FROM NO FAT TO HIGH FAT – KETO DIET

How a keto diet helps in losing weight, blood sugar control and more.

Over the centuries, fat was treated as the untouchable product owing to its major role in Weight gain, heart disease, etc. Eating it with utmost caution was almost next to breathing for most of the people.

Then times in food tech changed! Fat which was, till the recent past, a major villain suddenly removed his mask and proved that he is not the villain anymore but a silent superhero who went unnoticed owing to the perception of the people (The boy next door as “Spiderman”). 

My reference here is to the recent trends of practicing the Keto diet which is being slowly and steadily picking up its niche in the health industry owing to the desired results it is able to achieve.

The other way of putting it is that the horse (Fat) which could never win the race (losing weight) suddenly became the underdog who won race after race – weight loss, blood sugar control and the list goes on!

What is a Keto diet?

Keto diets are generally very low in carbohydrates and high on fat content. There are constant revisions happening at the research level about the definition of a keto diet but in the general scenario it is a very low carbohydrate diet with moderate protein and high fat, involving consumption of less than 50 gm of carbohydrate per day. 75% of energy needs comes from fat, 20% from protein and 5 % from Carbohydrate respectively.

How does a Keto diet work?

The explanation with a simple example can be as follows:

We all have a particular set road to travel to work or home which we have been taking for many years. Imagine if that road is blocked due to an upcoming metro construction / flyover construction for about 3 months and you have to take an alternate road to travel to work or home. It is a road less travelled but it gets you to your destination before time. 

Our body works in a similar fashion. The Indian diet is traditionally a high Carbohydrate low protein and low fat diet which we have been consuming for generations. Once you stop or restrict the consumption of carbohydrate as the base fuel for the energy needs and replace the carbohydrate with fat, the body starts utilizing it as an alternative source of fuel for energy provision which comes from the break-down of fat.

This breakdown of fat in scientific terms is called as ketosis. During this metabolic state of ketosis the body becomes highly efficient at utilizing fat for energy. This is exactly what Keto diet is all about. 

How much restriction of Carbohydrate is needed?

As with any dietary approach it varies from person to person. Some may achieve the desired ketone levels by consuming 70 gms of Carbohydrate, while for some restricting it to further 30 gms or even 20 gms might be essential to get the desired results.

Why should one follow the Keto diet?

People who wish to lose weight, control their sugars (in case of diabetes) or improve the symptoms of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOD) or simply wish to have a general better health can adopt the keto diet.

But as with any dietary approaches it has its own pros and cons too.

Pros:

Losing weight is easier: Many scientific studies are now proving the effectiveness of weight loss due to the adoption of keto diet. Though debatable amongst some experts, keto diet has shown to have increased fat breakdown (lipolysis), increased feeling of satiety and decreased levels of insulin  which seem to work in favor of the recommendation of keto diet.

Blood sugar control is better: The most crucial factor in the management of diabetes is Blood sugar control. Long term uncontrolled levels of Blood sugar have been associated with weight gain, Hypertension, Kidney disorders, neuronal problems etc.

Following a keto diet is an effective way to reduce post meal blood sugar response ideally associated with consumption of a high Carb meal. Scientific studies have associated keto diet with improved insulin sensitivity, reduction in oral diabetic medication consumption, higher probability of weight loss etc.

Improved lipid levels of your heart: Since the keto diet is high on fat the alarm bells instantly start ringing in our head as fat has been subjected to be the villain for centuries.

One doesn’t need to worry as you will be eating healthy fat options such as olive oil, walnuts, pistachios, coconut oil, avocados etc. Some studies have highlighted that keto diets may lead to a drop in the triglyceride levels (VLDL) and increase in the good cholesterol (HDL).

Cons:

The bad cholesterol (LDL) may increase a little: This fact is slightly debatable as in few studies the people experienced an increase in the LDL levels other few experienced decreased levels or no change at all.

Constipation is likely: Since there is very limited carb intake one may experience constipation sometimes. One way to avoid it is drinking fluids at regular intervals 

Limitation of food options: Since our diet has been, for a very long time, rich in variety of foods like rice, rotis, pastas, pizzas, breads, sweets, fruits, etc, a sudden change in the eating pattern to a keto diet may feel very restrictive. Though a lot of alternative options are available as replacement but the mind still craves for the original versions.

Nowadays people are extremely health conscious and taking extra efforts to be on the right diet. Many of the corporate working class find it difficult to manage their health goals due to lack of availability of healthy meals in their respective canteens. It is in such times that ordering food from a kitchen which specializes in keto food comes handy and offers you a lot of variety. 

My go to place for ordering keto special meals is 3SqrMeals as they provide a wide variety of options for both vegetarians and non vegetarians through their customized meal provision plans. One of my personal favourite from their menu is the Keto Palak khichdi with Tofu and cauliflower with mixed seed crackers3SqrMeals provides timely services that takes care of minute details of nutrition and curates menus to suit your fitness goal.

Keto Andhra Chilly Paneer & Cabbage Porial
Keto Non veg Lasagne

Meals are delivered to you for Lunch / Dinner, ensuring the freshest ingredients, the right portion control while ensuring great taste and have an extensive variety of cuisines. You even have the liberty to pick from a plan to suit your fitness goal and enjoy nutritious meals everyday. 3SqrMeals offer a variety of subscription plans – BalancedKeto (High Fat, Low Carb, Adequate Protein)Low Carb High ProteinZero Carb High Protein, & Personalized 3 meals per day.

Since you might already be salivating due to the above mentioned dishes here are a few “Do It Yourself” (DIY) recipes which you can try in your kitchen and make taste for keto plans:

Chocolate Almond Milkshake

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of Almond Milk
  • 1 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 -3 drops of Stevia
  • 2 Tbsp chia /Sabja seeds (Soaked in water for over 2 hours)

How to Prepare:

  1. Blend the cocoa powder with almond milk and put the chia seeds at the bottom of the glass and pour the blended shake into the glass.
  2. Drink it with breakfast or post workout

Almond Flour and Coconut Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup almond flour (easily available online at flipkart/ amazon)
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup of shredded coconut
  • 3-4 drops of stevia
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (or any other liquid oil)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt

How to Prepare:

  1. Preheat a pan over medium-low heat on the stove. As it heats, take a bowl and mix in together the almond flour, eggs, shredded coconut, olive oil, baking powder, vanilla, and salt. The consistency of the pancake batter may appear slightly thicker than the usual pancake batter.
  2. Grease the preheated pan with butter or olive oil, and then pour 3 to 4 tablespoons of the batter into the centre of the pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter out into a round pancake shape, about 1/4 to 1/2-inch thick.
  3. Cook until little bubbles start to form around the edges of the pancake, and flip the pancake once you feel it has decent browning on one side (about 3 to 4 minutes of cooking time), use a spatula to flip the pancake and cook the other side, about 2 to 3 more minutes.
  4. Repeat the same process for the rest of the batter until all of the pancakes are cooked.

In summary, having a keto diet is a matter of personal choice. The benefits of it certainly supersede the drawbacks. And just as in medicine, never self medicate (random crash diets), always adopt it under expert advice (Doctors/ Nutritionist). It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Happy eating!!

This write up was 1st published on 3Sqrmeals

Published by yourdietcounsel

I am a clinical nutritionist and a certified diabetes educator, writing with the objective of inspiring people to love themselves more and live a better life by sharing my subject matter expertise and life’s experiences.

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