet, make sure to test blood sugar levels regularly (throughout the day) to make sure they are within their target range. Also, consider testing ketone levels to make sure you’re not at risk for DKA. DKA is a medical emergency and if you are experiencing any of the symptoms, see your doctor immediately.
The symptoms of DKA include:
- consistently high blood sugar
- dry mouth
- frequent urination
- breath that has a fruit-like odor