Many of us believe that fats can wreck your diet. So can a meal plan that recommends high amounts of fats help you lose weight?
Yes, if research surrounding the Ketogenic Diet is to be believed. Known as the fat-busting diet, it recommends a combination of high fat, adequate protein and low carbohydrates that change the way energy is used in the body. HealthifyMe senior nutritionist Neha Jain explains how it works. “This diet works extremely well for those people who have hit a weight loss plateau and are keen to change their metabolic system. As the body ends up using fat reserves for energy, it helps you get leaner faster,” she says.
Designed in 1924 by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic, the Ketogenic Diet recommends a meal plan that includes high fat (up to 70-80%), moderate protein (15-30%) and low carbohydrate (5-10%). Lower intake of carbohydrates forces the body to use fat – instead of glucose – for energy. This process leads to a high level of ketones — acids made when the liver breaks down fat for energy — in the bloodstream. Ketones are the preferred source of fuel for the body, particularly the brain; their presence can change the body’s metabolism, veering it away from glucose burning towards fat burning.
But before breaking out the butter, know this. The Ketogenic Diet, popularly referred to as the ‘keto diet’, involves consuming high amounts of ‘good’ fat such as nuts, seeds, avocados, olives, vegetable oils and fish. Eating good fats and few carbohydrates leads to cell regeneration, reduced inflammation and weight loss.
The benefits of a Ketogenic Diet are manifold:
Weight loss is accelerated
Low carb diets are known to lead to faster weight loss without feeling hungry or counting calories rigorously. A 2014 study conducted by National Institutes of Health found low-carb diets more effective for weight loss and cardiovascular risk factor reduction than low-fat diets. The diet also promotes abdominal fat loss; the belly is the most dangerous place on the body to store fat.
Improved cognitive function
A report published in The Journal of Physiology linked a high-sugar diet coupled with a deficiency of omega-3 fatty acids with lower cognitive scores and insulin resistance. The Ketogenic Diet leads to positive alterations in brain energy metabolism because of the partial replacement of glucose as the primary fuel.
Risk of metabolic syndrome & heart disease reduced
Research has shown that a ketogenic diet can stave off metabolic syndrome. A 2012 study published in The American Journal of Epidemiology revealed that low-carb diets are more effective at reducing certain metabolic and heart disease risk factors than low-fat diets are.
It can work as a natural cancer treatment
Research has shown that the solution for treating cancer may be regulating the body’s metabolic functions. Removing carbohydrates from your diet, the keto way, can deplete cancer cells of their energy supply and stop them from spreading.
Lowers risk for Type 2 diabetes
Cutting carbs helps people with Type 2 diabetes because carbohydrates turn to blood sugar and can, in large quantities, cause blood sugar spikes. The Ketogenic Diet, high in fat and low in carbs, can potentially change the way the body stores and uses energy, easing diabetes symptoms
Can reduce food cravings
One of the most talked about benefits of the keto diet is the fact that eating fewer carbs and more healthy fats and proteins satisfies all your cravings – as ghrelin, the “hungry hormone”, is switched off. The diet switches on the body’s satiety hormones and lets you stay longer without needing to snack.