Ketogenic Diet: Need To Count Your Calories and Carbs
Keto diet is one of the most popular methods worldwide. Started as a therapeutic diet in 1920 for epilepsy, today is known to be the most widespread and successful diet for weight loss.
Research says adopting this low carb, high-fat diet not only promotes fat loss but also useful in conditions like type-2 diabetes, cancer, polycystic ovarian disease and Alzheimer’s disease.
As a rule, the keto diet is a low carb, high fat and moderate protein diet. There are many variations to the keto diet when it comes to the amount of each macronutrient. There is no one ‘standard’ ketogenic diet with a specific ratio of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. The key essence of the diet is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates to less than 50 grams a day.
Generally, 70-80% of the energy requirement should be from fats, followed by 10 -20% from proteins and very little from carbohydrates.
How many calories should I eat while on a keto diet?
One of the prime reasons behind the popularity of the keto diet is that you don’t need to count the calories while eating. People following the ketogenic diet must only focus on the carbohydrate intake. While following a keto diet, it is important to understand that rather than counting calories, you must make all of your calories count by eating nourishing, well-balanced low-carb meals. It is impossible to know exactly how many calories are there in a specific food or recipe.
For a successful weight loss, keep your focus on minimally processed foods that contain high-quality protein, healthy fat, and nutrient-dense fibrous carbs, especially vegetables.
Keep away from high-calorie, high-reward processed foods that are easy to overindulge in, even if they are low in carbohydrates.
How much salt to eat when on a keto diet?
While following the ketogenic regime, you may need to add extra salt in your diet. This is because, with decreased carbohydrate intake, the insulin levels fall significantly. In addition, when insulin levels drop, the kidneys excrete more sodium and water. This is crucial during the initial phase of the keto diet.
If sodium is not replaced, you are likely to develop the unpleasant symptoms of “keto flu,” which include headache, fatigue, and weakness.
In addition, a keto or low-carb diet composed of mainly whole foods does not have a lot of sodium, especially compared to processed foods. Hence, you may want to add more salt to avoid side effects.
However, if you have high blood pressure, kidney disease or congestive heart failure, talk to your doctor first before increasing your sodium intake, especially if you take medication.
Keto diet and weight loss
While discussing the famous keto diet one of the most frequently asked questions is, “does keto diet really help in weight loss?” It is easy to be sceptical given the number of success stories doing the rounds. Nevertheless, if you look at the science behind the low-carb diet, it is hard not to believe.
The basis of the ketogenic diet is that if you deprive the body of glucose, which is the main source of energy for all cells in the body, and energy is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is consumed, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of insulin decrease and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose.
Of course, as with any diet, the results of the keto diet are quite individualistic. Everyone is different with different circumstances and each one responds in their own unique way both physically and mentally to such diets.
Some factors can determine the time duration to see the success of keto diet as given below:
● Body composition (body fat percentage, height, weight, gender)
● Health conditions
● Metabolic rate (fast, slow)
● Activity levels
● Intake of highly processed foods
How long does it take to reach Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state characterized by elevated levels of ketone bodies in the blood or urine. Ketosis induced by carbohydrate restriction is termed as nutritional ketosis.
According to some sources, ketosis is a state when blood ketone levels are elevated above 0.3 millimole/Litre (mmol/L). This can be measured with a blood test.
When can one reach the point of ketosis while on a low-carb diet is purely individualistic and depends on various factors.
In some people, an overnight fast could trigger ketosis while others may take days or weeks of the low-carb regime to start forming ketones.
These few tips might help you get into ketosis faster:
- Carbohydrate restriction is the key to ketosis – Keep carb intake to not more than 20 grams per day.
- Increase Fat intake – To achieve ketosis one must fill their plates with healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, almonds, butter, heavy cream, yogurt, cheese, etc.
- Practice Intermittent Fasting – when you don’t eat for long hours, your body utilizes the glycogen stores and not glucose or proteins. You can exercise intermittent fast for 12 to 14 hours.
- Consume at least 20 grams of MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) Oil daily, which converts into ketones faster as they travel straight to the liver.
Keto Meal Plan
A ketogenic meal plan, like any other healthy diet, must include whole foods and many fibre-rich, low-carb vegetables. Choose healthy fats like coconut oil, avocado, olive oil and pastured butter to increase the fat content of dishes.
A healthy ketogenic diet should revolve around high-fat, low-carb food choices and restrict highly processed foods and unhealthy fats. Keto-friendly beverage options must be sugar-free. Consider water, sparkling water or unsweetened green tea and coffee.