Thinking of finally getting on a diet to kickstart your resolution to get healthy? We look at one of the more popular diets currently — the keto diet.
SINGAPORE (Mar 20): It’s already mid-March and you have yet to start that diet you wanted to as part of your New Year’s resolution for 2020. But have you decided what sort of diet you should be on? Not all diets are the same. The diet that is best for you depends highly on your existing health condition, lifestyle and goals. Hence, it is always best to consult a dietician before embarking on one.
Nonetheless, a popular diet right now is the keto diet, also known as the low carb, high fat (LCHF) diet. Contrary to popular belief, eating fat does not necessarily make you— well — fat. While on the keto diet, you are recommended to eat more fat to burn fat, while refraining from eating carbohydrates. That means more butter, cheese and avocados, and cutting out bread, rice and sugar. How does this diet work?
Your body converts carbohydrates into energy for your daily routine. But the rest of the “unused carbohydrates” will then be converted into fats and stored in different parts of your body – cue flabby arms and love handles.
By significantly cutting carbohydrates out of your diet, your body will start looking for other sources to burn for energy. When it starts burning fat for energy, it will enter a state of ketosis. But this state of ketosis is not something that happens immediately when you go on the keto diet.
For this diet, what you need to focus on most is your macronutrients, which means the carbohydrate, protein and fat content in your food. Ideally, someone on the keto diet should keep their macronutrient ratio to 75% fat, 20% protein and 5% carbohydrates. But the fewer carbohydrates, the better.
Apart from cutting carbohydrates and sugar out of your daily meals, another hard part is ensuring you keep up – maintaining the diet and no cheat days. It generally takes someone three to five days to reach ketosis, and it takes just one meal to bust your diet.
Many have recommended keto cycling, where you can have a “cheat day” after a month or two to give your body a shock and get out of a weight loss plateau. But unlike other diets, where some people may “cheat” every weekend, you are recommended to be on the keto diet for at least a month, without any cheat days, to see results.
However, remember to watch your calories, as high-fat foods tend to also have high calories. According to Singapore-based multi-specialty practice Tucker Medical, it is recommended for someone on the keto diet to set a calorie maximum of between 1,600 and 2,000.
What to avoid
- Sugar: That means no desserts or sweet drinks. There are some keto-friendly sweetener options, such as monk fruit sweetener and erythritol, but it’s best to avoid them altogether.
- Fruits: Most fruits are high in sugar and carbohydrates, so it’s best to avoid them. But there are some exceptions when it comes to berries.
- Starch: Keep away from any grain-related foods, such as rice, bread, noodles and barley, as well as potatoes, carrots and legumes.
- Vegetables: Make sure that you are including enough fibre in your diet. But be aware of how your vegetables are cooked – avoid them cooked in a thick starchy sauce.
- Meat: Apart from fat, it is important to ensure you include protein in your diet. Stick to simple foods like fish, beef, pork and eggs, and avoid processed food.
- Fats: Be generous with “good” fats, such as olive oil, butter and avocados. Fats from meats, such as salmon and pork belly, should be eaten in moderation.
Where to eat
Elyon Café by Keto Indulgence
126 Bukit Merah Lane 1
This quaint neighbourhood café serves a menu of local and western dishes made keto-friendly, with noodles replaced with shirataki noodles and rice replaced with cauliflower. Keto Indulgence also offers a keto meal plan where you can order your week’s meals and get them sent to you.
32 Seah Street
Craving bread while on the diet? Head over to Singapore’s first wholly ketogenic bakery that serves an array for desserts and buns that are low in carbohydrates, gluten-free and made with no sugar. The bakery has also just launched a new spring menu that includes keto goodies, such as chocolate chip cookies and madeleines.
1 Coleman Street
#B1-09 The Adelphi
Satisfy your sweet tooth with some desserts at Ange Bakes, a ketogenic bakery and café. You can get whole cakes, curry puffs, lemon tarts, cinnamon rolls and even spreads to pair with some keto buns. For those of you interested in baking your own keto treats, you may purchase some of the ingredients here.