Is Keto Diet Right For Weight Loss?

Planning to jump on the latest bandwagon and try out the Keto Diet like other mommies? Before you dive in, read this article to know all about this diet and its benefits for weight loss.

By Priya Kathpal

Is Keto Diet Right For Weight Loss?

Most women put on weight post pregnancy. And the first few years of motherhood are so hectic that you don't find the time to follow a diet plan or exercise routine, to lose that extra flab. However, once your kids are slightly older, it is time for some mommy self-care. If yoga and aerobics are not your thing, try a nutritious diet. It will not only help you lose weight but makes for a healthy lifestyle change too!

In fact, food and nutrition have never been of so much interest to people as it is now. Every other day, a new lifestyle or diet regimen emerges, and people go gaga about it. Among these, the Keto Diet has become extremely popular and gained immense attention. Find out all about it!

What is a Keto Diet?

To start with, Keto is a short form of Ketogenic.

It is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. The regimen, which reduces carbs and replaces them with healthy fats, puts the body in a metabolic state known as Ketosis.

A lot of us know this diet as a means of losing weight and excess fat. However, it was originally designed to help with difficult-to-control epilepsy in children. Surprised? 

How does the Keto Diet work for weight loss?

This diet forces the body to burn fats instead of carbohydrates, and converts the fats into ketones in the liver, which supply energy to the brain.

In its classic form, qualified dietitians had planned a meal for epileptic patients in a ratio of 4:1, fat to carbs and protein. This was then modified to 3:1 for very young and obese patients. With time and more understanding, the ratios kept changing depending on individual patients and the effects on them.

When the process was discovered, it created a lot of interest. Experiments were conducted with different permutations and combinations of fats and protein. And the results were quite encouraging.

From the time it was recommended only for epileptic patients to today, wherein it is among one of the most sought-after diets for weight loss, the Keto Diet has come a long way. It is now advised, among other things, during sugar detox sessions and to deal with cancer.

"I had put on loads of weight after the birth of my two boys. Initially I could never find the time to reduce my weight and used to feel distressed. But now that the kids are 7 and 5, I started the keto diet. One of my colleagues at work was following this diet plan and I witnessed the phenomenal results. I was tempted to try and so I did. Within a couple of months, I could not believe it as I had lost tremendous weight. From 80kg that I once was, I became 60kg. Today, I try different stylish clothes and am happy with the way I can carry them off without feeling too conscious about it.  And when you look good, you feel good too. Keto diet certainly improved the quality of life for this mommy!" - Sana Fathima, a working mom at TCS.

Types of Keto Diet

  1. Standard Keto Diet (SKD) – A typical very-high-fat, adequate-protein and very-low-carb regimen.
  2. Cyclical Keto Diet (CKD) – Five days of strict Keto Diet (SKD) followed by two days of routine diet.
  3. Targeted Keto Diet (TKD) – Carbs are allowed only around activities and / or workouts.
  4. High Protein Keto Diet (HPKD) – Similar to SKD, but the protein content is higher in this diet plan, replacing some amount of fats.

SKD and HPKD have been studied and experimented with, more commonly than the other two. CKD and TKD are more often used by athletes and bodybuilders.

Benefits of Keto Diet

The Keto Diet, when done under supervision, can have various benefits.

  1. It is effective in achieving weight loss and lowering the associated risk factors.
  2. It improves insulin sensitivity.
  3. It is a proven way to control seizures and treat epilepsy. 

Keto Diet and Epilepsy

Three to six years after it began to be used, the ketogenic diet proved effective in cases of otherwise difficult-to-control seizures in children. The diet often allows the decrease or discontinuation of medication. It is more effective than many of the newer anticonvulsants. (Pediatrics. 2001 Oct;108(4):898-905.)

Keto Diet and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Food plays an important role in managing polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). In a pilot study, a low-carb Keto Diet over a 24-week period was found to lead to significant improvement in weight and other relevant parametres in women with obesity and PCOS.(Nutr Metab (Lond). 2005; 2: 35.)

Understanding Keto and who should avoid this diet?

