Keto diet – What you should know before you choose this method for weight loss

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If you went into brain freeze looking at that plate, well… Keto plate doesn’t look this bad! In fact, it works counter-intuitive, encouraging you to eat more healthy fats and cut down carbs. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Karan Johar have adopted a Keto diet with success to shed some kilos.

The ketogenic diet was first developed in the 1920s to help children with epileptic seizures. While it’s still being used for that purpose, recently it is being adopted by many as a way to burn fat and lose weight. It has gained popularity in recent years among people looking for weight loss.

How does keto diet work?

Carbohydrates are the body’s preferred fuel due to its ease of breakdown. When you restrict the intake of carbohydrates greatly (limiting it to as less as 50gms a day) and increase fats instead, the body uses up all the carb reserves (including blood sugar) and eventually runs out of easy fuel and starts breaking down protein and fats which is a process called as ketosis. It takes more energy to burn fat and it makes you eventually lose weight. Fast weight loss at the beginning of a keto diet is motivating.

What does the Keto diet need you to eat/avoid?

The picture below depicts food recommendations in addition to the following guidelines. Non-starchy vegetables can be eaten. Fruits are better avoided as they are loaded with sugar. Some berries with low glycaemic index, avocado, and coconut flesh could be eaten but in moderation. Choose healthy fats and again in moderation remembering that keto is not a license to overeat.

Keto eat avoid

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What are the side effects?

When the body is still getting adjusted to this diet people may experience keto flu with symptoms like fuzzy-headedness, nausea, fatigue, and headaches. It can last 4 to 5 days. In the initial days, you might feel a loss of strength, stamina, and endurance, but this gets better once the body adjusts to the diet.

Because the diet can lack fiber, constipation can be a problem. Also, a deficiency of vitamins, minerals, and electrolytes, along with kidney stones can be a risk. And because the diet is so restrictive, it can be hard to stick with in the long-term.

Words of caution:

A High-fat approach is not the only way to reach your fat loss goals. Maintaining a diet that limits carbs and unhealthy fats but that features healthy proteins can accomplish the same goals. The American Heart Association recommends eating no more than 6% of saturated fat as part of a healthy diet. These things have to be kept in mind while choosing to adopt this diet.

Critics say the keto-type diets usually work only in the short term and can be unhealthy.  It’s not optimal for someone trying to gain muscle. And once the diet is stopped the weight can creep back quickly. Experts feel that for general population Keto diets should only be used under clinical supervision and only for brief periods. A keto diet will do more harm than good for the majority of patients, especially if they have any underlying kidney or liver issues and if not practiced under medical supervision.

Losing weight is always good as long as you do it by a healthy diet. But more important is to be able to sustain it in the long run without adversely affecting your health!

Credits: WebMD, Healthline

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Ashwini Bhat

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