Most of us have heard of the keto diet; you may have either followed it or even =been recommended the same for weight loss. But the question is, is this high-fat, low-carb diet really a sustainable way to lose weight?
How healthy is keto diet?
“Ketogenic diet is not a healthy diet for a healthy individual, since it includes an extremely high percentage of fat and protein, and very limited amount of carbohydrates,” Sandhya Pandey, chief clinical nutritionist, Fortis Memorial Research Institute Gurugram, told indianexpress.com. “Most of the sources of carbohydrates are basically coloured fruits and vegetables, whole grains and cereals, and nuts. And when you avoid a range of foods, you are probably not getting enough vitamins and minerals. That is why one should follow a healthy and balanced diet with the right combination of nutrients–probiotics, prebiotics, vitamins, minerals — which will not be present in keto diet,” she explained.
Pandey stated that keto diet works well in case of specific clinical conditions where the patient does not respond to medication. “We usually reserve keto diet for refractory seizures, when the patient is not responding to medicines. And that is done under the extremely strict supervision of a dietician, to get clinical benefits. Keto diet has been found to be very beneficial in reducing seizures, so we use it as part of medicine management for a patient,” she said.
Should you follow keto diet for weight loss?
“I do not recommend keto diet for weight loss,” the clinical dietitian stated. For any weight loss program to be successful, you need to first ensure that it does no harm and secondly, it should be a sustainable strategy, she said. A high protein diet normally gets better results because the thermogenic effect of proteins is higher — it takes more energy to digest protein. But even then your keto diet plan has to be monitored. Any diet that is out of the norm should not be followed for a long period of time, she advised.
If at all one wants to follow keto diet, it should be done only for a short period — four to 12 weeks — under the guidance of a clinical dietitian, Pandey stressed.
Again, many people tend to overdo their consumption of meat as part of the diet, including processed foods like bacon, salami and sausages. “These foods are a rich source of a lot of salt, trans fats and saturated fats, and are quite low on essential fibres,” Pandey said while talking about how such a diet can be unhealthy. So while following keto diet, one should not keep high ratios for protein consumption.
What is the best way to lose weight?
Pandey suggested, “If one has to lose weight, the key is to follow a healthy, balanced diet. Overall calories and proteins have to be balanced. You will also have to burn more calories and reduce the overall intake of foods, and the overall intake should be coming from healthy sources. And you will have to couple this with physical activity like exercise to increase metabolism, for a long-term impact.”
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