Health and fitness enthusiasts are trying out different diet programs to lose weight or get in the perfect toned shape. One such diet program is Keto Diet. However, this diet program primarily involves meat all around the world. Hence, many Indians don’t opt for a keto diet. Well, you must know that Keto diet for vegetarians is also very much possible.
Over the years or better say decades, most health conscious people all over the world are looking after their diets. While many Indian bodybuilders are looking for vegetarian alternatives for a protein-rich food for building muscles, others are focusing on green veggies to control their weight gain.
Well, eating healthy is always good in the long run. However, you must understand that eating healthy is all about getting all the nutrients; both macro and micro, that your body requires throughout the day. Whether we prefer non-vegetarian or vegetarian foods, there are always options for a highly nutritious diet in all preferences.
What is a Keto Diet?
A keto diet is a diet that puts our body in a state called ketosis. The program consists of food low in carbohydrates, high in fat, and a moderate amount of protein. Dieticians recommend this diet for obese or people with unhealthy fat content in their body.
This diet can be challenging and can help people reduce fat very quickly. This program works best for people trying to maintain or achieve a lean, muscular, and toned body. If you are already slim and don’t indulge in any exercises, then you should strictly stay away from a ketogenic diet.
How Do Ketogenic Diets Work?
A ketogenic diet was initially introduced as a treatment procedure to control epilepsy in children. The keto diet is primarily low in carbohydrate, moderate protein and high in fat. Our body uses the carbohydrates, converts it into glucose which is transported through the body and helps particularly in fuelling the brain function.
Due to the less carbohydrate content in keto diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies which replace the glucose as the energy source. Such a process where the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies turn the body into a state called ketosis.
During ketosis, the frequency of epileptic seizures is minimal. However, this alternative treatment for epilepsy has gained popularity among people looking to reduce fat. Besides helping with epilepsy, a ketogenic diet also helps in burning the excess fat from the body as the liver converts fat into ketone bodies to use them as the energy source.
Is Keto Diet for Vegetarians Healthy?
Traditionally, a ketogenic diet contains a lot of meat for protein; however, meat is not necessarily required to follow a keto diet. Vegetarians can quickly develop a ketogenic diet as the main constituent of this diet is high fat intake, which vegetarian foods are in abundance.
Humans are typical omnivores and depend on foods from both animal and plant origin. Even if you are a vegetarian, you still consume dairy and poultry items for your daily protein needs. Hence, being a vegetarian when you go keto, you end up eating a lot of veggies containing a high amount of protein and carbohydrates.
Keto diet for vegetarians can be healthy and productive only when you choose the right food and prepare a keto diet plan that works. You must create a list of foods which are high in fat, moderate protein, and low in carbohydrate.
Let’s understand the main macronutrients essential for a keto diet and their importance.
Intake of Carbohydrate in Keto Diet
If you are following a keto diet to lose weight, you must understand that the whole regime of following this diet is to cut down on the carbs. Also, you must also ensure that you are eating the good carbs and cutting down the bad ones.
Distinguishing between good and bad carbs won’t be easy, but it is quite simple though. Good carbs are the foods rich in fiber and other nutrients because they aren’t processed at all or minimally processed in some cases.
On the other hand carbs from foods with high glycemic index are considered bad carbs. These foods are also highly processed and convert into sugar instantly as soon as you consume them. Whether opting for a keto diet or not, foods rich in bad carbs must be removed from your kitchen at any cost to lead a healthy life.
You must avoid bad carbs like white pasta, white rice, white bread, non-diet sodas, packaged fruit juices, junk food, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, and carrots while going keto.
Include foods rich in good carbs such as beans and legumes, tofu, whole grain bread, nuts, fruits (excluding banana and other high carb fruits), vegetables (eliminating the high carb veggies), assorted vinegar such as Apple Cider Vinegar, etc.
Opt for Moderate Protein Foods
Protein-rich food is vital for endurance and muscle growth. However, keto diet is basically to shed some fat and get a lean physique. You do need a protein-rich food, but it must not be in excess but moderate.
Overeating protein will never let your body go into ketosis. It is essential to get some resistance to the protein intake while you are following a ketogenic diet. Such control will help you get the best results after adopting the keto diet.
Vegetarians can quickly get a right amount of protein from non-meat products such as eggs, dairy, nuts and seeds, tempeh, miso, natto, etc.
Fats are essential in Ketosis
Well, you must be wondering if keto diet is for fat loss, then why foods high in fat content are crucial to ketosis. The fact of the matter is that entering ketosis can be challenging and if you don’t control it well, then it may be worse at times.
In ketosis, the body uses fat and converts into ketone bodies which act as the energy source. Without proper intake of foods rich in healthy fats, there’s no way you will enter into ketosis. Also, the low carb intake will make the body will weak and less energetic because there are not enough energy sources.
Good vs. Bad Cholesterol
Hence, it is essential that you should consume food rich in fats. However, fats can be both good fats and bad fats based on the cholesterol levels. You must choose fat-rich foods that improve your HDL (good cholesterol) instead of the foods that raise LDL (bad cholesterol).
To ensure that you are eating healthy fats, you must avoid packaged foods at all costs. Opt for foods that contain unsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats include both polyunsaturated fatty acids and monounsaturated fats.
These fats, when consumed moderately, can help your body replace the bad fats such as trans or saturated ones. While it helps in weight loss, opting for such unsaturated fats will also lower the risks of a heart disease and reduces the cholesterol levels.
Fat-Rich Foods For You
Nuts like Brazil nuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, almonds, pine nuts, coconut, pecans, Macadamia nuts, etc. are the best sources of healthy fats. You may either avoid or consume peanuts, pistachio, cashew, and chestnuts in moderate amount as they contain high carbs.
Chia and flax seeds are also best sources of omega-3 fatty acids. Cooking oil is the most important ingredient, and you must choose it wisely. Opt for olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, flaxseed oil, Macadamia oil, MCT oil, etc.
Dairy and eggs also produce healthy fats. You can even try avocados, coconut cream, cocoa butter, olives, and avocado to receive good fats from non-dairy items.
Over to you!
Keto diet is a very healthy weight loss program and gaining popularity across the globe. You can always opt for a ketogenic food with all the vegetarian options available out there.
Just follow our guide for keto diet for vegetarians and start your ketogenic food right away. The keto diet alone won’t help you lose weight. You must also include regular workout regimes to get the best out of the keto diet.
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