The history of the ketogenic diet dates to the 1920s where it was used to treat epilepsy. But presently, the diet is used for all purposes other than its main objective.
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet that is similar to the Atkins and other low-carb diets in various ways. The reduction in carbs puts the body into a metabolic state called ketosis (fat instead of carbs provides energy for the body) and hence, the name ‘ketogenic diet’. The macronutrient composition of a ketogenic diet has 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein and 5-10% carbohydrates. One might wonder looking at these statistics on the efficiency of this diet which stresses on increased fat intakes. But various studies have compared this diet with the traditional low-fat/high-carb diets and the results show that the ketogenic diet is effective.
When a person consumes less than 50 grams of carbs per day, production of insulin hormone is reduced drastically. Insulin helps glucose from the bloodstream to reach the cells where it is used for energy. When carbs consumption is high, insulin is constantly produced and much of the glucose is converted into body fat, leading to increased risk of diabetes and heart disease. But a ketogenic diet makes your body produce less insulin and prevents any of these health risks.
What you ‘Can’ & ‘Cannot’ Eat?
Allowed are fresh salmon, pastured eggs, beef, nuts and seeds, non-starchy veggies, avocados, grass-fed butter and ghee, cheese and healthy oils such as extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil and avocado oil.
Disallowed are sugary foods such as soda, cakes and ice creams, all kinds of fruits, grains, low-fat or diet foods, alcohol, beans or legumes, tubers and root veggies and anything that increases insulin and blood glucose levels.
Eliminating processed carbs from your diet eliminates the bad gut bacteria and eating foods allowed in the ketogenic diet provides a thriving ground for the good gut bacteria which helps to clear the digestive tract.
How Do You Benefit from a Ketogenic Diet?
Following a ketogenic diet helps in:
No single diet works favorable for everyone. The best diet plan is the one that works advantageous to your body type. Although the initial side effects of a ketogenic diet are less hazardous ones such as mild low blood sugar, constipation and indigestion, sometimes, low-carb diets can lead to kidney stones or acidosis (high acid levels) in the body. Also, starting on a ketogenic diet and going back to a normal diet for an obese person is tricky as you can develop diabetes, heart disease or high blood pressure.
The best diet plan is the one that offers a well-balanced mix of foods from all five food groups along with active physical exercise every day. If you are a health-conscious person who wants to become fitter or lose weight in a healthy way, you can get in touch with a registered dietitian nutritionist at www.firsteatright.com to help you plan a healthy diet plan for weight loss or any other purpose of yours in the healthiest way.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.