Keto Diet: Would You Really Want to Try It?

What is a keto diet?
Firstly, the term keto diet or ketogenic diet comes from the “ketone” molecules that the body produces as a result of this diet. Ketones are chemicals made in the liver as an alternative fuel source. The body produces ketones if it is short in insulin and cannot effectively turn glucose into energy anymore. With a ketogenic diet, the body is forced to use mostly fat as a fuel supply. Because you’re depriving your body of glucose, your insulin drops and you’ll burn fat faster as it is being used as fuel for the body. This state is called ketosis.

How does it work?
The general idea of keto diets has been discussed above already but there are details you should not miss. Again, the keto diet forces the body to switch its fuel supply from glucose to ketone bodies which are produced from stored fat. What makes this tricky, though, is that you’ll have to deprive yourself of carbohydrates (basic source of sugar/glucose).

This is especially hard for Singaporeans because rice is a staple food and it is a big source of carbohydrates. You’ll have to take only about 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates or less per day. That’s only a cup or half a cup of rice for one day!

If you are able to do this, it usually takes 3-5 days for the body to reach ketosis.

The food you can (and cannot) eat
The most important thing to do to reach a state of ketosis is to cut your carbohydrate intake while focusing on fats and protein. You’ll have to consume mainly healthy fats like olive oil, butter, avocados, nuts and etc. along with some lean protein. Additionally, although fruits and vegetables are high in carbs, there are some that you can have. Berries, broccoli, spinach, onions, cauliflowers, and garlic are good choices.

You should then try to avoid starchy food like rice, bread, potatoes, and pasta, which are all high in carbs. You should also avoid food that’s high in sugar and processed food.

Does it have risks or side effects?
Although keto dieting is getting quite popular for weight loss, it has a lot of risks and side effects.

Firstly, making major diet changes can give you many issues. You’re depriving your body of essential nutrients to force it to change its fuel source, and so the body will always make a significant reaction. At the beginning you could feel extra tired, you may have cramps, headaches, and nausea.

Secondly, because your diet is mainly high in fat, you might have an increase in bad cholesterol which can eventually lead to numerous health complications and heart disease.

Additionally, it’s just really hard to do in Singapore because so much of our food contains carbohydrates. But if you really want to try it just to see how it feels, then, by all means do so.

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