Does The Ketogenic Diet Really Work?
- Is your keto diet failing you? Here is what you may be missing.
- Failing to track carb intake
- Getting insufficient calories
- Not tracking blood ketone levels
- Getting distracted by focusing too much on weight loss
- Taking a holistic approach towards a keto diet:
- Eating high quality fats
- Getting sufficient micronutrients
- Eating fibre
- Eating fermented foods
You have been on a keto diet for about 6 months now, and you don’t seem to be seeing or feeling any visible difference in yourself.
Does this mean that the keto diet will not work?
The keto diet will certainly work. You may be overlooking a few minor details.
In this article we will cover some of the most common mistakes people make while following the keto diet which may delay your results.
Diligently tracking your carb intake
The key to success in a keto diet is maintaining the total carbohydrate intake below 5%. This is a real challenge. In India we are surrounded by carbs: rice, wheat, maida, bread, etc. Carbohydrate rich foods like rice are a staple diet in this region.
Hence it may not be possible to cut out carbs completely from the diet. The way carbs are processed in the body depends on different factors:
- overall lifestyle
- type of carbs
- general metabolism
It can help to track your carbohydrate intake initially to see how you react to different types of carbs.
The key point is to avoid a surge in blood sugar levels from your carb intake.
One thing to remember while on a keto diet is that you are deliberately depriving your body of carbs, and that glucose is the first source of fuel for the body cells.
Hence, ensuring that you provide a steady supply of the next source of fuel is important. This means eating foods that are rich in fats and also contain moderate amounts of protein.
Key point: Fat is the main source of energy in a keto diet. Do not get distracted by the widespread belief that “fats are bad for you!"
When your body does not get sufficient calories to function, it holds on to the existing fat stores instead of burning them. This is what happens during starvation.
When your body ceases to remain in ketosis and switches to starvation mode, it can negatively impact your hormone function. You will also consistently feel tired and fatigued which could reduce the quality of life.
Tracking blood ketone levels
If you are serious about entering and staying in the state of ketosis, it's important to track your blood ketone levels.
You don't have to do this forever. Try different types of keto foods and get your ketone levels tested after those meals.
Once you have a fair idea about how much ketones are present in your blood from different meals, you can slow down on your tracking.
Taking a holistic approach
Many people get distracted into trying to lose weight dramatically during ketosis. The steady streaming of “before-after” ads are not of much help either.
Key point: The keto diet is to get you into ketosis, to eat nutritious meals, and stay energetic and focussed all day.
Weight loss is a bonus of being on a keto diet. It is not the end-point. Depriving your body of essential nutrients will knock you out of ketosis and put you in starvation mode.
Here are some pointers to ensure that you are not lead astray:
#1 Eating high quality fats
Yes, the quality of fat matters. Now that you have been given the freeway to eat as much fat as you want does not mean you can binge-eat fried or processed food and stay in ketosis.
Here are some examples of high quality, healthy fats:
- Avocado: Tops our list for being the wholesome fruit that you can eat.
- Cold-pressed oils: C8 oil, MCT oil, organic coconut oil, and olive oil does wonders to your ketosis.
- Fatty fish: the sole reliable natural source omega-3 fatty acids
- Grass-fed meat
Say no to to packaged/processed food and practise eating wholesome food.
#2 Getting sufficient micronutrients
Micronutrients (like zinc, selenium, and copper) are used to drive several metabolic pathways in the human body. It is essential to ensure that this supply is not cut-off in your quest for ketosis.
Here are some ways to ensure you get enough micronutrients without too much carbohydrates.
- Eat plenty of leafy greens. Leafy greens like spinach and kale are low in carbs. This will help you maintain the high-fat, low-carb ratio.
- Include leafy greens in your work-out smoothies.
- Eating nutrient-rich animal products are also a great way to provide your body with micronutrients.
#3 Eating fiber
Gut health is important to ensure that the food moves smoothly through your body, get assimilated, and excreted efficiently.
Vegetables like leafy greens are a rich source of fibre. You can also include chia seeds or psyllium husk in your meal or make a smoothie out of it to ensure that your gut health is taken care of.
#4 Eating fermented foods
Fermented foods like kefir, tempeh, cheese, kimchi, miso, olives, kombucha, and hung yoghurt keep your gut healthy and ensures that digestion is happening smoothly.
Yes, the keto diet does work. If you are focussed on staying active and healthy instead of trying to lose too much weight, the keto diet is the perfect diet.
Key points to remember:
- Lower carb-intake.
- Ensure moderate amounts of protein.
- Eat wholesome, home-cooked meals instead of fatty processed food.
- Supplement your diet with micronutrients and fibre.