A ketogenic diet is high on fat, moderate in protein and extremely low in carbs. As carbs are reduced and fat is increased, the body enters a state called ketosis (Ketosis is a natural process the body initiates to help us survive when food intake is low) and converts fats into ketones — molecules that supply energy for the brain. Ketones become a form of energy when person is on a keto diet, said experts.
There is restriction on carb intake that is up to 50 gms and foods like oil or butter should be weighed and then consumed, said experts. “Non-vegetarian item includes egg chicken fish and vegetarians can opt for cabbage, cauliflower, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, pumpkin, lettuce, olives, spinach, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, nuts, almond and soy flour, butter, coconut and avocado oil, mayonnaise and so on, are included in the diet. Whereas, roti and rice is completely avoided or can be included in less quantity,” informed Ankita Ghag, clinical nutritionist, Co-founder and director, Vacchan Aarogya.
Experts say that keto diet is basically a like a modified atkins diet which is also popular. A lot of people are opting for keto diet, especially youngsters who go to the gym and want to build their muscles. “In Keto diet, fruits, carbohydrates and sugar is restricted. Body doesn’t get sugar but it requires sugar and carbs for the functioning of brain”, said Manjari Puranik, weight loss expert and cosmetic physician.
Keto diet is clinically prescribed for the person with epileptic condition. In keto diet proportion of fat is more than the proportion of proteins and carbohydrates said experts. “A dietician or doctor will prescribe a keto diet after monitoring the person. I believe that a particular nutrient shouldn’t raise high while reducing the other nutrients”, explained Priya Palan, Zen Hospital.
Keto diet is not advocated by the experts as even if has short term benefits like weight loss and an individual can opt for it to get a sculpted body. But it can adversely affect the health in the long run. As it is not a scientific and a safe diet and can be recommended for only 6-8 weeks, tell experts. “In epileptic people it will help to lose weight and control seizures, not show many side effects. But in a normal individual, following it for too long can cause constipation, loss of salts, keto flu, leg cramps, bad breath, hypoglycaemia, frequent urination, anxiety, irritability, sweating, chills, lack of anti-oxidants, tachycardia, bad breath, excessive thirst, warned Ghag.
Puranik further said that doing it mindlessly can cause kidney failure, hampers the brain function, dizziness and diabetes.
Experts don’t advise keto diet, and suggest talking to the doctor to find out if it’s safe to try it.