Keto Diet- What is it?

While stuck within the walls during the COVID- 19 lockdown, one must take in- charge of wellness and health. If you are working from home, you are under unavoidable temptations like prolonged sleep, lack of physical activity, mental restlessness and snacking between the meals. And if this is how it’s going, then my dear you are deliberately jeopardizing your precious health.  During times when the pandemic has hit the global cells, it is very important to keep ourselves mentally, physically and biologically well, being socially active is however excluded these days.

If you are looking for a door that leads you to the ketogenic program guide, then you have knocked onto a perfect place. Let us first know what it is?

Ketodiet is a way to consume low carbs with moderate amounts of high-quality dietary protein and high proportion of healthy dietary fat. You must be skeptical about fat consumption that has usually been credited as the main culprit for obesity since decades.Well, now I think it’s a misnomer.  Perhaps, natural fats are good fellows that should replace the actual crime partners – sugars and starches.

What does Keto diet include?

Keto meals are delightful and includes 10% of calories fetched from healthy carbohydrates(below 50 g per day) such as leafy greens, vegetables, and limited amounts of legumes, berries; 20% of calories from proteins such as omega-3-rich fish, meat and animal protein; and ~70% of calories from natural fats such as avocado, coconut, unsaturated and medium-chain triglyceride oils, nuts and seeds.

How does it work?

A keto diet allows your body to achieve a metabolic state of ‘ketosis’ which means that your body system will utilize ketone bodies( a steady source of energy derived from fats) instead of glucose(a carbohydrate derivative) for producing energy.  Do not misunderstand fats, since many studies done over 900.000 subjects have concluded that eating saturated and monounsaturated fats are not at all the risk factors for heart disease or CVD’s(cardiovascular diseases). Whereas eating carbs in any form will spike your blood sugar levels and increase insulin release. In a market full of alluring traps like pasta, french fries,  bread, flour, rice, potatoes, sugar and syrups we are likely to over consume, thus constantly bringing the insulin in action resulting in eventual insulin resistance and finally diabetes or obesity.

Long term benefits of a keto diet

  1. Weight loss—A reduced calorie diet from keto meals promotes the utilization of body fat as fuel and studies have shown that a ketogenic diet suppresses appetite or over- snacking and lets you stay satiated longer.

  2. Cognitive development—With a ketogenic diet, the brain tends to use ketone bodies instead of glucose as its primary source for fuel. This transition encourages more nerve growth factors and synaptic connections between brain cells. This enhances mental activity, focus, and improved cognitive capabilities.

  3. Maintained Blood sugar —Studies have shown that low-carbohydrate diets reduce insulin resistance and blood sugar. Also you won’t face sudden blood sugar drops or crashes,exhausted and disoriented.

  4. Energetic— In ketosis for 4- 8 weeks, your glycogen stored in muscles and liver decreases and muscle endurance and overall energy levels are higher. Since the body uses fat in place of glucose, to provide fuel for the brain along with a consistent supply of the ketone bodies for sustained and longer physical performance.

  5. Cardiovascular and metabolic health—A ketogenic diet has been shown to efficiently  regulate blood lipid and fatty acid metabolism. It helps in significant reductions in blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.

Have you heard of Keto flu?

The major concern for keto dieters is decreasing levels of sodium and electrolytes which might produce flu-like symptoms like headache, cough, fatigue, frequent sniffles, irritability or nausea, thus designated keto flu. Though the difference is that it is not contagious and causal agent is not a virus.

Due to lack of processed food and decreased insulin levels, the sodium levels stored by kidneys also drop abruptly

Simple way to prevent this is to add more sodium and electrolytes in your food by including salty meals, bacon, pickled veggies etc.

If you want to turn into a fat churning machine, then avoid food items like:

  • Processed sugary foods and sauces like soda, fruit juice, smoothies, ice cream, candies. 

  • Starches and wheat-based products like rice, pasta, cereal,pizza, burger etc. 

  • Root vegetables and tubers like potatoes, carrots

  • Low fat or diet products and processed vegetable oils 

  • Sugary alcoholic beverages(sweet wines and cocktails)

  • Sugar-free diet foods(usually high in sugar alcohol or artificial sweeteners like aspartame, sucralose) such as Diet Coke, Splenda

You can start with a 7 day keto plan and if you want it to work for you, you can continue to be a part of a ketogenic diet. Try it yourself to believe it actually fosters good mental and physical health. 

Ruchi

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