The ketogenic diet has taken the health and fitness world by storm over the past year thanks to renowned celebrities and athletes jumping on the bandwagon. It was consensus that fat was the mortal dietary enemy of every health conscious individual. The ketogenic diet’s functionality challenges this very belief.

The science behind the diet’s success in weight loss is that it prompts ketosis, the metabolic process where the body opts to burn stored fat instead of glucose for daily energy, in the absence of sufficient carbohydrates (usually under 20g). While in ketosis, your body extracts “ketone bodies” from high fat foods such as butter or previously stored fat and that become the body’s fuel.

What’s out:

• Refined carbs are completely off-limits and include all grains and legumes.
• Sugar (sucrose and fructose included) is forbidden, including kithul treacle, honey and table sugar.
• Sweet fruit such as mangoes and bananas are disallowed with the exception of berries that are revered for their high anti-oxidant properties and low carbohydrate content.

What’s in:

• High fat foods that are low in carbs, namely avocadoes, butter, curd and eggs are highly favoured.
• High fat meat, fish and poultry are permitted.
• Low carb vegetables and leafy greens such as kankun, gotu kola and mukunuwenna.
• Zero calorie, natural sweeteners such as stevia are permitted.
• Sugar-free drinks, namely water, tea and coffee.

A typical day in the life of a Sri Lankan “keto” dieter:

“Bulletproof” coffee made by blending freshly brewed local coffee with extra virgin coconut oil, grass-fed butter and MCT (or medium-chain triglycerides) oil.

Breakfast: A combination of fat and protein: 2 eggs fried in extra virgin coconut oil accompanied by a slice of unprocessed cheese, stir-fried kankun and a cup of coconut milk.

Lunch: Half a grilled chicken breast, a poached egg and sautéed spinach.

Dinner: A slice of steamed paraw fish, served with a dollop of butter or drizzled with olive oil. Accompaniments could include an avocado and a handful of strawberries for dessert.

Snacks: Hardboiled eggs, unprocessed cheese, avocadoes, nuts and berries.

Whether the ketogenic diet is the Holy Grail diet we have all been looking for remains to be seen. A one size fits all approach should not be taken when it comes to nutrition but rather an intuitive one that entails listening to one’s own body.