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Every once in a while, a new diet catches the fancy of weight watchers, such as the GM Diet Plan, the Atkins diet plan, so on and so forth. The Ketogenic Diet Plan is one such diet plan which has taken the world by storm! Not only is this diet plan great for fat loss but it is great for all those patients who are suffering from chronic diseases like cancer.
So is it a fad diet or is really effective for fat loss? These are pertinent questions which are jostling for space in our mind. So it is the time we gave this diet plan a serious think-over! With the help of this article, we will explore the pros and cons of following a Ketogenic or Keto Diet Plan.
What is a Ketogenic Diet Plan?
A keto diet is more commonly known as a low carb diet, where the ketones are produced in the liver and utilized as energy. If you are unacquainted with the name keto, you probably know about this diet plan from its other names – Ketogenic diet, low carb high fat (LCHF), low carb diet and so on. When you load up on carbs, your body will invariably produce insulin or glucose.
Glucose is one molecule of your body which can be converted and used as energy, so it is selected over other energy sources. Insulin is produced to process the glucose in your bloodstream, circulating it around the body. Glucose is usually used as a fuel when energy is spent and fats are ignored.
Typically in a ketogenic diet meal plan, the intake of carbs is reduced; and the body is induced into a state known as ketosis. Ketosis is a natural process the body goes into to survive when the intake of food is drastically cut down. During this state, our bodies produce ketones, which are released when the fats in the liver are broken down.
The aim of maintaining a keto diet is to coerce your body into this metabolic state. The state of ketosis is not achieved by reducing calories but by reducing carbohydrates. The best part of our bodies is that they can adapt to any state, even when you overload them with fats and reduce the number of carbohydrates. The body will burn more ketones as the primary energy source.
Benefits of a Ketogenic Diet Plan
For all these years we have been made to understand that fats are meant to be abhorred. It causes a ton of damage to our body, and not to forget, adds bulk to all the wrong places. But fresh evidence backed by science has a different take on fats, especially the so-called good fats. So what are the benefits of a Ketogenic diet?
1. Low-Carb Diets reduce your appetite- If you are on a diet; the worst thing that bothers you is hunger. The more you restrict yourself, the more hunger strikes, breaking down your steely resolve. But the nutritional ketosis diet plan curbs down your hunger with a flourish. You are given a respite from the constant mind struggles that make sticking to a diet so difficult. If you eat more fat and protein, you will feel greater satiety levels and hence won’t tend to overeat.
2. Lose more weight- It has been proven by statistics that low carb diets have resulted in greater fat loss than low-fat diets. One of the chief reasons for the same could be that low-carb diets tend to get rid of the surplus water from the body. Thus they are able to lower insulin levels, and the kidneys start getting rid of excess sodium, resulting in weight loss. That is why the ketogenic diet for weight loss works effectively in shedding the pounds.
3. Help reduce abdominal fat- Visceral fat around the abdomen is what causes harm to the body. It leads to inflammation, insulin resistance and is the leading cause of disease nowadays. Low-carb diets are particularly effective in reducing the fat which is harmful to you. This will reduce your risk of heart disease and diabetes.
4. Triglycerides also tend to drop- Simple sugars like fructose tend to spike the triglyceride levels even more. Cutting down on carbs can dramatically lower your triglyceride levels.
5. Increases your good cholesterol- High-density lipoprotein or HDL is called the good cholesterol, HDL and LDL are the lipoproteins that carry cholesterol around in the blood. LDL carries cholesterol from the liver to the rest of the body, HDL, on the other hand, carries cholesterol away from the body and to the liver, where it can be used again and excreted. To increase the HDL levels you need to eat good quality fats.
6. Reducing blood sugar levels- Reduction in blood sugar levels is possible if the carbohydrate consumption is greatly reduced. The Ketogenic approach ideally should be a 75 percent fat, 20 percent protein and 5 percent carbs diet. But it may be difficult for adults to follow the diet to the T. Many adults can find weight loss success and avoid sudden blood sugar spikes with a more moderate approach to the low-carbohydrate Ketogenic diet by just reducing carbohydrate consumption and increasing calories from healthy fats and protein. This is also known as a modified Ketogenic diet. This modified diet plan can also yield great results, for people suffering from diabetes.
7. Fights cancer- Cancer cells feed off sugar, so a Ketogenic diet with minimal sugar and carbs can stop the cancer cells from proliferating. The regular cells found in our bodies can use fat for energy, but it is not possible for cancer cells to metabolically shift to use fat.
8. It treats Alzheimer’s disease- A low carb Ketogenic diet can turn the progress of this degenerative disease on its head. We are aware of the fact that a diet made up of around 70 percent healthy fat can aid the functioning of the brain optimally. And we also know that ketosis and your body‘s ability to burn fat for energy or utilize fatty acids is important for the brain and can be regarded as a natural treatment for dementia. In fact, Ketogenic diet results have shown a great improvement in people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Several Types of Ketogenic Diets
There are several levels of Ketogenic diets. You can take one up and follow it according to your capacity. It can be really hard for some people to give up on carbs completely, so you can modify it and still get great results.
