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Would Going Keto Break the Bank?

Starting a new diet can be a difficult adjustment and the cost is no different. If you are interested in joining the new keto wave, it is imperative that you embark on your journey with as much knowledge as possible.

What is the Keto Diet?

The ketogenic diet is a low-carbohydrate and high fat diet that is used to lose weight. The diet forces the body to enter a metabolic state called ketosis, which forces to burn fat rather than carbs for energy. Many individuals around the globe advocate for keto and although it may be a diet that works, is it financially feasible? Our article will help you understand the potential cost of the keto diet.

Cost of Keto Cooking

One of the best ways to keep yourself in check during a diet is by cooking for yourself. The keto diet consists of a high amount of fat, medium protein and low carbohydrates. This can include foods like steak, chicken, fatty fish, bacon, avocados and cheese. Many choose to cook every day, while others choose to meal prep and cook a whole week's worth of meals at one time. However you decide to go about the cooking process, it is crucial to know how much you will be spending for these ingredients.

Cost of Grocery Items

Table showing the grocery prices of different items

How to Reduce Your Grocery & Diet Expenditure

According to nutritionists, the macronutrient breakdown for a successful ketogenic diet consists of 75% fats, 20% proteins and 5% carbohydrates. This is different from the typical diet that many Indian residents consume, where half of the diet is made up of carbohydrates,d 30% is proteins and 20% is fat.

From the table above, we see that consuming fats and proteins is more expensive compared to vegetables and grains. Therefore, a keto diet will cost significantly more than a traditional diet. On the other hand, a more balanced diet will be made up of more grains and vegetables, making it less expensive for most consumers. Another advantage of grains is that they can be stored for longer periods of time, potentially making them a cheaper option in the long-run. There are multiple ways you can cut your overall grocery expenses. For example, many grocers have promotions that you can take advantage of and there are credit cards that offer up to 3% cashback on grocery spending.

Keto Friendly Menu Items vs Non-Keto Menu Items

Just because you are on a diet does not mean you have to stick to home cooked meals. Many restaurants cater to dieting customers. Here are some restaurants in Delhi that offer keto-friendly meals, and price comparisons of their keto friends and other dishes.

Table showing price differences between keto and non-keto meals

Looking at restaurant menus located in Delhi, we can infer that keto-friendly meals are more expensive than other options. If we refer back to the grocery item cost table we can see that adding more protein in lieu of vegetables or grains will add to the cost of the dish at restaurants, as well. Therefore, dishes that are more protein heavy will be more expensive in-home and at restaurants.

With some of the meal options that do not adhere to the keto diet, like the Teriyaki Chicken Bowl served at Keto Kitchen, you can easily ask for no rice, as an example. However, you might miss out on key flavors and textures, which might be disappointing if you are a foodie. Similarly, eating a spice heavy dish without rice, paratha, or other carb substitute can be quite challenging. Also, you will not be getting the most out of your money. Asking for no rice, does not necessarily reduce the cost of your meal, but does mean that you will receive less food.

Is Keto a Good Fit for You?

Looking at the grocery prices and the restaurant meal price differences, it is evident that the ketogenic diet is more expensive than a regular diet. The specific cost of the diet completely depends on your preference of the foods selected. This includes the amount of calories you are consuming to reach your specific nutritional goals.

The price differences at restaurants can be as high as 61%. The average price difference per dish at a restaurant can be 6-41% more expensive, with some restaurants pricing their keto-focused dishes as Rs. 100 more than regular dishes. Although it isn't clear what the exact difference is going to be, we can confidently say that keto dishes are likely to cost more than non-keto dishes, due to protein having a higher overall cost. Keto may or may not be feasible to you, but now you are a little more knowledgeable on the cost of this diet.

Sahmi Chowdhury

Sahmi is a Junior Research Analyst specialising in credit cards and insurance in India. He previously worked in the financial services sector at Brown Brothers Harriman and True Capital Management.