Keto diet is a widely accepted diet form in the fitness circle which was initially developed for treating epilepsy patient in early 1930s. It mainly consists of a diet which includes 70% fat, 25% of protein and 5% of carbohydrates. So basically it’s a very low or no carb diet which allows your liver to produce ketogens and later your body can use these ketons as the main fuel source. Functioning of keto diet is fairly simple. When your body is kept away from carbs, it utilises your stored body fats and burns it for maintaining the functions. It is one of the most researched topics now a days and there are mixed reviews and thoughts about it.
Though ketogenic diet isn’t new to the world, but it’s fairly new for normal human being and a wide research is going on. Keto followers don’t see it as a diet, for most of them it’s a form of eating. While some expert don’t see it as an option to lead healthy life, there are others who see it as a best alternative to follow. If we look into the human evaluation, it does make sense that our body is basically survived on fat and proteins alone. High carb diet is fairly new to human and we adopted it quite fast.
I was weighing 83kg back in April 2017, considering the fact I was still eating very less. I have tried various diets in the past to reduce weight and GM diet was one of them. I did lose few kgs initially being on GM diet but the next couple of times I tried, it didn’t work at all. In April 2017, I followed Intermittent Fasting, another eating pattern which allows you to eat in a very short window of 4 to 6 hours and 16 to 18 hours of effective fasting period. You are not allowed to eat or drink other than black coffee in the fasting period. My weight started reducing slowly after following intermittent fasting but it stopped after a while.
This is the time, when I decided to give a try to keto diet. The problem with keto diet is, it’s quite hard for a vegetarian to follow for a sustainable period of time due to lack of options. Especially Indian vegetarian diet is full of carbs and the amount of carbs on keto should not exceed 20 to 30 grams per day.
The only choice left for me was to eat lots of paneer (200gm/day), cheese, butter, coconut oil and whey protein. Though paneer is one of the protein sources and alternative for meat, it’s very hard to digest 200gm of paneer per day. If you are a non-vegetarian, it’s far easy to follow a keto diet. My ultimate goal was to follow keto at least for 40 days and loose some fat in that period of time. First thing first, you need to get rid of refined sugar. Not just when you are following keto diet, it’s a good practice to avoid any form of direct sugar after certain age. It’s timely proven that giving up on sugar substantially improved the health in people.
Another problem with keto diet is non-consumption of dietary fibres. If you are a vegetarian, most of the fibres come from whole grains and vegetables. When following keto, you need to consume at least 5-7 cups of raw vegetable. This not only fulfil your fibre requirements but also the micro nutrients which are necessary for body to function normally. I found raw vegetable juice more convenient than chewing them. Mix all green veggies in a blender and add some rock salt to it and gulp it down. Lack of fibres will lead to constipation and unhealthy gut. I also added some vitamin supplements to compensate lack of essential vitamins due to restrictions.
My experience with keto was okay. I lost 11 kgs in 3 months! That was an overwhelming result for me. Though it was kind of torture to eat just paneer and cheese, I was more excited to see myself losing weight and feeling great. In the process of losing fat, I think I lost some muscles too. But that is bound to happen when you are dependent just on whey protein.
According to experts, whey protein can spike your insulin and thus result in kicking you out of ketosis (ketosis is a process where your body starts producing ketogens). But being a vegetarian, you have to have whey protein at least twice a day. It is observed, when you consume fat, your insulin spike is very less or minimum and that’s the main factor in ketosis. So I added couple of table spoons of coconut oil into whey shake to compensate the spike. Obviously whey won’t mix into your body instantly but it will do its job by providing essential amino acids.
Overall, keto did work. It feels great and energetic when you are in ketosis. I can compare myself now and when I was in ketosis. There is a huge difference in feelings. I was more alert and was more energetic. Since I got back to normal diet, it’s become hard for me to get up at 5 and hit the gym. Back then, I used to get up before alarm and within 5 min, I was as fresh as I woke up 2-3 hours earlier. Now a days, it’s real hard even to get out of bed and to get ready.
Though ketosis for vegetarians is bit hard, but I will insist to try it out for 40 days minimum. It will not only help you lose access body fat but will also improve your eating habits. More than habits, it will teach you to control your hunger and thus you will eat less junk in day to day life.
I am going to give another shot at keto diet very soon. This time, not for losing the fat but for that awesome feeling and energy which I miss lately. Stay healthy and keep fit till then!