The keto diet, short for ketogenic, prioritizes low carbohydrate intake, high fat intake, and moderate protein intake. It works to put the body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where it burns fat for energy instead of burning carbs.
Founded by Peter Huttenlocher, the keto diet was originally created to treat hard-to-control epilepsy in children. Today it has evolved into one of the most popular weight-loss diets followed by people of many ages and body types around the world, including many athletes. Lowering blood sugar and insulin levels along with ketone-turned fat in the liver has many health benefits such as weight loss and improving athletic performance.
How it works: The keto diet works by drastically reducing the body’s carb intake, instead replacing it with higher fat foods and thus putting the body into ketosis. When the body’s carb or calorie intake severely declines, the liver produces ketones from fat. These ketones go on to serve as a fuel source for the body.
The standard ketogenic diet typically involves keeping net carbohydrate intake between 20-50 grams per day. Typical foods to eat in order to find success on the ketogenic diet include:
- Natural fats, such as butter and olive oil
- Unsaturated fats from nuts, avocados, tofu are limited compared to higher intakes of saturated fats from palm/coconut oil/cocoa butter.
- Fish and seafood
- Certain vegetables that are lower in carbs and higher in fiber
- Restricts most fruit with the exception of berries
Benefits: One of the major benefits of the keto diet is weight loss. Other benefits include greater appetite control and increased appetite suppression, as well as improvements in risk factors for heart disease.
With fewer sugar spikes, the normal dips and spikes in energy levels become more steady and even out. This can allow those on the ketogenic diet to remain more focused and alert throughout the day.
Studies also show that the keto diet is a great tool in the management of type 2 diabetes due to its ability to lower blood sugar levels. For some, it’s even been known to reverse the presence of the disease altogether, thus making it a great preventative tool for those with pre-diabetes or at risk for diabetes.
Other alternatives of ketogenic diets include Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD), Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD), Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD), and High Protein Ketogenic Diet:
- Cyclical Ketogenic Diet: periodic 5 ketogenic days followed with 2 high carbs days
- Standard Ketogenic Diet: 70% fat, 20% protein, 10% carbs
- Targeted Ketogenic Diet: allows carbs around workouts