When it comes to dieting, new trends pop up all the time. Remember the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the Zone Diet? More recently, you’ve probably heard at least a little bit about the Ketogenic (keto) diet, a low-carb, high-fat eating plan that has taken the world by storm.
Here’s the science behind the plan: the ketogenic diet involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat. This reduction in carbs puts your body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. It also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain.
The goal of every day? To get more calories from fat than from carbs.
What are the benefits? Ketogenic diets can cause significant reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels. This, along with the increased ketones, has some health benefits. And with a long list of delicious, filling food items you can enjoy, like cheese, meat and poultry, plus lowcarb veggies, the plan is fairly easy to stick to.
The most commonly cited benefit, though—and what headlines tend to gravitate towards—is keto’s effects on weight loss. However, the benefits go far beyond that. Many people experience increased energy and lowered inflammation as well as improvements to their insulin resistance.
Tips: the keto diet, like every diet, should be discussed with your doctor or health professional before starting. Do your research before you begin.
And perhaps most importantly, understand that keto is not a magic pill—it takes commitment.
MY KETO EXPERIENCE
In the spirit of a New Year reset, our food writer Ilana Clamp decided to try something different for the month of January.
“Like everyone else, I had heard a lot about the keto diet and I wanted to see what it was all about,” she explains, “not specifically for weight loss, but to reset my eating habits and focus more on intentional eating.”
Traditional keto diets tend to focus on high-fat foods, regardless of the source of the fat—which can leave you feeling somewhat unhealthy. As a result, Clamp modified the keto strategy to better fit her wellness goals, focusing less on foods containing high saturated fats like red meat, processed saturated fats, and cheese, and placed more emphasis on eating healthy fats, like avocado, EVOO, nuts/seeds, egg yolks, fish, nut butter, low-carb veggies and greens. As part of the traditional keto diet, she also eliminated sources of sugar including fruit, processed foods, alcohol, starchy vegetables, grains, beans and legumes.