We are practically living in a diet era, thanks to endemic obesity that we have seen with the sedentary lifestyle we all have picked because of technology.
According to World Health Organization, 1.9 billion adults (39%) were overweight in 2016. Alarmingly the worldwide obesity has tripled since 1975. And even the future looks obese because we have seen a dramatic rise in overweight children (aged 5-19) from 4% in 1975 to 18% in 2016.
Sadly most of these diets don’t work or work only temporarily. More often than not the claims are not backed by medical science. And they even do not state truth in their marketing material.
But comes the ketogenic diet that can potentially change your view of diet plans for weight loss.
The main reason that the keto diet works is that it is based on a solid science. With human biology working for it, the followers of the ketogenic diet see results.
This may sound quite contradictory because ketogenic diet is basically a low carb diet with focus on eating more fats. In fact most of your calories come from fats during this diet plan.
How can a diet helps you lose fat when it asks you to eat fat and cheese. But in reality it is possible because what this successful diet does is that it takes advantage of how human metabolism works to burn body fat.
And as bonus your other health indicators like reduction in diabetes risk and improved heart health also accompanies.
So in this article we will be giving you all details about this amazing diet plan. We will also discuss how you can control your cravings and how to overcome the side effects of keto diet.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
In most brief terms, it is a way of eating that alters your body metabolism to induce ketosis. So naturally your next question will be what this ketosis is all about.
Ketosis is a state of human body in which the calories for our body come from burning fat rather than carbs.
And of course keto diet is a low carb diet, let’s say extremely low carb diet.
Normally our bodies get their calories from burning carbs that we eat through a metabolism process called glycolysis.
But glycolysis essentially raises glucose levels of blood, which triggers higher production of insulin to deal with blood glucose. And it has been known that higher insulin leads to storing of fat in bodies and makes us fat.
On the other hand, during ketosis, our bodies metabolise fats and protein from food and produce ketones along with energy. And it is natural that when your body uses fats from your body , it loses weight.
Ketogenic diet is a low carb diet and cuts carbs drastically from your diet along with sodium with more focus on fats and protein. Still you can get 5% of your daily diet from carbs.
If your daily calorie requirement is about 2000 calories, it will be roughly equal to 25 grams of total carbs during a day.
Do you lose weight on Keto Diet?
So how does keto helps you lose weight?
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition noted that a low carb diet like keto diet plan reduces hunger and calorie intake and also induces ketosis. Researchers noted a weight loss of 6.4 kg over a period of 4 weeks on keto diet with carb intake at 4 percent. (3)
Ketosis has been known to suppress appetite in another study accompanied by weight loss, according to another study printed in Obesity Reviews. (4)
Science has linked reduced insulin with weight loss on a low carb diet like the ketogenic diet. According a research about 70 percent of weight loss on keto is attributed to lower cencontrations of insulin in blood. (5)
Another research found that on a ketogenic diet, hunger producing hormone ghrelin is reduced which results in eating less and weight loss. (6)
Using Keto Diet to lose weight
Now that we have sold you that keto diet will help you lose weight, based on science, it’s time to show you how you can go keto.
1. No calorie counting
The best thing about Ketogenic diet plan is that you don’t need to be calculating your calories all the time. The only thing you need to watch is the ratio of macronutrients in your diet. Here are recommended ratios of carbohydrates, fats and protein:
- 65-70 percent of calories should come from fat
- 20-25 percent protein
- maximum 5 percent from carbs
However, for calculating exact ration you can consult one of the keto calendars online.
2. Get used to fat bombs
So better get used to foods like fat bombs. For example, a keto fat bomb that is favorite among keto dieters is bacon, cheese and pepper made from bacon, cheese and cream mix and black pepper.
3. Foods you can’t eat on keto diet
Since your carbohydrates intake is extremely restricted, mostly below 50 grams every day, therefore, foods like bread and rice will be almost out of question.
Changing to a keto lifestyle will not be easy initially because you will have to commit to an extremely different lifestyle. But a little bit of homework will help you cruise through the ketogenic diet plan easily.
