The Ketogenic diet has taken the world of fat loss by a storm. While some swear by it, some experts are staunchly against it. What is Ketosis and how does one function on a diet that eliminates carbohydrates, the primary source of energy for the human body? Let’s take a look.
Understanding The Ketogenic Diet
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Our body’s basic source of energy is the glucose which is the end product of the carbohydrates that we consume in our diet. The central nervous system utilizes glucose for the body to function. However, in the Ketogenic diet, we create a deficit of carbohydrates and push it to use fat as the primary source of energy. The absence of liver glucose from carbohydrates urges liver to produce ketones, which is the secondary fuel for our body. During the ketosis phase, our body starts using Ketones as the energy source, therefore, the body fat turns into the primary energy source. High amount of dietary fat and low amount of dietary carbohydrates are the key features of the ketogenic diet. As per the ratio is concerned, the diet appears as 75% of dietary fat, 20% proteins and just 5% of carbohydrates. The ratio can be tweaked accordingly for different people. No wonder why it’s one of the most effective fat loss diet strategies. However, before you jump on the Keto bandwagon, there are a few more facts about Keto that you must be aware of:
1) In order to switch the energy source from glucose to ketones, it takes a few days. The body takes time to adapt to the new course of metabolism. However, the body goes on Ketosis only when the carbohydrates are in a very low quantity and that’s between 20-40 gm per day, approximately.
2) Going beyond your macros with protein intake can kick you out of Ketosis. While following keto, one has to keep his/her protein consumption in check. Keep it not more than 0.8 gm per pound of body weight. The logic behind it is that the central nervous system quickly switches the metabolism from Ketones to glucose in case the ratio of fats, carbs and proteins gets varied.
3) Though, the keto diet is optimal for fat loss and preserving lean muscle mass, there is no such research that says ketogenic diet is beneficial for ‘increasing’ the muscle mass.
4) It is next to impossible for vegans to follow the Keto diet as vegans hardly have any option for lean proteins. However, the ova-lacto vegetarians (vegetarians who consume dairy and eggs) can still leverage the benefits of a keto diet.
Foods You Can Consume In Keto Diet
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Foods high in dietary fat like butter, ghee, coconut oil, etc are your best bets. Lean protein sources like chicken, eggs and fish are a must. Green veggies like spinach and broccoli are the key food items of the keto plan as well. In case of ova-lacto vegetarians, they can consume eggs or paneer instead of chicken and fish. But always remember to keep the consumption within the limits of your ‘macros’. If you go overboard with your macros, you’ll snap out of ketosis and you wouldn’t even know.