Fad diets come in and out of style so quickly these days that it can be tough to keep track, not to mention tough to determine which are genuinely good for you and which are total and utter BS — and you'd be surprised how many of them are. In the past year alone we've seen the frenzy over paleo, Atkins, Whole 30, Dukan, DASH, intermittent fasting, juice cleanses, alkaline, and I could literally go on for dozens more all the way down until I reached, believe it or not, "the cabbage soup diet."
Our health and our bodies are very valuable things, and it is so important to be well informed on a diet before mindlessly jumping into a new regimen that could actually do us more damage than good, just because it's popular. Different things work for different people. That being said, the ketogenic diet has caused quite the frenzy lately, so I decided to look deeper into exactly what it entails and what science is behind to prove it.
What is the Ketogenic diet?
Essentially, the ketogenic, or keto for short, diet is an extremely high fat, low carb diet with moderate amounts of protein included.
While on the basic keto diet, your macronutrient intake is broken up as follows: 75% healthy fats, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.
For comparison purposes, the standard recommended macronutrient break down is as follows: 50% carbohydrates, 35% protein, and only 15% healthy fats.
As you can see, the keto diet is a huge contrast from the typical diet we are used to following day to day. It seems odd that in order to lose weight, it is recommended that we make our primary caloric intake day to day be fats.
Let's take a closer look at why this works.
How does the Ketogenic diet work?
Essentially, in the keto diet, we are replacing carbohydrate intake with fat intake. In doing this, the goal is to put the body into a state of ketosis.
Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body burns fat for energy, rather than carbohydrates (glucose) like usual.
While in a state of ketosis, the body displays rapid levels of weight loss as well as many other surprising health benefits.
What are the other benefits of the Ketogenic diet?
Another huge benefit of the keto diet is lowered insulin levels.
Insulin is a hormone that is produced by the body when it is breaking down carbohydrates for energy. This is why diabetic people have to limit their sugar (carbohydrate) intake.
The keto diet also drastically reduces risk factors for metabolic syndrome which can lead to many common conditions such as heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.
What are common foods eaten while on the ketogenic diet?
Nuts and seeds
Seafood and shellfish
Coconut and olive oil
Plain Greek yogurt
Butter and cream
Low carb vegetables like spinach, Brussel sprouts, and zucchini
Unsweetened coffee and tea
Should I try the ketogenic diet?
The bottom line is that everybody's body is different. What works for one person won't always be realistic or sustainable for another. It is also important to remember that the keto diet drastically limits food options which isn't always a healthy choice for everyone, especially if you suffer from any type of disordered eating.
There is nothing wrong with carbs, and many dietitians will tell you that carbs are your friends, that they are necessary for your body. All that being said, there has been significant research done on the keto diet and studies have seen great rates of success and improved health in many peoples lives. The keto diet is about more than just weight loss, it also helps many diseased people to take control of their health.
If this diet sounds like a good choice for you, then try it! But, as with any diet, be careful and listen to your body when it tells you what it needs.