What Is A Keto Diet And Is It Healthy For You?

Last updated on : June 23 2021

Keto diet – Ketone word cloud

Article Summary

Instagram stories and celebrity anecdotes have made the Keto diet famous all over the internet. While Hollywood fame like Halle Berry and Kim Kardashian swear by it, health experts have raised a brow.

What is a keto diet? Is it healthy for you - click on the links below to learn more. 

What is Keto?

How do Ketogenic diets work?

What are the benefits of a Keto diet?

Is Keto better than other diets?

What to eat and what not to eat during your keto diet?

Are there any risks associated with Keto?



What is Keto?

A ketogenic diet is an extremely low-carb diet which accelerates the fat burning process in our body. It is somewhat similar to Atkins and works on the 'low carb-high fat' mechanism. High fat! Sounds scary? Here’s how it works.

How do Ketogenic diets work?

Keto comes from the word ketones. This diet triggers the production of ketones in the body, which act as a fuel supplement. These fuel molecules help keep the body's systems up and running, anytime it goes extremely low on glucose.

But why would your body run out of glucose at all?

When you consume high fat, low card diet, along with some protein, the brain signals the liver to produce ketones. The liver, in turn, starts speeding up the process of fat burning to produce ketones. These ketones quickly get to work and act as a supplementary fuel to glucose.

The entire process of burning fat to produce ketones goes on 24*7, to provide the requisite energy for daily functioning.

This state of ketosis gives your body easier access to the fat stores. And the cycle goes on. You consume fat, and you burn it. With the least amount of carb and more protein, your body tends to lose weight faster.

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Why opt for a Keto diet?

Keto is an unorthodox approach to dieting in the best possible manner. Traditional methods of dieting that focus entirely on healthy eating, often yield slower and short-lived results. A ketogenic diet on the other hand not only helps in faster weight loss but also aids in overall well being of the body. 

What are the benefits of a Keto diet?

- You tend to consume more protein while on keto, which provides a feeling of satiety to your appetite. A low carb diet, reduces blood glucose level, eventually helping with hunger management. So you can forget those sudden random cravings, over time.

- Let's admit hunger strokes are the most terrible part of dieting. Ketosis sort of resembles fasting, sans all the hunger pangs. It is primarily an appetite suppressing diet that munches on stored body fats. You are consuming satiating nutrients that keep you full, burning them off in a cycle. So, the results are usually dramatic.

- Obesity is the root cause of many diseases. So it's safe to say, every weight loss diet plan, in general looks after the well being of the body. But keto goes a step further. It improves brain health by reducing oxidative stress - increasing mental sharpness and allowing you to stay more alert.

- This one's a no brainer. Diabetes and metabolism are directly linked. Keto reduces the fluctuation rate of blood sugar, decreasing the risk of diabetes.

- Keto diet is known to be very useful in managing hormonal flare. Eating unprocessed food not loaded with carbohydrates gives your skin detox and brings back the glow.

- Did you know that a keto diet is right for your heart as well? Science and research back this statement. It reduces the chances of cardiovascular diseases by maintaining BMI and managing blood pressure.

Is Keto better than other diets?

Although many dieticians differ on the subject, researchers say a ketogenic diet is far more effective and healthy as compared to other weight loss regimes. They believe that a well-monitored keto diet manages metabolic syndromes in a better way. It not only helps in faster weight loss but also maintains BMI. So you lose weight dramatically, but in a healthy way.

Keto breaks all standard norms of a typical weight loss diet. The ketogenic food pyramid works in a very different way, and you might have to take your diet to a new level to match its significance. If you are tired of fighting with sudden food cravings, then it is high time you should step onto this diet and have a bowlful of salmon along with your favorite salad.

What to eat and what not to eat during your keto diet?

Keto (ketogenic) diet concept. Balanced low-carb food

As easy as it may sound, planning and maintaining the right keto diet for your body, is difficult. It involves a lot of hard work and dedication. It might not be child's play, but it's not rocket science either. With the right plan and motivation, you can quickly get the body of your dreams if that's what you want.

Know yourself before choosing any meal plan. If your body is not in a condition to handle this diet, it will do more harm than good. Advertisements, success stories, and Instagram feeds can be a wee bit misleading at times. Don't fall for these. You know your body best. It might not even need such a diet. It is always recommended to seek nutritionist's advice before choosing any dieting regime.

Let's assume you have decided to get the ball rolling. Here is the list of the items which you need to include and exclude from your keto diet.

Things to include in a Keto diet :

  • Meat: Unprocessed meats which you get from the store are low carb and a perfect fit for your diet. If you love your beef, lamb, pork, and chicken, you are in great luck!
  • Fish and Seafood: Crave seafood? Keto is just for you. Crab, mussels, octopus, scallops, squid, oysters and shrimp- all in moderation. Avoid breading fishes from the freshwater. Fatty fish like salmon help you to maintain your weight.
  • Eggs: They are an essential element of this diet, and you can have them anytime you wish.
  • Greens: Greens such as asparagus, celery, avocados, mushrooms, zucchini are extremely keto-friendly.
  • Don't forget to make blackberries and raspberries your best friend.
  • High fat: If you are not feeding off the carbs, it is time for you to dive into good fat. Welcome to the dreamy world of butter, ghee, buffalo mozzarella, cream cheese, goat, gouda, provolone, and camembert. Doesn't mean you devour everything like a hunger demon. Again, moderation is the key.

Things to exclude from your Keto diet :

  • Bread or pasta: These are full of carbs. Remember the mantra - Fewer carbs and more fat.
  • Beer: An absolute no. Why not switch with red wine for a while?
  • Chocolate bars: That bar of chocolate might beacon you with all its seductive powers, but so does your dream shape. Saying no to chocolate would be a sin, but for the sake of this diet, No.
  • Rice: Many of us love our bowl of rice. But cooked rice is the powerhouse of carbohydrates. So as long as you are on a keto, ditch that thought. 

Some other food items to avoid are candies, soda, juices, potato, and even banana.

Are there any risks associated with Keto?

Because it runs mostly on proteins and fats, keto diet cuts out on the carbohydrates. A typical keto diet would include plenty of meat, cheese, fish, seeds, butter, oils, fibrous vegetables, and nuts. Because of its restrictive nature, this diet is hard to follow religiously. Here, good keto supplements, come to the rescue.

A keto diet might promise faster weight loss, but an incorrectly administered one can do more harm than good. Many health experts have questioned its sustainable nature and have cited various side effects.

In the initial phase of this diet, incidences of fatigue, lethargy, and nausea occur among many people. These incidences are called the keto flu. Though it passes in a few days, for someone new to keto, these could be quite alarming.

Many health experts across the globe suggest you maintain diet duration within a period of 30 to 90 days. You also need to discuss with your doctor a post keto regime to manage the results. Sudden changes in diet and binge eating can lead to dramatic weight gain.

Keto cuts down on the carb, and the body craves for fiber. This craving may lead to immediate symptoms such as diarrhea.

People with a history of type 1 or type 2 diabetes, should NEVER go on keto without doctors permission and medical advice. Ketosis can lead to a somewhat fatal condition called ketoacidosis. Too much of ketone build up in the body produces acids that can damage the brain liver and kidneys. 

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Man holding tablet with meal plan of Keto or Ketogenic diet

In its true essence, keto is a healthy way of dieting. But there are other factors to it as well. 

While this diet has helped thousands of people deal with obesity, it has also painted an unrealistic body image and given way to body dysmorphia.

Let's not blame it on the keto diet though. If properly monitored, keto could be the cure to many diseases.

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