Today, we all know that while eating all food groups of food is essential, carbohydrates and not fats is our biggest enemy. It is carbohydrates that trigger quick hunger pangs and sugar cravings within us which lead to fat deposition. Consequently, you can no longer fit into your jeans! This led to the formulation of various low carb diet plans with the Atkins diet as the leader. However, here is another plan that is giving stiff competition to the Atkins diet. This diet plan is none other than the Ketosis Diet plan which turns your body into a fat burning machine. Here, we would walk you through understanding exactly what a Ketosis Diet is and how you can best utilize it to get your dream body and terrific health. Read on:
What is Ketosis Diet?
Before understanding the process, we must first understand what ketosis is. Ketosis is a metabolic state which our body naturally goes in if there is little to no food intake. In this state, the body starts converting the deposited fats as well as available fats into energy molecules called ketones in the liver and releases them in the blood. Normally, the glucose molecules released in the blood is utilized for energy and rest converted into fats. In the absence of glucose molecules, the body starts breaking down these ketones to meet its energy requirements. Compared to glucose molecules, these ketones are a slower burning fuel source. Ketosis diet is thus a high fat, moderate protein and extremely low carb diet which pushes your body in this ketosis state and help you acquire a slim and trim body. Ketosis diet is also popular through many different names like low carb diet, low carb high fat (LCHF) diet, ketogenic diet etc.
Ketosis Diet Plan
In terms of the ratio of food groups, a true ketosis diet involves intake of 75% fats, 20% proteins and 5% carbohydrates. The ketosis diet plan is unlike other diet plans. Here the success depends on your body getting into the ketosis state where it is no longer looking to burn glycogen for its body needs but simply turning to burning ketones. On an average, it takes about 2 weeks of time for the body to turn into a keto machine. Initially, as your body gets deprived of glycogen, many complain of weakness and drowsiness but once your body has entered the ketosis state and has stabilized, you start feeling normal and energized. Here, it may be pointed out that you are not starving your body but simply cutting off maximum carbohydrates from your dietary intake. Now let’s look at what you can eat and what you cannot eat during this diet plan.
Foods to Eat in Ketosis Diet
- Meats like red meat, ham, bacon, sausage, steak, chicken, and turkey.
- Fatty fishes like salmon, tuna, and trout
- Whole eggs or omega-3 enriched eggs
- Butter and cream which should ideally be grass-fed
- Various kinds of cheese like cheddar, goat, cream, and blue
- Nearly all nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, sunflower, chia etc.
- Healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil etc.
- Low carb veggies like green veggies, tomatoes, onions, pepper etc.
Foods to avoid in Ketosis Diet
- High sugar content foods like soda, fruit juice, ice-cream, cakes, smoothies, candies etc.
- Grains and starches like wheat based products, pasta, rice etc.
- All fruits except berries
- All kinds of root vegetables like potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes etc.
- Beans and legumes like peas, lentils, kidney beans, chickpea etc.
- Low-fat and diet products as they are highly processed in carbs
- All alcohol as they are high in carbs.
Variations of the Ketosis Diet Plan
What we outlined earlier was the standard ketogenic diet referred to as SKD. This diet finds a similarity to the Induction phase of the Atkins diet. Here just about 20 to 50 gm of net carbs are taken on a daily basis. This is the standard ketosis diet which can be taken up by a maximum number of people. It is ideally suited for people who lead a sedentary life and are looking at this diet for weight loss.
Apart from SKD, there are two other major variations of the ketosis diet plan. They are:-
Targeted Ketosis Diet
Also referred to TKD, this diet plan involves consuming a modicum amount of carbohydrates before 30 to 60 minutes of a workout session. The carbs advised here are easily digestible ones with high glycemic index. Again glucose based foods are advised and not fructose as they replenish liver glycogen instead of muscle glycogen thereby defeating the entire purpose of the keto diet plan. The purpose of the carbohydrate consumption is to burn it off completely during the workout and not feel any lack of energy. This diet is ideal for people who do an intense exercise involving a lot of lifting of weights. Those who are into body building can go for this diet plan.
Cyclic Ketosis Diet
Also referred to as CKD, this is considered the most advanced form of ketosis diet plan. Here the first five days of the week are according to the ketosis diet plan and the weekend is all about carbohydrate overload. This helps maintain lean mass. Here you take about 50 gm of net carb on ketosis days and 450-600 gm carb on high carb days. This type of diet is especially recommended for athletes and body builders.
