Not really, maintain fitness experts, as they sit down to weigh the drawbacks of the keto diet.
Imagine having a chance to dig into indulgences like a grilled cheese sandwich, dark chocolate as a snack, and food cooked in butter through the day, and still managing to lose weight.
While any nutritionist would tell you that these are unhealthy fares, the keto diet includes meals like these — high in fat, and low in carb.
And this diet plan has quite a few famous personalities endorsing it. Kim Kardashian has reportedly lost about 34 kg after embracing the keto diet. Back home, stand-up comic Tanmay Bhat has followed this weight-loss regime — along with equal amount of time at the gym — to lose nearly 100 kgs. But does this strategy work for everyone, and is it long-standing?
“I would call it a lazy person’s guide to lose weight,” states Suman Agarwal, nutritionist and founder of Self Care, who wouldn’t advise the ketogenic diet for weight loss unless one is obese. “Weight loss depends on body type as well. When you go on any kind of diet, junk food is restricted, so that will automatically make you lose weight initially. In the long run, it isn’t sustainable, or advised,” she adds.
The ketogenic diet makes use of fats for fuel, instead of carbohydrates. So when there is little carbohydrate in the body, fat is broken down. The liver then forms ketones, which are broken down for energy instead of glucose. According to this regime, for every gram of carbohydrate and protein consumed, about three to four grams will come from fat. But since a lot of fat is included, dairy foods, grain foods and carbohydrate-containing foods, such as breads, cereals, rice, pasta, legumes, fruit, and starchy vegetables (like pumpkin, peas, and potato) are a strict no-no.
Nutritionist Tripti Gupta isn’t a fan of the programme either, since it eliminates an important nutrition component. “Alienating any food group from our daily lifestyle is detrimental. Our body should be capable of processing everything normally in a healthy way. A fair balance of every nutrient should be supplied to your body, as per your need. Such diets may not be sustainable nor healthy in the long run,” she explains.
While the upside of this plan is the increased fat intake, the downside is that many people actually end up eating a lot of highly saturated fats. Suman advises that getting a kidney profile done every fortnight will help. “Reducing carbs and incorporating more healthy fats, like nuts and certain oils, is helpful. But one needs to calculate the fat percentage. Overindulging could be a problem here. This maybe difficult for most people,” she explains.
Even if one does choose to take on this regime, Suman advises people to follow this diet for not more than six months. “Even if one decides to follow this programme, ensure that you don’t over do it for long periods of time. One must also ensure they stick to a low-carb diet after this, since it is during this phase that weight can be gained.”
Tripti concludes that one must always consult a nutritionist while taking up a diet like keto. “Only a health expert can identify the need of a person. They can then help them reach their goals successfully, educating them in the process, instead of letting them fall prey to each and every trend.