You can start to audit your kitchen and pantry to turn these into keto friendly kitchen and keto friendly pantry. It is time to throw out high carb foods like starches, legumes, rice, grains, all processed foods, fats and cooking oils like canola oil.
4. Foods you can eat on keto
Once you have got rid of non-keto foods, it is time to get yourself keto foods so that you can start using delicious keto recipes, which are very easy by the way.
Since keto diet is more about eating fresh food, free from preservatives, your shopping list will not be a long one. Some of the foods that will make their way to your keto friendly kitchen are:
- non-starchy vegetables
- avocados and low carb fruits like berries
- lemon juice
- soup broths
- olive oil
- avocado oil
- low-carb condiments
- artificial sweeteners
- fatty fish like salmon
5. Announce your diet
It is also important that you go public with your friends and family that you are going to start the ketogenic diet so that it becomes easier for you to politely refuse eating high carb foods they may offer you.
It is quite likely that others in the family or your friends you are living with might continue eating high carb diet. The best solution is to separately mark your food area so that you are not tempted to sugary and high carb treats.
6. Don’t get into debates
It is best to avoid debate with people about effectiveness or otherwise of a keto diet plan. Rather than saying that you are following a strict keto diet, you may rephrase your words by saying that you are avoiding grain based foods and all sugar.
7. Sample keto meal plan
The best way of sticking to a keto meal plan is to plan what you will eat during the week and this should include all meals, including breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
For example a sample ketogenic diet meal plan may include:
- Some greens and a berry smoothie for breakfast
- For morning snack you can take keto shortbread cookies
- A wrap having chicken-lettuce-avocado as filling for lunch
- The afternoon snack may consist of parmesan crackers
- And to finish the day, you may have a keto casserole of baked coconut and haddock
One area where most diets fail is not preparing your meal in advance. Do your weekly shopping in advance so that you have something to eat when you feel hungry. This will save you from ordering a pizza and ruining your diet.
8. Dont forget to exercise
Add exercise to your keto diet plan for maximum benefit. It needs hardly any convincing that exercise helps shed pounds and improves your health.
You can start with small and increment your exercise gradually. May be start with walking and then brisk walking and jogging. Don’t forget to add strength training to normal cardio for best benefits.
Is ketogenic diet safe?
Since you will be drastically cutting back on carbs and eating more fats, both of which are against what you have heard all the time. American Dietary Guidelines 2010 recommended upto 65 percent of your diet should come from carbs. Even Dietary Guidelines 2015-2020 recommend that up to 10 percent of calories can come from added sugars.
Ketogenic diet runs counter to these guidelines. But don’t worry. Medical science is with us. (7) Not only keto and ketosis are safe but they carry with them health benefits as well. Here are some of the health benefits of ketogenic diet:
- It helps reduce cholesterol, which is amazing when you consider that you will be eating high percentage of fats and fats are generally linked with cholesterol. (8)
- It is good for helping treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s (9)
- Because of its insulin lowering capability, keto diet has been used for treatment of diabetes (10)
- That it is beneficial for epilepsy treatment has been known for a long time (11) (12)
But what about keto flu?
This is quite common when you shift to this weight loss plan. The result of withdrawal from carbs, sugars and processed foods may sometimes trigger flu like symptoms, hence the name “keto flu”.
You may feel symptoms of common flu like fatigue, headache and coughing. But don’t worry as this will last only a few days and the best thing is it is not dangerous and you can’t pass it on to others.
Try to drink water and hot beverages for symptomatic treatment of keto flu.
Another unpleasant side effect of keto diet is keto breath. At start, the secretions produced as a result of ketosis will also make their way to your mouth and urine. So your breath will have this unpleasant smell called “keto breath”.
But as your body would have adjusted to the new metabolism way, this smell will go away in a few weeks.
The bottom line
Science has shown that ketogenic diet is one of the effective ways for losing weight. And there are associated health benefits as well.
You can not only lose weight but also prevent diseases like epilepsy, heart disease and diabetes by switching to a low carb diet like the ketogenic weight loss plan.
However, it requires a commitment and change in lifestyle.
You will need to start living a lifestyle focused on eating high fat and protein diet with almost negligible carbs. But if you start the diet well prepared, this is a time tested recipe for fast fat loss.