While many folks have been jumping onto the protein trend bandwagon for quite a while now, lately there’s been another noteworthy nutrient many are championing for optimal health: fat.
The ketogenic diet—or simply “Keto” for short—claims body fat loss, cardiovascular health, and even improved mental function from its enthusiastic ranks of fat-chewing fans. Today, we’ll take a look at the Keto diet and how to follow it in hopes of achieving optimal results.**
What does “ketogenic” mean, anyway?
Under normal dietary circumstances, your body will use up carbohydrates as its primary fuel source. The problem? We often don’t use all the carbs we eat, and some of them wind up converted to fat and stored in the body as extra weight. Enter the magic of ketosis: When the body is “starved” not of food in general but of carbs specifically, the liver metabolizes fat for energy instead of the usually readily available carbs. “Ketones” are the byproduct of the liver doing this hard work to break down fats when the body’s carbohydrate supply is low.
So what can I eat on a Keto diet?
Generally speaking, a person following the Keto diet aims for a ratio of 70% fats, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. That’s a lot more fat than most Americans are used to eating! It’s important that these fats come from natural, healthy sources like generous helpings of avocados, olive and coconut oils, nuts and seeds, as well as a moderate intake of full-fat dairy products. Protein options abound, including a wide variety of red meat, poultry, eggs, and seafood. When choosing vegetables, Keto dieters select low-carb options like cruciferous veggies (Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and bok choy) and dark leafy greens (spinach and kale) rather than starchy potatoes and yams. Besides the occasional low-sugar berries, they avoid consuming fruit, and grains like oats, wheat, and corn are eschewed altogether.
What are the criticisms of Keto diets?
Despite anecdotal and clinical success stories alike for short-term weight loss, some critics voice concerns over how healthy and effective Keto diets may be in the long run. Further studies will help healthcare professionals and fitness enthusiasts weigh any potential risks to Keto dieters in terms of bodily functions, nutritional balance, and general lifestyle wellness. For many, the Keto diet plan has proved to be a fast and effective kick-starter to a healthier, more active lifestyle. Yet it’s a diet that requires tremendous dedication, discipline, and planning, all of which may be challenging to maintain with the urgency of our busy lifestyles and demanding schedules. Only time—and thorough research—will tell if it’s a truly healthy and sustainable way of life in the long-term!
What do you think about the Keto diet? Have you tried it? Do you think you could stick with it? Let us know in the comments!
Have a great weekend—and happy Foodie Friday!
And, of course, for something a little weird…
Jimmy Fallon’s HASHTAGS segment showcased just how difficult navigating matters of health and fitness can be.
**PLEASE NOTE: We here at Foodie Friday are neither physicians, nor dieticians, nor any sorts of experts on nutrition. Please consult your doctor when considering and implementing changes to your diet!