Many of us have heard of the ketogenic diet by now. If you’re looking to do weight-loss, many might have spoken to you about this diet and suggested that you follow it. It is a diet with a specific intake of nutrients that help you lose that extra weight.
There are two versions of the ketogenic diet that have developed over time. While each has different amounts of nutrients to take in, the basic keto rule – high fats, low carbs, and moderate protein – remains constant.
Originally, for a keto diet (the 1.0 version now), one had to take in 75 per cent fats, 20 per cent proteins and 5% of carbohydrates through the food we eat. This aimed at making the body use the stored body fats for the energy it needs instead of the carbohydrates that one gets through daily meals.
While there were studies and research that showed the benefits of the 1.0 version of the ketogenic diet, not all could follow it because of their individual nutritional needs. In version 2.0, the carbohydrate intake is increased to 20 per cent, proteins to 30 per cent and fats reduced to 50 per cent. The carbohydrates, while increased, have to be from plant-based food more, and also food that is high in fiber content and can be digested slowly.
Our grandmothers always told us to eat our greens, and with good reason! They not only give a host of health benefits but are keto-friendly too. Opt for vegetables that grow above the ground.
The “underground” ones are full of carbohydrates and starch that doesn’t work with the keto diet.
Tip: Stir fry fresh vegetables in butter. Add some flax seeds to taste. Eat as a side to a roasted chicken dish or even a grilled fish dish.
Chicken and turkey have no carbohydrates and are rich in vitamin B and several minerals like potassium, zinc and selenium. Opt for unprocessed meat though as against processed ones like salami, sausages, etc.
A good way of calculating how much protein to consume, according to some experts, is to have 2g of protein per kilogram of your weight; for example, someone weighing 50kg can have 100g of proteins. Any excess, they say, above 2g per kilogram can get converted to glucose and get burnt for energy instead of the stored fats, breaking the cycle of ketosis.
Tip: A grilled chicken salad with fresh iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, olives, cucumber, radish, herbed garlic dressing a pulled grilled chicken makes for a great lunch or dinner dish. Add some roasted chia or sesame seeds for added crunch instead of croutons.
Fats are the nutrients that are a must in a keto diet. Cheese is all fat, and zero carbs. It not only is keto diet-friendly but also adds a lot of taste to the food. You can add it to salads or even over zucchini fritters and such keto snacks.
Have a cheese sandwich with keto-friendly bread made from almond flour. Just ensure you control the amount of cheese you eat in a day as overdosing on it isn’t good for health.
Tips: Beat two eggs. Add quarter cup almond flour and two tablespoons of sour cream and mix well. Add half a cup of grated cheese and a tablespoon of chopped chives. Mix well and add salt and pepper to taste.
Take the mixture and using a tablespoon drop dollop sized fritters in a pan. Use olive oil to shallow fry it. Once done on all sides, they’re ready to serve as evening snacks.
Cottage Cheese And Yoghurt
Cottage cheese aka paneer is high on proteins as compared to carbs; around 28 grams of cottage cheese has only 5 grams of carbohydrates. Similarly, home-made yoghurt or even Greek yoghurt has the same carb ratio. Both cottage cheese and yoghurt make for perfect additions to a keto diet. Yoghurt can be eaten as is, or as a marinate for poultry or even cottage cheese.
Tips: Take a slab of cottage cheese to make a paneer steak or take cubes of it. Poke some holes on all sides using a fork or a toothpick to have the marinate seep in.
Take a bowl of yoghurt and add a tablespoon of red chilli powder, a teaspoon of turmeric. Mix this well and apply to the cottage cheese on all sides.
Ensure the cottage cheese is liberally coated with the yoghurt mix. Cover the bowl and keep aside for an hour or so. Just before you take it out to cook, add salt to taste and give it a good mix. You can shallow fry the cubes or grill if using a whole slab of cottage cheese. Eat with sides of veggies.
Eggs are the most versatile food item, especially for the keto diet. You can eat up to 36 eggs in a day, without worrying about cholesterol! This is for those who don’t suffer from cholesterol problems already. For those who do, it’s good to avoid the egg yolk.
Egg whites are all protein and good for health. You can scramble egg, make an omelette, just hard boil it, poach it, fry it… whatever your choice of the egg is, you can ensure you have it daily. It’s an easy way to ensure daily protein intake.
Tip: Hard boil eggs and peel off the shell. Cut it in half and remove the yolk. Keep the white aside for now. Mash the egg yolks. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add a teaspoon or two of milk to make the mix smooth. Add some cheese to the mix. Scoop this mix back into the egg yolk holes in the egg whites. You can have this for breakfast or even a mid-day snack!
Seafood is good for the keto diet. Fish especially is the ideal option in this. They are high in vitamin B, selenium and potassium. They’re also rich in protein and free of carbs. You can make a variety of fish dishes for any of your meals. Just ensure you don’t go for the crumbed dishes as those will have carbs.
Tip: Make marinate by grinding together coriander leaves, garlic, salt and green chilli. Marinate the deboned fish fillets. Wrap in a banana leaf and steam them. A quick meal is ready!
Wondering what you can drink while following a keto diet, apart from water? First, you have to ensure you have your daily intake of water through the day. Instead of your regular sweetened tea, opt for unsweetened green tea. Or have unsweetened coffee with cream instead of milk.
Tip: Have keto coffee every day in the morning. Take one to two tablespoons of unsalted butter, one or two tablespoons of coconut oil, two tablespoons of fresh cream and a tablespoon of coffee that has been diluted in water and give it a whisk in a mixer. Drink this in the morning every day. It will give you enough amount of fat, and also make you feel satiated and full through the day.
Q. How long does it take to get into ketosis?
A. If you’re ensuring you have the right fat-carb-protein intake, your body can enter ketosis in 2-3 days. Initially, you might feel a little weak or tired as your body hasn’t yet adapted to the new diet, but ensuring you keep at it, you will get your body into ketosis. An exact number of days can vary from person to person. If you continue the diet for a long duration, your body might body will go into keto-adaptation where the body shifts towards fat metabolism and away from burning glucose for energy.
Q. Is there a certain time to eat in a keto diet?
A. You shouldn’t eat continuously in small time frames. When you can feel a little hunger, eat something; not when you’re not hungry and before you feel ravenous. Ensure you have keto-friendly snacks or meal at hand. Be conscious about when you’re full and avoid over-eating.