There are fad diets and then there are research-backed, scientifically-proven diets that tick the boxes of clean eating, whole foods and gut-friendly ingredients. Keto diets are much like guidelines for clean eats that bring about sustained weight loss.
A self-confessed diet hater, I ate pretty much what I felt like throughout my 30-odd years. I wasn’t particularly overweight or didn’t think I was (I was a size L mostly) so I never felt the need for “dieting”.
However, a chronic health condition that refused to die for a decade steered me in the direction of clean eating and the Standard Ketogenic Diet. It’s essentially a high fat, low carb plan with some dos and a lot of don’ts. Not only did I lose more than 10% body fat in a couple of months, my belly was flatter, I was pain-free (after a decade of ulcerative colitis) and more mentally alert. I had more energy and was running or working out every day. A big departure from my earlier, lazy ‘I-will-exercise-tomorrow’ days.
What is the Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD for short)?
The focus of Ketogenic diets is to drastically cut carbohydrate intake. They have a wealth of health benefits like I mentioned before. The idea is to eat high amounts of healthy fats, a moderate quantity of protein and a tiny bit of carbs. Think eggs, avocados, bacon, salmon, coconut oil, lots of unsalted butter… (drools).
- Carbohydrate: 5-10%
- Fat: 60-75%
- Protein: 20-30%
What to stop eating to achieve ketosis
- Vegetable oils
- Low-fat processed foods
- Cereals (even the healthy variety)
- Fruits and fruit juice
- All grains (bread, rice, pasta)
- Sugary foods
- Potatoes, and sweet potatoes
How SKD works
After an extended period of low carb meals, the body goes into “nutritional ketosis”. Your body will start using ketones for fuels. Ketones are a kind of molecule produced by our bodies in time of restricted carb intake. It will burn stored fat for energy required for activities rather than the glucose it gets from carbs.
There is rapid weight loss in the initial weeks since the first thing to go is water weight. You will also have fewer food cravings.
What appealed to me was it doesn’t force you to chew on tasteless dishes – no grapefruit breakfast and skimmed milk here. Most days, I am eating a sunny side up drizzled with ghee and grilled vegetables with cheese. The foods on the “allowed” list are tasty and satisfying.
More on other types of keto diets and what to eat later.
(A version of this post was published on the website Alldatmatterz)