Keto Diet: What is it, what to eat and avoid, side effects – All about popular weight loss diet

Keto Diet, short for Ketogenic Diet is one of the longest weight loss trends. The diet, based largely on reduced carbohydrate intake and increased fat intake, has continued to gain momentum. It became famous after famous Bollywood and Hollywood celebrities like Karan Johar and even Kim Kardashian vouched for the same. The transformation of the celebs has triggered a storm of Keto Diet – but what is it? Does it have any side effects? What to eat and what to avoid in this weight loss diet? Here’s a quick look at Ketogenic or Keto Diet.

Keto diet: What is it?

Keto – or short of ketogenic is a famous diet regime for weight loss. The term is derived from the fact that the diet revolves around pushing the body in a state of Ketosis – burning fat for energy.

Carbohydrate is the primary fuel used by our bodies for energy. The body is also, however, capable of using fats for energy. In the normal process, carbohydrates are consumed or metabolized by the body. After the body has consumed the energy required, extra energy (so to speak) is converted into fat molecules and stored in the body for later use. In case of energy deficit, these molecules are then broken down by the body and used for energy.

The primary fundamental used by Ketogenic diet is to limit the consumption of carbohydrates and replace it with fat. The fat rich diet, in principal, then forces the body to burn fat and use the process of ketosis (converting fat into ketones which in turn is used as fuel for energy).

Keto Diet – What to eat and avoid?

The principal for Keto Diet is simple – load up on fats and remove  carbohydrates as far as possible. What is important to remember is to load up on healthy fats and not trans or saturated fats.

Foods To Eat:

  1. Avocado and Avocado oil
  2. Nuts – almonds, peanuts, walnuts etc.
  3. Butter & Ghee
  4. Coconut Oil & coconut
  5. Olive Oil
  6. Eggs
  7. Cheese
  8. Cottage Cheese or Paneer
  9. Fatty Fish
  10. Nut and seed butter
  11. Dark Chocolate (without sugar)

Foods To Avoid:

While processed meat fits the definition of foods with high fat, one must avoid consuming too much. Also, refined oils and trans-fats are not a healthy alternative.

  • Carbohydrates – including grains, tubers (potatoes, carrots)
  • Fruits (can consume berries and citrus fruits in moderation)
  • Diet Sodas, Sodas

Is it safe? Side Effects of Keto Diet

Ketogenic or Keto diet was not designed as a weight loss diet but rather as an attempt to manage epileptic disorders, as per reports. This diet was then also experimented as an alternative diet for diabetics. Due to increased intolerance to insulin, many diabetics suffer from weight gain, which is due to the fact that the body is not effectively able to metabolize the carbohydrates consumed. The keto diet, in turn, was seen to be rather effective for diabetics.

The success of the diet in diabetics was then extended for weight loss and has seen some spectacular success. Many celebrities, including the famous Bollywood producer Karan Johar, have vouched for the diet, making it one the craziest trends in weight loss. As for whether it is safe or not, is extremely controversial.

While many doctors have agreed that the consumption of good fats or unsaturated fats can help in managing diabetes, the fact remains that every- body has a difference response. Also, what many -people do not share is that keto diet or any diet must include an active lifestyle and a minimal workout and exercise regime.

Side Effects of Keto Diet

  • Excessive thirst
  • Increased fatigue
  • Hunger
  • Confusion, anxiety and irritability (largely due to lack of carbohydrates)
  • Sweating and chills – to slight fever when body is under Keto flu (transition phase)
  • Heart and Kidney Problems


The body goes through a transition under keto diet as it shifts from using sugars to ketones for its energy needs. In the process the body breaks down the fat (in diet and later in the stored form) which requires it to flush out excessive waste produced. This then requires far more liquids and electrolytes, resulting in excessive urination and thirst, respectively.

The transition also requires energy and with no carbohydrates to burn for immediate consumption, the body feels fatigued. Brain, which requires maximum energy, is not able to function well initially, leading to confusion, anxiety and irritability. Keto Flu, which ensues, may also result is sweating and chills.

The scariest side-effect of a diet is its impact on the heart and kidneys. With excessive urination, there is an increased risk of body losing out on essential electrolytes including sodium, potassium. These elements are crucial for proper working of the heart muscles and also of the kidney. With loss of water from the body, there is an increased risk of person developing tachycardia (increased heart rate) or even arrhythmia (abnormal rhythm of the heart). This can lead to a serious medical condition. Also, loss of body fluids can impact kidney severely leading to kidney stones and also other problems.

Keto Diet: Things to keep in mind when starting

Now that we have listed the basics of the diet and the side effects, here are a few things one should keep in mind when starting the diet.

  1. Follow the diet under medical supervision or on recommendations of a certified nutritionist
  2. Drink plenty of fluids – this is absolutely crucial.
  3. Maintain an active lifestyle

What one needs to remember that all diets can work and all diets can fail. What is important is not to begin a diet without proper professional advice and supervision. Just starting to load up your plate with all fatty foods is never a good idea. Also, people with existing heart and kidney problems ought to avoid any diet based on ‘trends’ or fads and follow their doctor’s recommendation.

Disclaimer: Tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purpose only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or a dietician before starting any fitness programme or making any changes to your diet.

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