Every year, there is a new weight loss diet that trends and is popularly picked by celebrities, dieticians and health enthusiasts alike. This year, it was a keto diet and intermittent fasting. Diet being an essential and trusted part for a weight loss as well as weight management journey, it is to be picked precisely. It is to be understood that everybody is different and a diet can’t be chosen randomly based on likes and preferences. A diet has to be chosen in such a way that it benefits your body rather than harming it.
If you’re confused between the two, let us give a brief explanation on both keto and intermittent fasting and then you can choose one for yourself!
What is Keto Diet?
Introduced in the 1920s, Keto Diet or ketogenic diet is a diet plan that ensures you are consuming foods that are high in fat, moderate in protein and low in carbohydrates. The idea is to replace your carb intake with fats, which brings the body in the metabolic state. This process is known as ketosis. In this state, the body becomes highly effective to burn fats and produce energy. When the body starts burning fat at a very high rate, you tend to lose weight.
You need to be mindful while working out when you follow a keto diet. You can go for lighter cardio, easy resistance training or balance and flexibility for better results without harming your body.
Benefits of Keto Diet
One of the most popular diet plans across the world, there are many advantages of the keto diet. Combining a keto diet plan with an active workout routine can churn out the best weight loss results. It is believed that a keto diet lowers the risk of chronic diseases and blood sugar levels. It also helps to burn fats closely connected to diabetes, prediabetes and metabolic syndrome hence lowering the risk of Type 2 diabetes. The other advantages of a keto diet include-
- Effective for PCOS.
- Reduces the risk of heart diseases, cancer and epilepsy among children.
- Helps in reducing acne and promotes healthy skin.
- Therapeutic in recovering from several brain disorders.
Dangers of Keto Diet
Along with the benefits of the keto diet, there are many risks associated with it as well. Some of them include-
- Can lead to digestive problems and constipation.
- May cause headache, dizziness, nausea, electrolyte imbalance as your body adjusts to a keto diet.
- May cause nutrient deficiencies as it restricts several nutrient-rich foods.
- Can cause low blood sugar.
Before choosing any diet plan it is better to consult a dietician for any possible drawbacks and risks involved.
What to Eat & What to Avoid
- Meat: Unprocessed meat that is low in carb and keto-friendly, keeping in mind to consume in appropriate amounts due to its high-protein content.
- Eggs: Can be consumed boiled, fried in butter, scrambled or as omelette.
- Vegetables: Vegetables growing above the ground and green leafy vegetables. The most popular choices include caulifl, broccoli, zucchini, avocado, etc. Fry in butter or stir fry in olive oil and enjoy your greens!
- High-fat dairy products: Make cheese and butter your best friends while following a keto diet.
- Beverages: Consume coffee with a minimal amount of cream, tea without sugar and flavoured water as much as you can.
- Sugar: Say no to all soft drinks, fruit juices, candies, chocolates, cookies, honey syrup, etc.
- Starch: Parting with this might be tough, but it has to be done. Avoid consuming bread, potatoes, pasta, rice, french fries (anything fried), etc.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Rightly termed as a pattern of eating and not a diet, intermittent fasting aims at limiting your calorie intake for a defined period of time. Intermittent fasting dates back to Greeks and Egyptians as they followed it before heading to war as fasting releases a hormone in your body called norepinephrine which increases focus, alertness, and energy.
A workout plan combined with intermittent fasting diet can result in better body transformation. The best time to workout while fasting is early in the morning and helps burn more fat.
Intermittent Fasting Plans
There are various plans under intermittent fasting that you can choose based on your lifestyle. Listed below are a few-
- 5:2 Method: When following this plan, you can consume 500-600 calories on any two non-consecutive days of the week and eat normally for the remainder of the week.
- Eat-Stop-Eat: When following this plan, you have to fast for 24 hours non-stop twice per week. For example- If you start fasting at lunch today you can only break it at lunch tomorrow.
- The 16/8 Method: When following this method, you skip breakfast and eat in an 8 hour window (1 pm to 9 pm) and then continue fasting for the next 16 hours.
Pros of Intermittent Fasting
While fasting, the human body undergoes a lot of changes to improve your health. It increases the level of human growth hormones and enhances gene function to promote longevity and protection from diseases. Intermittent fasting is mainly followed for weight loss as it reduces the total number of meals consumed in a day, thereby reducing your calorie intake. This enhances the rate of metabolism and the release of norepinephrine hormone that is beneficial for burning body fat. Several other benefits of intermittent fasting include-
- Improves heart health and reduces the risk of cancer.
- Regulates blood sugar levels and enhances brain health.
- Lowers the risk of Type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces oxidative stress and body inflammation.
- Can initiate cellular repair processes in the body.
Intermittent Fasting - Cons
Before you choose intermittent fasting as your diet plan for weight loss, keep in mind that it is not for everyone. Fasting for long hours can be strenuous for the body and produce stress hormones. Intermittent fasting along with a stressful job and lifestyle is not a balanced equation. Have a look at the downside of intermittent fasting-
- Can lead to low energy levels.
- May lead to low body temperature, cold hands and feet.
- Difficulty falling asleep at night and waking up in the morning.
- Can lead to chronic fatigue and low blood sugar.
- May result in low immune function.
What to Eat & What to Avoid
- Lean Proteins such as chicken breast, plain Greek yoghurt, beans, fish, tofu, lentils, etc.
- Fruits like apples, cherries, watermelons, oranges, peaches, plums, etc.
- Vegetables such as cabbage, kale, spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
- Sugary items like cookies, juices, soft drinks, candies, etc.
- Snacks like chips, microwave popcorn, junk food, etc.