It is an extreme dietary regimen. Since it is now being followed by many people, we need to understand it in depth. It has to be noted that the Keto Diet is not safe unless it is undertaken under supervision by a qualified professional, and for a brief period of time. It is also not a quick fix to achieve fat loss. It needs strict control and may not be sustainable in the long term.

The human body is not naturally used to a low carb diet, so adapting to a Keto Diet may take a while, sometimes even leading to headaches, weakness, irritability, constipation, nausea and vomiting. Ketone production leads to frequent urination, which may cause dehydration due to electrolyte loss. This increases the risk of kidney and heart damage.

Pregnant and lactating women, young adults and teenagers should not undertake this diet plan, because their bodily needs are different and they are in a physiological state that demands a variety of nutrients in high amounts.

Only a physician or a qualified nutritionist can decide if a person is fit to undertake a Keto Diet. Constant evaluation and monitoring during the diet period are also a must. Many who undergo this diet may need to take supplementary nutrients since major food groups will be missing. 

What can be eaten under a Keto Diet Plan? 

  • Low carb vegetables
  • Herbs, spices and condiments
  • Meat, eggs, fatty fish
  • Butter, cream, cheese, cottage cheese
  • Nuts, seeds and oils, coconut
  • Avocados, cauliflower, mushrooms, broccoli
  • Soy products like tofu

What has to be avoided in a Keto Diet Plan?

  • Fruits (small portions of berries may be allowed)
  • Root vegetables
  • Most cereals and grains
  • Sugary foods, fruit juices, smoothies
  • Beans, legumes and pulses
  • Alcohol
  • Unhealthy fats like Mayo

Here are some dishes you can have under a Keto Diet Plan:

  • Porridge made with full-fat coconut milk, flaxseeds, chia seeds and plain grated coconut
  • Zucchini noodles with nuts and cheese
  • Cauliflower rice stir-fry with eggs
  • Spinach with grilled fish
  • Roasted chicken with stir-fried veggies

So, now you have a clear understanding of the Keto diet. Why not try some innovative Keto dishes. Here are two of my favourite Keto-friendly breakfast recipes.

1. Poha made from cauliflower or a Keto poha

Ingredients: (1 serving)

  • 150 gms cauliflower
  • 30 gms chopped onion
  • 15 gms peanuts
  • ½ tbsp. oil
  • ½ tsp mustard seeds
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 chopped green chili
  • few curry leaves
  • salt to taste
  • chopped coriander for garnish
  • few drops of lemon juice

Method: 

  1. Wash and grate the cauliflower, cut the stalks in cubes like a potato.
  2. Boil the stalks in salted water for 10 minutes.
  3. Dry roast the peanuts till they turn golden brown and set aside.
  4. Now take the oil, heat it – add mustard, curry leaves and saute the onion.
  5. Season with turmeric and salt, add peanuts, green chili. Let them be fr fy for a few seconds.
  6. Add the riced cauliflower, splash some water and cover it till tender.
  7. Now add the stalks, mix well.
  8. Garnish with coriander and lemon juice. Serve hot!

2. Almond flour Dosa/Keto Dosa with coconut chutney

Ingredients: (1 serving)

  • 20 gms almond flour
  • 15 gms shredded mozzarella
  • water or coconut milk to make the batter
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of hing and cumin powder
  • oil to spread on the non-stick pan

Method: 

  1. Mix everything and form a batter.
  2. Oil the pan. Spread the batter.
  3. Cook on medium flame, till you see the browning and sides begin to lift.
  4. Fold over. Serve hot with the chutney. (make the chutney as usual with coconut, herbs and spices)

To conclude, a Keto Diet is a miraculous plan for some, but it is not meant for everyone. So, seek guidance from a qualified dietician or doctor, and make an informed decision about going in for this diet. And as you follow it, take steps to make sure it works for you and does not harm you. 

Also read: What Is Intermittent Fasting?

About the expert:

Written by Priya Kathpal on 16 July 2019.

The author, Priya Kathpal is a nutritionist and founder of Nutrify.

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