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.

Myth 1: There’s No Science Behind the Diet

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.

Myth 2: It’s High Fat and High Protein

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.

Myth 3: You Can Eat Any Type of Fat

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.

Myth 4: The Only Benefit Is Weight Loss

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.

Myth 5: Exercising Is Not Recommended

Fact: Exercise! At the start of the diet, you may feel more tired, but it’s not an excuse to stop exercising. Your body is figuring out the fuel source. To get the most out of your workouts, make sure you’re eating enough and allowing enough time for recovery. You may also notice that you may need more carbs to exercise—it’s fine to up your carb intake a bit on workout days (listen to your body).

Myth 6: You Will Lose Muscle Mass

Fact: It’s possible to gain muscle mass while on the diet. A study published by the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research found that following the keto diet while practicing strength training can pack on slabs of lean muscle.

Myth 7: Ketosis and Ketoacidosis Are the Same Phenomenon

Fact: They are two different conditions. Ketoacidosissyc  is a dangerous diabetic complication when the body creates too many ketones in the blood. It’s important to note that this only happens in diabetics or those who have a history of metabolic dysfunction. As for ketosis, it is a metabolic state that occurs when we limit our carbohydrate intake and increase our fat intake, simply switching fuel sources.

Myth 8: You Will Always Feel Tired

Fact: You may experience fatigue during the adjustment period of the diet, but it goes away soon. The fatigue is commonly associated with the “keto flu,” but not everyone experiences this phenomenon. And if you do encounter the keto flu during the adjustment phase of the diet, it should last no longer than a week.

Myth 9: It’s a Short-Term Diet

Fact: The length of the diet depends on your needs and goals. A standard time frame for the diet is between two to three months, and then reverting to normal eating patterns for a few weeks.