How do you handle a topic like the ketogenic diet? As with anything that launches a thousand search engine clicks, the ketogenic diet seems to be everywhere and nowhere at the same time.
You’ll see experts on TV giving their opinions, YouTube vloggers posting it as challenge videos, and as the main theme for different advertising campaigns. But to be truthful to you, dear reader, I still can’t tell you a lot about it. I’m sure you have the same sentiment.
Faced with this, we picked out the resources that give us the fast facts on the ketogenic diet. Use this as a crash course if you’re thinking about going ketogenic. From here, we aim for you to be able to ask more informed questions and have an initial diagnosis if this is the diet for you.
#1 A keto diet is not a “one size fits all” game
If you’re going to follow a keto diet, you have to take into account your specific goals and body condition. To begin on an educated standpoint, take a cue from this report by the Harvard School of Public Health:
“There is not one “standard” ketogenic diet with a specific ratio of macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, fat). The ketogenic diet typically reduces total carbohydrate intake to less than 50 grams a day—less than the amount found in a medium plain bagel—and can be as low as 20 grams a day. Generally, popular ketogenic resources suggest an average of 70-80% fat from total daily calories, 5-10% carbohydrate, and 10-20% protein. For a 2000-calorie diet, this translates to about 165 grams fat, 40 grams carbohydrate, and 75 grams protein. The protein amount on the ketogenic diet is kept moderate in comparison with other low-carb high-protein diets, because eating too much protein can prevent ketosis. The amino acids in protein can be converted to glucose, so a ketogenic diet specifies enough protein to preserve lean body mass including muscle, but that will still cause ketosis.”
#2 It’s an Internet trend when it comes to diets
You’re not alone in thinking that you’ve seen the word “ketogenic” way too much. Women’s Health reports that it was part of the top 10 diets in Google’s 2019 Year in Search. It’s also the top discussed trends on Reddit with the r/keto sub-Reddit as the second biggest wellness community on the website.
#3 To learn more about the ketogenic diet, look up the word “ketosis”
The goal of a ketogenic diet is to replace your body’s main source of energy from glucose to fat. When you intake fewer carbohydrates, you are giving your body less glucose to run on. Your body then enters the metabolic state of ketosis: when your energy is created from fat. Ketones are what you get from the liver as it transforms fatty acids into these energy molecules.
#4 Studies suggests you can lose weight fast, but…
The New York Times published “What Is the Keto Diet and Does It Work?” and found that through the diet, you can lose a lot of weight quickly in the first two to six months. There’s also some evidence that proves that it can help you burn more calories. In the long run, though, it doesn’t outpace a high-carb diet when it came to results, at least that’s what the study of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ Laboratory of Biological Modeling found.
#5 A keto diet is all about the planning
Shape reports that the key to successfully following a ketogenic diet is through planning. Otherwise, you’re just setting yourself up for failure. Dietitian Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., tells the publication: “Set a start date and get prepared by reorganizing your pantry, planning out meal and snack options, and purchasing appropriate foods and dietary supplements. The biggest reason people have a hard time sticking with keto is that people don’t have enough interesting foods to turn to, and high-carb favorites win out over good intention. If you didn’t buy foods at the grocery store that fit the guidelines, there won’t be an easy option in the fridge when you really need it.”
#6 Don’t fall for the “keto” label on that snack pack just yet
Since “ketogenic” and “keto” became such big buzzwords, a lot of food labels hopped on it as a marketing ploy. Be careful! Don’t just buy anything that claims to be keto-friendly. Refinery29 talks to dietitian Mascha Davis, MPH, RDN, who said: “When a food is labeled ‘keto,’ it typically means that it’s very low in carbs. But here’s the gag: the Food and Drug Administration doesn’t regulate the labels that companies put on packaged foods, so “products that are labeled low-carb or keto are making up their own standards at this point in time.”
#7 Keto-friendly food is easy to find
One benefit of the ketogenic diet is how you don’t have to look for a specialized grocery to get what you need. InStyle released a list of 30 keto-approved items. These include avocados, unflavored dairy products, and fishes like tuna, salmon, and sardines. Spinach and arugula make the cut along with fennel, celery, cucumber, cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and eggplants.
When it comes to meat, bacon is included along with chicken, lamb, and turkey.
#8 Don’t have time to plan ahead? Try a meal delivery system
Of course, the most-searched diet inspired a few meal delivery services to make your ketogenic dieting life easier. These seem to be a good option for those who don’t have time to cook their meals or to be a ket0-smart grocery shopper. Look into Ketos of Manila, Dear Diet PH, and The Sexy Chef for ketogenic meal plans. You can choose to do it for five days to see how it goes or go ahead with a full-30 day plan.
A ketogenic diet seems to be a promising way to get to your fitness and weight goals. A lot have tried it to good results, but there are still precautions to observe. As with any diet and health-related path, consult a professional as much as you can.