Keto or Ketogenic diet is a high-protein low-carb diet to achieve the metabolic state of Ketosis. In a pure keto diet, the carbohydrate intake is drastically reduced and replaced with fat. The body uses the stored fat as energy.
To give you an insight, the body is usually in a glycolysis metabolic state. We consume carbs which are broken into simple sugars that enter our bloodstream. Insulin released by Pancreas allows the blood sugar to be absorbed into cells and converted into energy. When the blood sugar levels are high, the body converts the glucose into glycogen and store it in muscles and liver for later use.
So, when we start a low carb diet like keto, in the lack of presence of carbs, the body starts converting glycogen into glucose for energy. After glycogens are depleted, the ketone bodies are used for energy.
Ketones are produced from fat we consume and is increased during the keto diet as we enter ketosis. They are not stored in the body and filtered through kidneys.
Keto Diet has shown significant results in helping people lose several kilograms or pounds but it is also known as a fad diet. According to Harvard, the keto diet leads to metabolic changes including weight loss. However, there are several theories for the same as shown in research like:
The high-fat content of the keto diet leads to decreased food cravings
The decrease of appetite-stimulating hormones, insulins and ghrelin while restricting carbs
Ketone bodies become the body’s main fuel source
Metabolic effects of converting fat and protein into glucose lead to an increased calorie expenditure during their digestion
Decreased insulin levels partly promote fat loss versus lean body mass.
According to Harvard, the research data on keto diets is limited with the small number of participants adopting the diet for the short term and does not include control groups. Also, another article by Harvard states the serious risks of the diet which is “advertised as a weight-loss wonder”.
The production of ketones by the liver can be tricky and affect protein along with various such complications. At the same, in the long run, their effects after one year when compared to effects of conventional weight-loss diets are not significantly different.
Eliminating several food groups can lead to unpleasant symptoms and even serious risks like nutrient deficiency, liver problems, kidney problems, constipation. Etc.
Many experts and dieticians advise people to follow a balanced diet with a low-carb and high protein diet to some extend which is healthier than a fad diet. But, if you are going on keto, the advice would be to consume:
Carbs through non-starchy sources like low carb vegetables, whole foods like avocados, nuts, and seeds.
Limited cheese or consume low-fat cheese rather than full-fat cheese.
Plant foods like olives, nut butter, seeds, avocados, etc
Egg whites if you have a history of high cholesterol levels.
Meats like salmon or low-fat meats like skinless chicken have different vitamins and minerals.
Can a vegetarian do a keto diet?
Well, the last two points are indeed not for vegetarians who want to follow the keto diet or low carb and high protein diet. Well, you can choose to go ahead and consume non-starchy vegetables, and other vegetarian options mentioned above along with
Nuts like almonds walnuts, cashews, brazil nuts, pistachios, etc
Seeds like chia, flax, pumpkin and hemp seeds.
Nut Butters like Almond butter, peanut butter, pecan butter, and hazelnut butter.
Full-fat dairy products like milk, yoghurt, and cheese
How to plan a Keto diet for a working Indian professional?
Well, it can be difficult to plan a keto diet like a professional as it includes several restrictions and some of the options can be costly like peanut butter. While it is suggested to follow a healthy diet which can be impacted in long run as well, unlike fad diet like keto, you can add these low-carb high protein dishes in your diet:
Keto-Friendly Vegetarian Breakfast:
Almond Flour Dosa
Cauliflower Upma and Poha
Keto-Friendly Vegetarian Lunch:
Cabbage Peas Stir Fry
Keto-Friendly Vegetarian Snack:
Air Fried Roasted Mushrooms, Air Fried broccoli or Gobi
Keto-Friendly Vegetarian Dinner:
Keto Soups like Lauki Soup, Mushroom Soup, Asparagus Soup, Broccoli Spinach Soup, Cauliflower Soup.
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