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Just like in the West, it seems Tamil Nadu is also seeing the trend of fad diets, the latest being the Keto diet. Even as there is a trend towards traditional foods, there is also a move towards such diets from the West. While many nutritionists warn that the proportion of carbs-proteins-fats in the diet is unhealthy, they acknowledge Keto does lead to quick weight loss. And what’s more. The diet can be followed using typical ingredients in the Tamil cuisine, such as coconut oil, coconut milk, vegetables, eggs, leafy vegetables, pumpkin, fish, chicken and so on. Cottage cheese (paneer), broccoli, and almonds may need to be added though. Greek yoghurt is used in Keto which can be made from regular curd.

Paleo and vegan diets have been around in India for a while but Ketogenic or Keto diet is recent, says Anitha Karthik, assistant professor at the nutrition department at Dhanapalan Arts and Science College in Kelambakkam, Chennai. Keto diet prescribes 70% to 80% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrate. “The plan is to provide energy the body needs through protein and fat rather than carbs. Since this helps to reduce weight quickly, many people including celebrities are on Keto diet,” she says.

“The plan is to provide energy the body needs through protein and fat rather than carbs. Since this helps to reduce weight quickly, many people including celebrities are on Keto diet.” — Anita Karthik, nutritionist

Keto prescribes few restraints on non-vegetarian food. It is possible to do Keto diet using ingredients typically found in what Tamils eat, says Anitha Karthik.

Eggs, fish, meat can be consumed as much as needed, she adds. But rice, some types of vegetables, fruits, grains and pulses should be avoided since they are high in carbs. Leafy vegetables, cauliflower, soya, cucumber, tomato and onions can be included in small quantities since they are low on carbohydrates. Almonds, cashews and walnuts are high in fat and so are milk, paneer, cheese and butter. These can be taken.

Below is a typical Keto diet chart.

First week

Morning 7am: Warm water with lemon juice along with one teaspoon Triphala powder

8:30 am: One boiled egg, kale smoothie, chia coconut milk pudding, smoothie made from coconut, walnuts, almond milk, leafy vegetables, almonds and butter

12:30 pm: Vegetable soup, mushroom and leafy vegetables salad, chicken, carrots, bell peppers and high fat green bean salad

2:30 pm: 1 cup Greek yoghurt and two almonds

5:00 pm: Lemon juice and green tea

7:30 pm: Prawns, boiled broccoli, and cream of mushroom soup

Second week

7:00 am: 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar and warm water

Bulletproof Coffee: Photo credit: Marco Verch Professional Photographer

8:30 am: 1 cup cream coffee, fully boiled egg, one cup milk or soya milk

12:30 pm: Butter and tomatoes with taco made of leafy vegetables, fried chicken and vegetables, fried beef and green beans with high fat sauce

2:30 pm: One small cup curd

5:00 pm: Snack made of flax seed, 1 cup bullet proof coffee (high fat coffee with butter)

7:30 pm: Fish fried with carrots and leafy vegetables, lentils soup with cauliflower and bottle gourd

Third week

7:00 am: Warm water with lemon and flaxseed

8:30 am: 1 cup green tea, boiled egg, kale smoothie, pan cake with organic honey, vegetables cooked in ghee

Chicken With Leafy Vegetables.
Source : Pexel.com

12:30 pm: 1 apple or one cup buttermilk

2:30 pm: 2 almonds, 1 cup Greek yoghurt

5:00 pm: 1 cup green tea

7:30 pm: Chicken soup, fruit custard, chicken with leafy vegetables, garlic and curd

Fourth week

7:00 am: 1 cup green tea or lemon juice with black coffee

8:30 am: 1 banana, one cup milk, Keto banana nut muffin, scrambled eggs

12:30 pm: Home made chicken with leafy vegetables and tomatoes or tuna sandwich, roasted pumpkin seed soup with onion peels, garlic, salmon fried with one teaspoon butter

5:00 pm: 1 cup green tea or black coffee

7:30 pm: Beef or chilly chicken, leafy vegetables, wheat bread stuffed with cucumber and tomato in curd, fried chicken with skin.

Though most of the above are part of the food we eat, some items are not from here. A three month Keto diet can be expensive, too. For affordable Keto, below are some suggestions

7am: Bullet coffee (black coffee with coconut milk), lemon tea or coffee with lemon

Breakfast: Avocado nuts smoothie, two fried eggs, banana, soya milk one cup, vegetables in ghee, cheesy vegetable salad, coconut milk and walnuts

Lunch: Kidney beans (rajma) chicken salad, fried chicken, taco with leafy vegetables and tomato, fried pumpkin and vegetable soup, fried salmon, Keto paneer gravy

Evening: 20 almonds

Dinner: Cauliflower chicken fry, vegetables mixed with butter, chicken soup, wheat bread with cucumber, tomatoes and curd, mushroom soup, lentils soup with bottle gourd

Palak – Paneer in keto style.
Source : Twitter

If the above diet is followed along with regular exercise, one can lose weight quickly. The main aspect of Keto is high fat food and losing weight. In food with carbohydrates, glycogen gets produced and stays in the system. Glycogen is good for energy. But if not used properly, it converts into fat. In Keto diet, little glycogen is produced. The glycogen in the body is used to produce energy, leading to quick weight loss initially. Later, the fat too melts and leads to more weight loss. It is also said that Keto brings down sugar levels, helping diabetics.

Gym trainer Venkatesh warns that just as Keto diet helps to lose weight quickly, harm can be caused quickly too. Venkatesh says our traditional food is good enough to keep us healthy and adds high metabolism promoting food that our ancestors ate are suitable for our bodies.

The high fat food of Keto can create resistance in the body, leading to auto immune diseases, say experts.

Some people like carbohydrate food, some people like food rich in proteins. This is determined by how one is genetically wired. The metabolism of each body is different and dietary needs will be different, too. Some bodies take to carbohydrates, some others take to meat easily. A few take to sweets. But the body needs all kinds of nutrients, say experts. The high fat food of Keto can create resistance in the body, leading to auto immune diseases, say experts.

While Keto can help to reduce weight and can be taken for a limited time, sustained weight loss can happen only with regular exercise. Otherwise the impact of taking high fat foods will start setting in, warn experts.


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