What is Keto?
It’s likely you’ve heard of the keto diet, since “What is keto?” was the second-most popular health-related search question in 2019. Though it may currently be trending, it is far from trendy--it has been around for more than a century. It began as a treatment for epilepsy. Since that time, there have been many scientific studies for its use in weight loss and improvement of risk factors that define metabolic syndrome.
Keto is a very low carbohydrate (carb), high fat diet, where instead of carbs, the body relies on fat as the primary energy source. We have been told for decades that low fat is essential for good health, but this is not supported by science. For example, the Journal of the American College of Cardiology just published an article called Saturated Fats and Health: A Reassessment and Proposal for Food-based Recommendations: JACC State-of -the-Art Review after determining that whole-fat dairy, unprocessed meat, and eggs are not associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Therefore they no longer suggest limiting the intake of such foods. What a change!
However, rather than keto being the "bacon diet", variety is important to nourish your gut microbiome, and whole foods are still the foundation of a healthy diet. Instead of bread or pasta, carbs come primarily from low carb veggies and fruits. Some people call this keto 2.0.
Instead of the typical 50% of calories coming from carbs, in the keto diet, only 5-10% of calories should come from carbs. This can result in rapid weight loss, which tells you something about carbs.
Sometimes people refer to a keto diet when it is actually a high fat, low carb (HFLC) diet they are eating:
- Moderate low carb: 20-50 grams of net carbs per day
- Liberal low carb: 50-100 grams of net carbs per day
Keto Nuts and Bolts
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Perfect Keto: The Full Ketogenic Diet Food List
- Keto Vegetables – The Visual Guide to the Best and Worst
- Fruits and berries: A keto guide
- Keto Fats and Sauces – The Best and the Worst
- Keto Nuts – a Visual Guide to the Best and the Worst
- Keto Snacks – A Visual Guide to the Best and the Worst
- 800+ Easy Low-Carb & Keto Recipes – Meals, Bread & More
- Get Started with Diet Doctor's FREE 2-Week Keto Challenge!
- 14-Day Keto Meal Plan with Recipes & Shopping Lists (scroll down to Week 1 of the keto diet meal plan and click on the pictures for free recipes)
Comfort Food Alternatives
If there is one thing that helps me stay a size 4, it is alternative sweeteners! I'm not talking about artificial sweeteners (e.g., aspartame, sucralose), but rather sugar alcohols (e.g., erythritol, xylitol), fruit-derived (e.g., monk fruit), and plant-derived (e.g., stevia). From brownies, to cheesecake, to ice cream, there is something for everyone. Thanks to ingredients such as almond flour and cheese, even bread lovers can go keto.
Action Alleviates Anxiety
It is anxiety-provoking not to fit in your jeans any longer as you watch 5 pounds suddenly become 15. And with the added stress of the pandemic, depriving ourselves by dieting is the last thing we want to put ourselves through. However, finding something you can do for your health without feeling deprived is a game-changer, and keto has been the answer for many. Need some inspiration? See 600+ low-carb & keto success stories.
Enjoy and be well!