Ketosis Diet Recipes
Most people think that ketogenic diet plan meals are bland but they can be lip-smacking delicious. We share below some low carb high-fat recipes that you can try while on this diet.
- Avocado and Egg Fat Bombs
Avocados are rich in monounsaturated fats as well as potassium (one of the ultimate remedy for keto-flu) and vitamins awhile eggs give you essential proteins. To prepare the dish, hard boil 3 large eggs and peel them. Now cut them in half and carefully spoon its egg yolk and put them in a bowl. Next, half the avocado, peel its one-half, cut it in slices and put it in a food processor. To it, add the egg yolks, one-fourth cup mayonnaise, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon salt and some freshly ground pepper to taste. Blend till the entire mixture is creamy and smooth. Now you can pour this mixture over the egg whites or over cucumber slices and garnish with chopped spring onions. The prepared cream can be stored in an airtight container for 5 days. This could be an ideal breakfast recipe or used as snacks.
- Low Carb Italian Meatball
This makes for a wonderful main dish or a party snack. To prepare it, first, let the oven preheat to 350 degrees. The cookie sheet can be lined with parchment paper to make cleanup easier. Saute four ounces of minced white onions in 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Some crushed garlic can also be added to it for added flavor. When the onions are translucent, remove from heat and allow it to cool. Meanwhile, mince 1 cup of shredded parmesan cheese in a food processor until fine grained and keep aside. In a separate bowl now, add 1 cup cold whole milk ricotta cheese and 1 large cold egg. Whisk them well until smooth. Add 1.5 Tsp sea salt, ½ Tsp freshly ground pepper and 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning to it. Now add onions and mined parmesan cheese and combine everything well. Next, add 1 pound of ground beef (85% lean) to it and mix well. Take about 1-ounce portion of this meat mixture and roll them into balls. Once all the meat mixture has been rolled into balls, place them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees till cooked and brown. It may take about 20 minutes. Now enjoy these delicious meatballs.
You can find similar delicious recipes over the internet.
Benefits of Ketosis Diet
Though many compare the ketosis diet to Atkins diet since both are low carb, they differ in the key fact that unlike Atkins, the ketosis diet puts a limitation in proteins instead of fat. The low-carb high-fat diet yields plenty of benefits. You are strongly recommended to get a full lipid blood panel done before embarking on a ketosis diet so that you can compare results.
While most may find it surprising, eating a high quotient of healthy fats with extreme low carb can result in significant weight loss. The diet results in an extremely low level of the insulin hormone which is a fat storing hormone. This turns your body into a fat burning machine and you start losing weight. For enhanced effect, people include MCT oil like coconut oil into their diet which increases ketone production and fat loss.
Controls Blood Sugar
A ketogenic diet is highly recommended for people with diabetes of any type and even for those vulnerable to diabetes. The keto diet has proved more effective in controlling this disease than the low-calorie diet normally recommended for diabetic patients. This is because it effectively lowers blood sugar levels and the negative impact of high insulin levels.
Improved Mental Focus
The ketogenic diet has proved specifically useful in increasing mental performance. Ketones are known to be a wonderful source of fuel for the brain. The low carb intake helps avert big spikes in blood sugar. This along with increased intake of fatty acids lead to improved focus, concentration, and overall enhanced brain function.
Increased physical endurance, energy and normalized hunger
Fats have shown to be a more effective molecule to burn as fuel than glycogen. Consuming fats also leave you satiated for longer hours as it takes time to digest. This reduces your hunger pangs as well as leaves you more energized with better physical endurance since fats give you a more constant source of energy which can last for weeks and even months.
Cholesterol and Blood Pressure
The ketosis diet can improve the blood triglyceride levels as well as cholesterol levels which are responsible for arterial build-up. The ketosis diet is known to show a dramatic increase in blood HDL concentration with a decrease in LDL concentration compared to low-fat diets. This also leads to a more normalized blood pressure.
One study has shown that the ketogenic diet results in a drop in skin inflammation and lesions. If the ketosis diet is accompanied with reducing dairy intake and strict skin cleansing regimen, then the skin condition improves markedly.
