What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The Ketogenic diet is a high fat, medium-protein and low carbohydrate diet, that in drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. The diet works around the principle that the body will get more calories from the proteins and fats that enter the body, and less from the carbohydrates. When one reduces their carbohydrate intake, the body eventually runs out of fuel, or blood sugar, that it can use quickly; this usually happens after three to four days of minimizing your carb intake. When the body realizes that it does not have enough quick fuel, it starts to break down protein and fat for energy, which leads to weight loss. The reduction in carbs puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis.
The keto diet is a great tool that focuses on effective weight loss. The keto diet helps in weight loss by causing the body to enter into a Ketogenic state, wherein the liver starts to break fats into ketones, which is basically breaking down fats into acid, in order to supply energy. Additionally it can also apparently help in managing other certain medical conditions, like epilepsy, improve heart conditions as it reduces cholesterol levels. It can also be recommended to cancer patients, and those suffering from Parkinson’s Disease.
All in all, the simplistic approach of the keto diet has attracted people to experiment with it, as a result of which there are multiple variations of the keto diet available. The keto diet has become one of the most tried diets, and has risen immensely in popularity in the past few years. With various celebrities vouching for it, anyone who wishes to lose weight today has definitely looked into the Ketogenic diet. Despite being immensely popular, there are several misconceptions that surround the keto diet; these range for legitimate concerns to trivial doubts.
Below are some of the top ten misconceptions related to the keto diet:
1. Carbs are bad!
The keto diet is focused in eliminating the carbohydrate intake of the person. Once the body’s carbohydrate stock reduces, fats become the primary mode to obtain fuel. This results in the metabolic stage of ketosis. The keto diet helps in weight loss as it eliminates sugars and refined carbohydrates. However all carbs are not bad. It is just that the keto diet focuses on eliminating carbs out of the picture.
It is important to understand that there are two kinds of carbs, there are good carbs which include foods like whole grains, beans, fruits, vegetables, all which keep the body healthy by providing vitamins, minerals, fiber and other essential nutrients. Carbohydrates are indeed an important source of energy, however most people tend to consume carbs in the form of white bread, rice, sugar sodas, processed foods, etc. all which are referred to as bad carbs, and hence make one fat.
The Keto diet aims to cut out this portion of carbohydrates, that’s unhealthy and thus aids to weight loss.
2. Keto diet helps in losing weight permanently:
The keto diet is indeed a quick way to lose weight, its results, if done correctly are visible within the first few weeks itself. However the sustainability of it is questionable. Keto diet is a restrictive one, and thus it is often times hard for individuals to commit, which in turn leads to yo-yoing of diets. Yo-yoing of diets naturally will lead to variation in weight.
3. Keto promotes an unhealthy lifestyle:
It is a common misconception that a lot of people have that keto is not a health alternative, mainly due to the fact that it is a fat rich diet. While the keto diet is unconventional in the sense that it allows the individual to eat items like dairy, cheese, bacon, etc. it does not limit itself solely to that. While it is alright to include these items, when one talks about including fats in the diet, it means healthy fats. Keto suggests a person to eat items like that have natural good fats on them rather than just stick to saturated fats. Some healthy fatty foods are fatty fish, avocados, nuts, etc.
4. The Keto Diet makes the person weak:
When one begins the keto diet, many participants have complained about experiencing flu like symptoms, this is known as the keto flu. The keto Flu is like a normal flu, with symptoms of headaches, nausea, weakness, constipation etc. However this mainly happens because the body is suddenly losing out on its daily source of energy, i.e: the carbohydrates. The body is adapting and in the stage of transitioning, wherein, it is realizing that it now has to utilize fats in order t produce fuel. As a result of this transition, the body undergoes the keto flu.
However it is important to know, that the keto flu is normal, and lasts for 3-5 days only, with each day getting better. Once a person is fully committed to the keto diet, many have reported feeling more energized, healthier and feeling more active!
5. I can’t exercise on the Keto Diet/ or don’t need too:
Exercise is an important factor to add to anyone’s lifestyle, regardless of if you are or are not on the keto diet. Exercise has immediate and long term benefits, which not only assists in losing weight, but also improves other healthy lifestyle parameters, such as sleep, energy, mood, etc.
Since keto is a fat rich diet, and fats are a little harder to break down, a little additional movement to the body through exercise, will help convert the fats faster. However, exercise is recommended to individuals on any diet.
6. Veggies and fruits can be high in Carbs, you can’t eat them on Keto:
In order to avoid constipation, which is often times a nasty side effect of being on the keto diet, it is important to eat produce. It is recommended to eat non starchy veggies like zucchini, cucumbers, bell peppers, broccoli, as well as fruits like berries, etc. These provide antioxidents and fiber, which is critical to avoid constipation.
7. “I’m constantly in the process of ketosis”:
The keto diet is a strict one, it requires ones carbohydrate intake to be less than 50 grams per day. After three to four days, the body enters into ketosis, that burns fat into fuel. An individual may consume 10 grams on one day, and 100 grams of carbs on another, this can affect their state of ketosis.
Additionally, removing obvious choices of carb rich foods may not be enough, there can be many hidden sources of carbs, which could take an individual out of ketosis.
8, Keto Diet is high on protein, hence is not the best for vegetarians:
Protein needs to be eaten in moderation; excess protein gets transformed into glucose, which in turn increases blood sugar, thus taking the body out of ketosis. And most importantly, protein can be acquired through various sources like nuts, seeds, dairy, eggs, etc. instead of the standard meat options.
9. Keto diet is standardized; everyone has the same Carb needs:
When one starts a low carb diet like keto, followers in the beginning tend to consume 20g-50 grams of carbs in a day. However, depending on an individual’s lifestyle factors, like physical activity, etc. one can go higher. Therefore, it is recommended to consult a dietician, to calculate your individual nutritional needs.
10. You tend to stay hungry:
It is commonly believed that carbs keep you full for longer, however refined carbs do not promote fullness, rather the raise blood sugar levels. The idea that a low carb diet would leave one starving is untrue, additionally, it has been proven, that fats keep you fuller for longer. They keep one more satisfied. Moreover, when talking about the keto diet in particular, the diet, includes multiple small snacking options throughout the day, keeping the follower satisfied. One such example is coffee with cream, accompanied with a fruit.
Keto Coffee and Ketosis:
Coffee is actually loved by keto dieters, so much so that there is something known as keto coffee, that supposedly helps reach ketosis faster. Keto coffee is packed with butter and oils, which supplements the entire ketosis process. Additionally oils like MCTs help the dieter feel full for long. The coffee with heavy cream or butter also contributes to 0-2grams of carbohydrates.
However, it is commonly misunderstood that the coffee helps accelerate weight loss, but that is not the case. The heavy cream or grass fed butter in the coffee, adds additional saturated fats into the body that is not going to cause any weight loss by itself. Adding fat without reducing carbs is counterproductive, and will not put the body into ketosis.
Therefore the keto diet is a diet that is carefully curated for each individual, and thus requires the assistance of a dietician. If done correctly, keto foods help the dieter lose weight, along with feeling healthier both mentally and physically. It is a diet that focuses on eliminating the carbohydrate food group, and replacing the energy gained from there with fats! This however hoes not mean that carbs are bad, or fats should be consumed in excessive quantities. Keto focuses on creating an overall well balanced diet, with wholesome keto foods.