As most of the urban Nepali people are following a sedentary lifestyle, it has increased the risk of being obese and suffering from other health problems. Likewise, the growing popularity of ready-to-eat food among the city population is adding to this risk, says health experts. In such a scenario, many people have turned to the ketogenic diet, commonly known as the keto diet, considering it an effective way of losing weight. Many nutritionists also recommend this diet. But, what actually is this diet? And, how relevant it is in the context of Nepal?
Here, we explain.
What is the keto diet?
The keto diet is a high-fat and low-carb diet. This diet shares a lot of similarities with the Atkins diet and other low-carb diets.
This diet requires one to reduce the intake of carbohydrates drastically and increase the intake of fat. This will put your body into a metabolic condition, named ketosis.
On a ketogenic diet, one generally has to limit carbohydrate intake to 20 to 25 grams per day. But, no worries, still many nutritious yet tasty foods easily fit into this diet.
How useful is it for Nepalis?
When one consumes very few carbs or calories, it causes your liver to produce ketones (small fuel molecules) from the fat, which supply energy throughout the body, mainly the brain.
It happens because, on a keto diet, your body burns fat dramatically for energy as your body mostly depends on fat as a fuel supply.
Many studies also show that this diet can help in weight loss, can help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels incredibly, and also has many health benefits.
Because overweight and high blood sugar are very common health and fitness problems in Nepal, the diet is considered very useful for Nepalis.
What can you eat on this plan?
Have a look at the list of food that you can eat on a keto diet:
1. Non-starchy vegetables
Vegetables such as asparagus, broccoli, avocados, cabbage, cucumber, green beans, eggplants, lettuces, olives, spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, cauliflower, etc consist of low carbs and many nutrients. The net carbs range from less than one gram to eight grams per cup for non-starchy vegetables.
Eggs are one of the ideal foods for the keto diet because an egg consists of less than one gram of carbs and six grams of protein. It is a must to consume the whole egg as most of its nutrients including antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin are available in the yolk.
Nuts and seeds like almonds, cashews, pistachios, walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and so on are low-carb (zero to eight grams of net carbs per ounce) and high-fat foods. Moreover, they are also high in fibre.
4. Olive oil and coconut oil
Olive oil is enriched in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat (that lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease), and antioxidants. Further, olive oil consists of no crabs which makes it easily fit into the keto diet. Likewise, coconut oil contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs ) which are converted into ketones by the liver.
Seafood (fish and shellfish) is a great fit for a ketogenic diet as they are either crab-free or contain very low carbs. Seafood also consists of vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fats.
6. Cheese, butter, cream and Greek plain yoghurt
Cheese such as blue cheese, brie, camembert, cheddar, cottage cheese, cream cheese, feta, goat cheese, mozzarella, muenster, parmesan, and string cheese has very low carbs and are high in saturated fat, protein, and calcium which makes it a keto-friendly food. Likewise, butter, cream, and Greek plain yoghurt also contain minimal amounts of carbs.
7. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is a delicious source of antioxidants. Likewise, unsweetened chocolate, i.e. 100% cocoa, contains 3 grams of net carbs per ounce (28 grams). This is why dark chocolate with no less than 70% cocoa solids can fit into keto food.
Meat is a staple keto food. Meat as well as poultry has no carbs, is enriched in vitamins and minerals, and is high in protein.