Ever since the 1920s, the ketogenic diet has proved successful in treating uncontrolled epilepsy, especially in children. It has also shown the same successful results in adults. It has proven to decrease seizures in them. It also moves them to take less anti-epileptic drugs which save them from the various side-effects of these drugs.
Beneficial for various other diseases
Various studies have shown that the ketosis diet has a positive impact on treating various diseases like the heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Polycystic ovary syndrome and brain injuries.
Side Effects of Ketosis Diet
Mentioned below are some common side effects which are often seen in people who start the keto diet plan. Most often these side effects are related to lack of micronutrients and dehydration. Drinking plenty of water and eating food with known sources of micronutrients can easily take care of the below-mentioned side-effects.
People starting a ketogenic diet often complain of cramps especially leg cramps. It normally occurs at mornings or at nights. This occurs due to lack of minerals especially magnesium. Drinking plenty of fluid and intake of salt can help deal with the issue. In severe cases, magnesium supplement can be taken.
Due to dehydration, another common symptom is constipation. Drinking enough water and in-taking good quality fiber from non-starchy vegetables will resolve the issue. In extreme cases, psyllium husk powder can be consumed at bedtime with a glass of water.
- Heart palpitations
While transiting to the keto phase, many complain of increased and faster heart beat. Usually drinking plenty of fluids and salt intake can take care of the issue. If it persists, potassium supplement can be taken once a day.
- Reduced physical performance
While your body is transitioning to the keto phase, you might experience a lack of energy and weakness. This happens because your body is adapting to using fat as energy source. You might feel dizzy and drowsy. However, once the body starts using fat as a fuel source, the side effect starts diminishing.
- Frequent urination
During the initial first or two days of the ketogenic diet, the body burns off the stored glucose in the liver and muscles and you end up releasing plenty of water. The kidney also starts excreting sodium due to the drop of circulating insulin levels. This causes frequent urination but this diminishes after two to three days.
Low blood sugar or hypoglycemia is another common symptom with the ketosis diet. This is more prominent in people who are used to taking high carb diet which makes the body put out a certain amount of insulin to take care of the sugar. However, the symptom like feeling tired, hungry or shaky disappears once the body gets adjusted.
- Sugar cravings
While on a long term, you reduce sugar cravings, you may feel its spike in initial days. This can last from a couple of days to around three weeks. However, this gradually vanishes.
Due to the macronutrient ratio change, some people can also experience diarrhea. However, this soon becomes stabilized as your body adjusts to the change.
- Flu-like symptoms
At the onset of the ketosis diet, many experience flu like symptoms which is popularly called as ‘ketosis-flu’ or ‘induction-flu’. This is because the symptoms mimic that of actual flu i.e. headaches, tiredness, lack of motivation, lethargy, brain fog, irritability etc. Again, these disappear within a week or so.
- Sleep issues
Few people report of sleep troubles. This could be because of low serotonin and insulin levels. In-taking some proteins and little carb before going to bed can take care of the issue. Sometimes eating food high in histamines like avocado, bacon, eggs etc. can induce sleeplessness. Replacing them with more vegetables would take care of the problem.
- Smelly breath
Sometimes eating low carbs can lead to the smell of acetone in the breath which is like a fruity smell just like nail polish remover. This happens because acetone is one of the ketone bodies created during ketosis. This also confirms that your body is transitioning to the keto phase. This can be mitigated by following good oral hygiene, using breath fresheners and in extreme case, slightly increasing carbs to decrease the ketosis.
- Precautions with medications
People who are taking medications for diabetes or blood pressure might need to decrease dose as the body transcends to the ketosis phase. Thus, it is important that they should be under complete doctor supervision and check the blood sugar levels and blood pressure frequently to adjust dosage.
Ketosis Diet Reviews
All in all, the ketogenic diet has found great success amongst people who had tried various diet plans and still failed to lose weight. Additionally, you need not suffer any hunger pangs. Many reviews are available online where people vouch for mind blowing weight loss. However, on the flip side, you again start gaining weight as you start the intake of carbohydrates. Thus, this needs to be watched out on a regular basis so that you need not gain weight. The diet is also expensive to follow as good fats carry a higher price tag. Thus, the diet can be followed initially to get the stubborn fat melted away but gradually exercise and active lifestyle is needed to keep healthy as the carbohydrates get introduced in the diet.