Million-dollar question: What’s the best and possibly fastest way to lose weight? The crash diets you find floating about on the net never, ever work: Sure, you might lose a few kilos, but this is mostly water weight. Besides, odds are you’ll gain all of it back when you resume your ‘normal’ diet.
We think the more important factor to consider is the way your body works. When you understand how your body processes and burns unwanted fats, you can then tweak your diet accordingly for more efficient and sustainable weight loss. And one way to do so is through the ketogenic diet.
Rumour has it that the ketogenic diet is how Kim Kardashian shed her post-pregnancy weight. Lending weight (so to speak) to the efficacy of this diet are ultra-hot mummies Adriana Lima and Megan Fox, both of whom swear by the keto diet. So why not give it a go, right?
Now, if you will, let us break down the concept for you. The ketogenic diet is basically a very low-carb diet that causes your body to go into ketosis, the key process you need to kickstart this diet. While this is similar to a lot of other diets like the Atkins or LCHF (low carb high fat), the defining difference is that the other diets are rather strict whereas the keto diet allows you to consume more of fats.
The keto diet has many potential benefits, such as weight loss, better health and higher energy levels. Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, a Swedish medical doctor and author of the largest health blog in Sweden, explains that when a body goes into ketosis, it releases ketones converted from fats stored in your body, which are small fuel molecules for the body’s usage. These ketones act as an alternative fuel for the body when the blood sugar level is low. Yay!
While your body can get to ketosis the fastest by fasting, that is not a long-term solution (you’ll die of starvation, for one). Instead, the keto diet conditions your body to reach ketosis faster by consuming very little to no carbs at all, with moderate amount of proteins. This in turn drives your body into ketosis from the lack of glucose. Insulin levels will drop and this is thought to increase the fat burning process dramatically.
Over and above weight loss, the diet is said to increase your energy level and keeps it at an even keel throughout the day – you don’t experience that mid-day food coma because there isn’t a spike or dip in the blood sugar level.
Take it from a regular Singaporean – account executive Peishi, 29, who went on the keto diet, enthused: “I felt more energetic and could work better, with no sugar highs and lows.”
How to go about doing it
It’s pretty simple, really. Dr. Eenfeldt says that anyone on the keto diet should “avoid eating most carbohydrates and keep the intake to under 50g carbs per day, preferably under 20g if possible”, and goes on to add that you should “remember it’s supposed to be high in fat, not high in protein”.
Translation: You’ll have to cut out all sugary and starchy foods such as desserts, breads, rice and more. In turn, up your intake of fats and keep protein intake moderate. Basically, your daily intake of food should be split like so: 10 percent from carbs (the lower, the better); 15-23 percent from protein (the lower, the better); and 70 percent or more from fats.
Our Singaporean ‘guinea pig’ Peishi says she lost weight on the diet, but the only downside is that “it can get hard to find the right foods if you’re eating out. Even if you do find high-fat and low-carb items, they’re mostly on the pricier side”. But just imagine, all the bacon you can eat in one sitting? Sign us up, man.
We suggest meal prepping the day before or even the week before, then freeze the meals and bring them to work whenever. Load up on nuts, cheese and beef jerky as snacks for when you’re feeling peckish.
Are there any side effects?
There aren’t any long-term side effects but as with all low carb diets, you might first experience some temporary side effects. Adopting the ketosis diet will subject you to the keto ‘flu’, which includes not-so-pleasant stuff like fatigue, headache, cramps and nausea. To combat these, reduce your carbohydrates intake gradually, rather than diving headlong into the diet.
Remember to drink more fluids and increase your intake of salt, as switching to keto diet causes your body to lose both water and salt in the body. But fear not, your body can and will get used to it. Thereafter, your energy levels will return to normal before increasing by leaps and bounds.
Will I gain back the weight when I stop?
Depending on your individual goals, you can slowly re-introduce carbs once you have achieved your ideal weight. Protein leaves you feeling full for a longer time, which in turn aids in your transition back to a normal eating regime. Don’t worry, you probably won’t notice any rebound effects if you follow the rules. Also, never forget to exercise. Good luck!