Talk about the ketogenic diet gets tossed around a lot, and it’s hard to tell what’s fact or fiction. In a nutshell, the keto diet is a diet that is high in healthy fats and low in carbohydrates to stimulate ketosis—a process in the body that uses fat as fuel. That fuel is better known as ketones, which become the body’s primary source of energy during the keto diet. When our bodies enter a ketogenic state, it means that we have created an ideal fat-burning situation allowing for weight loss and a myriad of other health benefits. But to get to that state, it’s important to decipher what’s real and what’s not.
Fact: Multiple studies back the keto diet because it was first created for patients with epilepsy, since the high-fat content in the diet helps to control seizures. Additionally, the diet has also been seen to help maintain weight and regulate side effects in those with high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, hypertrophy, and obesity.
Fact: The diet isn’t all about fat and protein. The macronutrient split will vary from person to person, depending on weight goals and training goals. A common macro split for the keto diet is high fat, moderate protein, and low carbohydrate. Translating that into numbers, it’s 5 to 10 percent carbohydrates, 70 to 75 percent fat, and 20 to 25 percent protein. I’ve practiced the keto diet and kept my macros for carbohydrates closer to 10 percent because I was starting the training process for a marathon.
Fact: Healthy fats are highly encouraged for the keto diet. Just like with a balanced diet, it’s best to stay away from saturated fats and trans fats. Consume foods that are organic, contain virgin olive oil, are grass-fed and pasture-raised, and do not contain ingredients that are difficult to pronounce (a good indicator that it’s processed).
Tip: Space out the amount of fat you will eat during the day to prevent any stomach discomfort.
Fact: You won’t just see the numbers going down on the scale, but you’ll also notice that you may be more focused. The keto diet helps to regulate hormones, stabilize blood sugar levels, enhance cognitive function, and improves gut health. There’s also research being done on how the diet could potentially benefit patients with cancer.