What’s This “Keto Diet” Everyone’s Talking About?

The ketogenic diet (known as the keto diet) is a low carb, controlled protein, high fat diet. This diet shares many similarities with the Atkins diet and low-carb diets. The idea is cutting back on the carbs that are easy to digest like sugar, grains, potatoes, most fruit, and any low fat or diet products. Instead you eat more foods high in fat like meat, eggs, butter, cheese, healthy oils and low carb veggies. This puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. Your body usually produces glucose (blood sugar) from carbohydrates for its energy source, so when you are producing energy from fat instead, you are in a form of ketosis.

The ketogenic diet is also very widely known for helping people lose weight. Recommended more than the low-carb diets, most people attempting this plan like the idea that they don’t have to count calories or track their food intake, while also getting that “full” feeling longer than most other diets.

Unknown to many, there are multiple types of ketogenic diets one can follow, including:

  • Standard ketogenic diet (SKD): Low carb, high fat diet which typically contains 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs.
  • Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): Higher-carb refeeds, usually 5 ketogenic days followed by 2 high carb days.
  • Targeted ketogenic diet (TKD): Ketogenic diet that adds carbs around workouts
  • High protein ketogenic diet: More protein than the standard ketogenic diet, 60% fat, 35% protein and 5% carbs.

The most common and most researched of these is the SKD and the others are usually more intense diets followed by bodybuilders or athletes.

This diet was originally introduced in the early 1920s for patients with epilepsy that weren’t responding to the drugs that helped minimize their seizures. The increased ketones, lower blood sugar levels and improved insulin sensitivity are said to play key roles in this diet having multiple health benefits for a variety of health conditions, like:

  • Heart disease
  • Cancer
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain injuries
  • Acne

Keep in mind these studies are far from conclusive, with this diet being more popular now more than ever.

So how do I know if this diet is best for me? No single diet is suitable for everyone since we all have different genes, lifestyles, body types and of course taste buds. If you are able to follow the keto diet, it can be very rewarding and enhance your recovery process. Those with health concerns may consult with their doctor before starting any diet.