When you google the fastest way to lose fat, you will be bombarded with a lot of fad diets as they can give you quick results (but not the sustainable one, mind you). Let me begin with the trending one, Keto diet.
The Keto diet wants you to restrict carbs and get more fat in your diet. This sounds interesting because lots of fat would mean tasty meals most of the time. But, but, but, terms and conditions applied. Keto wants you to have 5- 10 % carbs, 15-20% of protein and fats being the greatest of all the three i.e 70-75%. What is Keto-Diet all about? Keto diet puts your body in Ketosis and strips away the body’s main source of energy (carbohydrates) and forces the body to use fat as fuel. There are different versions of this high-fat diet and they differ only by the macros percentage, Let’s explore them too :
Types of Keto- Diet:
1.Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD):
Macronutrients : 75% fat,15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs
On this diet, your meals and snacks are planned around fat like avocados, butter, ghee, fatty fish and meats, olives and olive oil. Major calories are taken from fats alone. You have to cut your carbs from 300 grams to 50 grams and a moderate amount (90 grams ) of protein will work. So, you can go for leafy greens, non-starchy veggies, and low-carb fruits like berries and melon.
2.Targeted Ketogenic Diet(TKD):
Macronutrients : 65-70% fat, 20% protein, 10-15% carbs
This diet is mainly for athletes and active individuals who live a keto lifestyle but need more carbs. This diet allows the carb intake of 20-30 grams immediately before and after the workout to enhance the recovery. You can go for dairy, fruit, and grain-based food, and here the additional carbs will burn down and will not get stored as body fat.
3.Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD) :
Keto Days : 75% fat, 15-20% protein, 5-10% carbs.
Non-Keto Days: 25% fat, 25% protein and 50% carbs.
This diet allows you to enjoy birthday treats and special occasions by going on and off on Keto. A few days, you have a normal diet, and a few days you have a Keto Diet. CKD approach includes 5 keto days and 2 non-keto days. For best results, eat wholesome carbohydrates food and avoid highly processed food.
4.High Protein Keto Diet (HPKD) :
Macronutrients : 60-65% fat, 30% protein, 5-10% carb.
This diet allows you to have a little more protein than the standard one, and less fat. Carbs are still restricted. This diet is preferred by many as it allows you to have more protein and less fat. But sometimes, it doesn’t allow the body to get into ketosis because the body uses protein as fuel.
Now, you know different types of Keto Diets and what their requirements are. Going on Keto to lose weight fast is not a healthy approach. This diet was invented many years ago to treat Alzheimer’s disease, headache, neurotrauma, pain, Parkinson’s disease, and sleep disorders. Now, people use it to lose weight fast and there are different Keto Foods available in the market for Keto Dieters. There are many benefits to this diet :
- Quick Weight Loss: We derive energy for our day-to-day activities from carbs and on this diet, the body derives its main source of energy from fats. This means that the body burns fats more quickly.
- Decreased appetite: Keto Diet includes fat in a higher amount which can help eliminate cravings and feelings of hunger, as your body is in a state of ketosis.
- Epilepsy: The ketogenic diet was first introduced to treat seizures. It has been used to successfully reduce seizures for many years, particularly in cases where medications don’t work.
- Increase in Energy: Few experienced an increase in energy and stamina after following a Ketogenic diet. A lower carbohydrate diet also keeps the blood sugar level even.
There are few other benefits of Keto that entirely depend on a person and should be taken care of by your doctors such as its benefit in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes and Cancer. Keto may reduce inflammations. A 6-month study in 59 people found that following a low-carb diet decreased several markers of inflammation to a greater extent than following a low-fat diet.
Is it Sustainable?
Being a diet and nutrition coach, I would never recommend Keto for weight loss. Here’s why:
Keto may sound an easy way to weight loss but this achievement comes with many health problems.
1. Weight Regain: You were trying to lose weight and your friend gave you a suggestion about Keto Diet. Cheers! It worked, now what? Are you going to follow these rules your entire life? I don’t think so, Keto Diet has few food options and that gets boring with time. As soon as you hit back to the carbs, Whoaa! You’re at the starting line again.
2.Decreased Muscle Mass and Metabolism: You’re eating much more fat than protein and when you lose weight, it might be a lot of muscle. And when a person goes off the ketogenic diet, they regain fat, not lean muscles. This will have a long-lasting effect on metabolic rates.
3. Negative Impact on Heart Health: Since, Keto Diet demands more fat than other macronutrients, which can result in high cholesterol and heart problems. Hunger, headaches, nausea, fatigue, irritability, constipation and brain “fog” may last for days. An increase in lipids, or fats, in the blood of patients on the keto diet can be seen within 6-8 weeks, according to doctors.
4. Nutrients Deficiency: Because Keto Diet is restrictive in nature, your body is not getting enough vitamins, minerals, fibers because it limits the consumption of fresh fruits, legumes, vegetables, and whole grains. Constipation is also one of the main problems due to the lack of fiber.
5.Keto Flu: Side effects of cutting carbs results in Keto Flu. Nausea, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, headache, irritability, weakness, muscle cramps, dizziness, poor concentration, stomach pain, muscle soreness, difficulty sleeping, and sugar cravings are few symptoms of “Keto Flu”. Sleep and hydration will help you in this case. The ability to focus on work and personal life can also decrease because “Brain needs sugar “.Depriving it of carbs can have bad effects in the long run.
6. Ensure that your calorie intake is adequate because fats can keep you full for a longer period and Ketosis assists in controlling your hunger hormones. It is good for a short period as it will help you in losing weight but can turnout extremely dangerous because calorie restrictions can adversely affect your energy levels and hormones.
7. Nourish your microbiome: Lack of food diversity can lead to a lack of diversity in your gut microbiome as well.”Gut Bugs” helps in maintaining a strong immune system, regulating blood sugar levels, energy production, and even your mood. Keto diet doesn’t include food rich in fiber so make sure you consume plenty of low-carb veggies, nuts, and seeds.
If you’re planning to opt Keto Diet, make sure you get enough supplements when required. There are many available in the market, choose what fits you the best and consult your doctor before taking any.
There’s no ” one size fits all ” here, Keto Diet helped your friend doesn’t mean it will help you as well. Keto Diet is highly restrictive, which can get extremely difficult sometimes. Fewer food options make it easy for people to consume more protein and poor quality processed food, depriving their bodies of essential nutrients. Once your body enters into the state of Ketosis, it can fall victim to bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems. The biggest problem most Keto Dieters can face is extreme fatigue which is because of the starvation mode in which your body enters once it hits ketosis. The body needs sugar to function efficiently and it can get very difficult to lose weight once your body starts suffering from fatigue.
The best diet is the one you can stick to.
Build your meal plan around macros and nourish your body with essential micronutrients. Focus on nutrient-dense, minimally processed whole foods. Maximize vegetable intake and prepare your meals at home whenever possible so that you can know what goes inside your body. Choose what fits you the best.