What is a Ketogenic diet?
- The ketogenic diet is basically very low in carbohydrates. It is high in fats and adequate in proteins. The reduction in carbohydrates results in ketosis. The normal fuel of the brain is glucose. However, if the carbohydrates are reduced drastically, fat in the liver is converted to fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies replace glucose as an energy source to the brain. This reduces the risk or frequency of fits or seizures in children. However, with newer and better anti-epilepsy drugs available, this dietary approach is no longer popular. However, that 15 % of individuals who cannot have good control with anti epileptic drugs, a keto diet can still be beneficial.
What is the role of the keto diet today?
- Nowadays keto diet is used for weight reduction in healthy individuals. The carbohydrates in a keto diet are less than 25 grams per day. A large study is being performed at Harvard University to assess the ability of the keto diet to reduce weight. A traditional diet has 15 to 25% protein, 50 to 60% carbohydrates and 20 to 30% fats. In the ketogenic diet, the protein is 25 %, carbohydrates 5% and fat 70%.
What are the main ingredients of the keto diet?
- In the pure vegetarians, low carbs vegetables, cheese, almonds, paneer, soya, avocados, coconut oil and plain yogurt or curds are the important ingredients. In the non-vegetarian, egg whites, sea food, fish and shell fish and poultry are important ingredients.
Can the ketogenic diet be useful to build up muscles?
- The present scientific evidence does not think so. Exercises and a well-balanced diet are key to building muscles and not a ketogenic diet. Formula ready-made protein or keto foods or shakes have limited potential in the Indian context. These are not sustainable.
What are the advantages of a low carbohydrate diet?
- Low carbohydrates are very useful in reducing harmful abdominal fat. Carbohydrate-rich food includes sugar, jaggery, sweats, excess rice, potatoes, whole fruits and fruit juices, bread, crackers and cereals, soda, candies cookies and other deserts and needs to be restricted to avoid belly fat. Carbohydrate restriction drastically reduces triglycerides in the blood and increases the good HDL cholesterol.
What about a low carbohydrate diet in diabetics?
- It certainly improves diabetes control and improves insulin resistance. By drastically reducing carbohydrates in diet your insulin requirement or oral hypoglycaemic drug requirements can drastically come down. A ketogenic diet is not recommended in diabetics.
What are the other benefits of keto diet or a low carbohydrate diet?
- In individuals with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, in individuals with epilepsy and migraine a very low carbohydrate diet is becoming popular, though the final recommendations are awaited. Reducing cholesterol levels, improving menstrual cycles in PCOD ie polycystic ovarian disorders are other benefits of a low carbohydrate and weight-reducing diet.
What is the keto list of foods that you should consume?
- Eggs, avocado, nuts, some vegetables, poultry, strawberry, dairy products, some fruits but not the sweet ones like bananas or mangoes, olive, berries, pistachio, walnut, almond, Brazil nut, sesame are recommended to replace carbohydrates.
What are the keto diet vegetables that should be consumed?
- Asparagus, Kale, Cauliflower, sprouts, spinach, celery, green beans pumpkin, cabbage, aubergines, okra, black mustard seed, carrots, radish and turnip are recommended to reduce belly fat and blood glucose and cholesterol.
What are the risks of a strict keto diet?
- The keto diet can cause low blood pressure, kidney stones, constipation, nutrient deficiency and an increased risk of heart disease.
Author: Dr Jay Deshmukh
Dr Jay Deshmukh is Chief Physician and Director, Sunflower Hospital, Nagpur Honorary Physician to Honorable Governor of Maharashtra and PondicherryCentral. Dr Jay Deshmukh is an M.B.B.S., M.C.P.S., F.C.P.S., M.N.A.M.S., MD From Internal Medicine – Bombay and New Delhi.