- Standard ketogenic diet (SKD) – This is the most researched of all the ketogenic diets; it includes 75% calories from fat, 20% from protein and 5% from carbohydrate.
- Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD) – It is pretty similar to SKD, but slightly more moderate, as carbohydrates can be eaten before and after workouts to be used for energy, and it also helps in improving athletic performance. So, the percentage of calories from carbs will be higher than the standard ketogenic diet.
- Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD) – This plan is far easier to follow since it is a less rigid and an easier social life can be followed, with 5-6 days of low carb intake and 1-2 days of high carb intake.
- High protein ketogenic diet (HPKD) – This is slightly different from the standard ketogenic diet as it allows a high protein. It gets 60% calories from fat, 35% from protein and 5% from carbohydrate.
Foods you can eat during a Ketogenic Diet
A ketogenic diet for beginners has to include several foods, without which you won’t be able to properly follow the diet plan. If you eliminate certain foods which you have had all along, it can prove to be difficult at first so the process should be gradual. But as soon as you get results, you will have the courage to pursue it till you reach your goal weight. First, the type of fat you consume is the cornerstone of this diet plan.
The ideal recommendation endorsed by most experts will be consuming a large amount of MCFAs (medium chain fatty acids) from the very nutritious coconut oil, since this is one of the fats which can be burned by your body very easily. Then consider including short chain fatty acids from raw dairy products and other sources of fat from nuts, seeds, and organic meats.
The best foods to consume while on the keto plan are coconut, avocado, chia seeds, non-starchy vegetables, sprouted nuts, seeds, organic meat and raw dairy products. Most adults will see weight loss by just reducing carbohydrates to 30 percent of their diet, and increasing fat and protein to 40 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
Sample Menu for Standard Ketogenic Diet
The following recommendations can be followed for an SKD. As you grow more comfortable with the plan, you will be able to make changes and make the menu more interesting.
- Breakfast – Omelet with 4 eggs onions, peppers, and tomatoes/whey protein.
- Lunch – Salad greens, a whole avocado, and grilled chicken/lentils soup (Indian dal and brown rice) with two tablespoon ghee.
- Dinner – Salmon/any lentils preparation, steamed spinach and veg soup cooked in coconut oil.
Explore other options to keep changing your diet plan so that you remain true to the diet.
- 4 ounces’ ground beef, mixed with spices, 1 ounce of chopped onion, another ounce of low carb vegetables, fried in butter or olive oil
- Unsweetened herbal tea or coffee with heavy cream
- 4 oz. baked salmon with dill butter sauce
- 1 cup cauliflower chopped and sauteed in butter or coconut oil.
- 1 cup of salad greens sprinkled with cheese and dressed with a tablespoon of grass fed butter.
- Water or unsweetened flavored sparkling water or other unsweetened beverage
- 6 oz. pulled pork shoulder
- 2 cups shredded cabbage sautéed in butter with caraway
- Salad greens with coconut oil, olive oil or butter.
- Water or unsweetened flavoured sparkling water or another unsweetened beverage
- Unsweetened herbal tea or coffee with heavy cream
Side Effects of the Keto Diet Plan
When the ketogenic diet is continued for long periods of time, there are adverse effects that become evident with each passing day and it can have detrimental effects on human body.
Kidney stones, also known as nephrolithiasis, is one of the ketogenic diet side effects which most people suffer from after following the keto diet for an extended period of time. The body also gets more acidic, as consuming too much of fat can disrupt the P.H balance of the body. Additionally, people following the ketogenic diet plan can increase their chances of having bone fractures. Acidosis can make your bones brittle and prone to breakage.
Following the diet plan without the supervision of a qualified doctor can prove to be extremely harmful, as people would be unaware of the supplementation required to make up for the vitamin and mineral deficiency caused by following the diet plan.
For most adults following the ketogenic diet, the most common complications can include extreme weight loss, constipation and increased levels of cholesterol and triglycerides. Women may also experience amenorrhea and problems in their menstrual cycle. Also, the quality of skin and hair can also suffer if the diet plan is followed unsolicited.
All diet plans have certain pros and cons and the ketogenic diet plan is no different. Since the diet plan involves making sweeping changes, it has to be followed under the supervision of your doctor. Also staying away from carbs for an extended period of time is not advisable by most doctors. This diet plan can yield great results but of course within a stipulated time frame. If you are looking for quick weight loss solution this could be the diet plan which you could go for, but of course, you need to give all the pros and cons a thorough consideration, and then give this diet a nod of approval.