Celebrities like the Kardashians and Halle Berry swear by it, it was ranked amongst the top 10 Googled diet of 2017 and with drool-worthy Instagram recipe clicks, the Keto diet has garnered a major fan following as the ‘diet you must be on’.
I heard about people going on a keto spree at a friend’s birthday a couple of years ago. The propaganda sounded like ‘the diet that makes you lose weight by noshing down butter, cheese and cream’. I giggled in a corner and thought to myself ‘absolutely not – no way! This trend will fizzle out like the numerous others’. But here I am, years later, wondering what the hell happened.
Now you see, the Clinical Nutritionist in me knows that ketogenic diet is used as a medical nutrition therapy in pediatric patients with seizure disorder. What bothers me is can it help an average Rahul and Pooja to lose enormous amounts of weight in no time!? Is it doable for a long term? Does it provide sustainable weight loss and improves health? Let’s figure!
What is a ketogenic diet?
A keto diet is a diet that is high in fat, moderate protein and is ultra-low in carbs. In a ketogenic diet, almost 75%-90% of the calories come from fat, 6-20% from protein and 2-5% from carbohydrates.
Carbohydrates are used primarily as a fuel source by the body. In a keto diet it allows you to consume only about 50 gms of carbohydrates a day, the body starts using fat as a source of energy and your body goes into a state of ketosis. Fat becomes a fuel for your body.
When you start doing this, after 3-4 days your back up stores for carbohydrates called glycogen is depleted and ketosis kicks in. This triggers weight loss and gives you an idea of a leaner and fit body.
Why going on a ketogenic diet will backfire on you?
Ketogenic diet is a medical nutrition therapy and should not be tried otherwise. A keto diet limits your carb intake to around 50 gms and it is critical to notice that most foods with carbs give you fiber and are a major source of vitamins and minerals. Going on a keto diet makes you lose water weight initially. When you enter ketosis, you begin to lose muscle and get fatigued which eventually leads you into starvation mode.
The side effects of going on a keto diet are
- Extreme mood swings
- Diarrhea, vomiting, and nausea
- Nutrient deficiency
More than anything, sustainability of such an extreme diet is one of the biggest issues.
Time to swoop things around and pay attention to your macros
Unfortunately, most of us try extreme means to attain our health goals. We go gluten-free, vegan, do a keto, liquid cleanse, crunch calories, go off carbs, not touch fats and the list goes on… but do we ever pay attention to the nutrition? Macros stand for macronutrients and are the foundation of our diets. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are macronutrients that fuel up our body and therefore, are to be consumed in a certain proportion
Carbohydrates – 55-65%
Protein – 10-15%
Fat – 25-30%
When people go number crunching, they seldom understand where the calories they consume are coming from, for e.g. 200 Kcals from broccoli and 200 Kcals from coke will be processed differently in the body (Read here), hence working the macros is equally essential.
As a dietitian, the first thing that goes into my meal planning is the macro tweaking. For e.g. For someone combating diabetes, the carb ratio will be lower and will include more of complex carbs whereas, for someone trying to build muscle mass, the protein ratio goes up.
Concentrate on food groups simultaneously
Striking out any food group entirely to attain your health goal can make you prone to several nutritional deficiencies and alter body mechanisms.
Want to know how I do it?
Want to know an amazing way to eat smart, eat what you love and still meet your health goal?
I do it with bon happetee! While extreme keto may not be the right approach, going on a high protein, high fat and low carb (not striking them off entirely!) diet can be beneficial! You can try Easy Keto for a month or 2 and then switch to a balanced or balanced pro (with extra protein). Hop on to the app to choose the plan and get started with bon happetee flexible plans with suggested foods and food categories to choose from.
Register and Log in your details
Enter your weight, select a plan and let the app be your genie. The app will calculate your macros considering your age, metabolic profile, activity pattern and your set health goal. It starts to learn your eating habits and suggests menus or meal combinations as per your taste and habits!
Eating the right way has never been so cool!
So, ditch the extreme and desperate measures and stay healthy by eating smart!
Akansha is the Founder and Consultant at Beyond the Weighing Scale. With a wide range of expertise and skills, she is adept to speak about nutrition, health, lifestyle management and physical activity. She is a popular food columnist, a passionate foodie, a health enthusiast, an avid traveller and a happy yogi.