If you haven’t yet heard of the keto or ketogenic diet, it’s about time you crawled out from under the rock you’ve been under. The ketogenic diet is a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that shares many similarities with the Atkins and low-carb diets. It involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake, and replacing it with fat. Not just any type of fat but healthy fats like that you get from olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter, ghee, lard (or tallow for a halal option), nuts, avocado, eggs et cetera. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When you’re in ketosis, your body breaks down fat into ketones and uses them as energy. This causes the body to burn stored fat, rather than carbohydrates, for energy.
The ketogenic diet has been gaining a lot of attention lately. This high-fat, low-carbohydrate diet is said to help people lose weight and improve their health. Proponents of the ketogenic diet say that it can help with conditions like epilepsy, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Foods that should be abstained from on a ketogenic diet include all grains, root vegetables such as potatoes, carrots and yam as well as fruits in general, with the exception of berries. Vegetable oils like sunflower, canola, peanut, grape seed and margarine, high-carb nuts like pistachios and cashews, legumes like lentils, soybeans and peanuts as well as dried fruit like raisins or figs should also be avoided. Dairy, whilst considered ketogenic, often stalls weight loss for many and is not recommended if your aim is to try to lose weight
Hence, a ketogenic meal could typically entail a side of stir-fried low-carb vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower or green leafy vegetables, a palm-sized portion of beef, fish or chicken, an egg or two and possibly half an avocado. The portion size really depends on one’s appetite and varies according to your required calorie intake, although there is a school of thought that does not support counting calories at all.
Some healthy keto snacks could include a handful of low-carb and high-fat nuts like pili, macadamia, almonds or pecans or a handful of seeds such as sunflower or pumpkin seeds or berries such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries or cranberries. However, if your primary goal is to lose weight, then snacking in between meals should be avoided altogether. Simply stick to two to three substantial meals per day for the best results.
Critics of the ketogenic diet however say that the diet is unhealthy and going on it may lead to nutritional deficiencies. They also say that there is insufficient evidence to support the claims made by ketogenic diet advocates. Hence, to be safe, it’s advisable to always check with your doctor first before deciding to start this diet.
So, is the keto diet just a fad? Advocates will beg to differ. Despite the apparent lack of scientific data, those who have drastically benefited from the ketogenic diet believe that the proof is in the pudding – a Keto Pudding, that is – and it is likely here to stay.