Few years back when I followed a low carb diet plan to lose weight, I was too frustrated with myself and not thinking about the consequences of any particular way of eating to lose weight. I was in full ‘Josh’ to lose weight asap. I lost 40 kg weight and in the next few years began to regain all of it. I realized that I needed to restart my keto diet plan to lose weight again. What happened this time I will tell you but before that let us take a look at Keto Diet.
Keto diet; what is it?
The ketogenic aka keto diet is a diet that is very low in carb content. This diet is being considered as a way to lose weight fast. It acts in favor of weight loss as it works by keeping minimal carbs and increasing protein and fat content in daily diet. This consumption of no to low carbs diet helps body to reach ketosis which is a metabolic state in which fat acts like the primary source of energy in place of carbohydrates. In ketosis, fat is converted into ketones which in turn is metabolized by liver. This results in dramatic weight loss, reduced sugar levels and easing out various other health issues.
Coming back to my personal experience, yes, I did lose 40 kg in almost an year and maintained it for more than five years but then as I began introducing carbs in my diet because fat and seeds in my diet caused issues like heart palpitation for me. Cutting down on fat made me feel hungry and low energy levels. I had lost weight but felt sick from inside. Lack of calcium made my bones weak and finally I decided to go for a regular diet. Keto diet made me happy but brought in the saddest state of my health.
The major downside of ketogenic diet is that it is difficult for any vegetarian Indian food lover to sustain it.
Keto diet food?
The mantra to lose weight with keto diet is to consume carb intake not more than 20%. These 20% carbs should be coming from whole foods like whole grains and vegetables. Let us take a look at what you can advised to eat when you are on a keto diet:
- Fatty meat cuts like chicken, pork and beef
- Fatty Fish like tuna, salmon and mackerel
- Seeds and nuts like flaxseeds, chia seeds, walnuts, almonds, pecans, macadamia nuts
- Dairy in the form of butter and cream
- Olive oil, ghee, coconut oil and avocado oil
- Leafy greens like spinach, mustard, amaranth, lettuce and kale
- Vegetables which are low carb like tomatoes, onions, capsicum, cucumber, gourds etc.
- Herbs and spices
- Cheese and mayonnaise
- Fruits like berries
Keto diet and heart health
Though keto diet is a wonderful way to lose weight yet the question here arises if it is really a good diet for your heart?
It undoubtedly helps in reduced inflammation and controls oxidative stress which is good for the blood vessels and keeping blood pressure under control.
If you are a diabetic then you have chances of the risk of heart disease which can be controlled by cutting down sugar consumption. When sugar levels get reduced due to keto diet, it can help reduce heart issues.
My personal experience says that it is difficult for Indians to get used to ketogenic diet and maintain it in the long run. Too much of fat and non vegetarian food can become difficult to adjust to. Once your body gets used to it then getting back to regular Indian diet can be stressful for body. As an Indian I could not sustain it for more than five years and even today if I consume coconut oil and flax seeds, I feel issues with my heart.
The reason might be that some of the foods that are an important part of keto diet are high in saturated fats and cholesterol like fatty fish, meat, eggs etc.
I think still there is a lot of research required to prove that keto diet is a completely safe weight loss diet option for heart patients and people with sensitive hearts. Not only that in some cases it has been found to increase risk of hypoglycemia among diabetics. If supplements are not added to your keto diet, then it can lead to nutritional deficiencies and I am the best example for this.
My advice will be to check with your doctor if you plan to go for keto diet to lose weight. If you have a family history for heart problems, then it will be great to consult a cardiologist. I feel after my life experience that the best diet plan is one that is sustainable. Extreme diet plans like keto diet plan should be avoided unless you need to reduce weight in urgency for medical surgery etc.