What is Keto?

What is Keto?

In a nutshell, keto, or ketogenic, is a style of eating designed to create and enforce a phenomenon called nutritional ketosis.  In nutritional ketosis, the body switches from the primary fuel of glucose (sugar) to the primary fuel of ketone bodies (created from the digestion of dietary fat).

OK, That’s Nice, Why Would Anyone Want That?

Ketogenic eating can be a highly successful dieting strategy (for weight loss without muscle wasting) for some people.  Strict ketogenic eating can even be an effective treatment for epilepsy as well as some cancers.  For weight loss, ketogenic eating can be a real game-changer for folks who suffer from insulin resistance issues.

How Does it Work?

Ketogenic diets are an arithmetic lover’s dream come true.  Keto is a ratio-based eating strategy.  Simple equations determine what someone eats in a given meal based on ratios of macronutrients, specifically amount of total fat vs. amount of total carbohydrates plus total protein.  All ratios are by weight (not by calories), so a good food scale and food tracking app are indispensable.

Who’s It For?

Ketogenic diets can work great for people who have struggled to lose weight before, especially due to insulin-resistance issues.  Ketogenic diets can be a no-hunger, no calorie-counting way of eating that produces regular, sustained weight-loss.  Additionally, unlike weight loss from severe calorie-deprivation, there is very little, if any, muscle wasting with ketogenic diets.  The weight you lose, after the initial water weight, is excess body fat.  You lose your fat and get to keep your muscle.  Ketogenic diets can also be an effective treatment for epilepsy and even some kinds of cancers.

Who’s It Not For?

Not everyone will find success with keto.  Specifically, women and people whose core weight issues are hormone-based can have issues with ketogenic.  Additionally, high-intensity athletes may not find success with keto.  Ketogenic eating can be a fabulous tool, but it is only a tool and not every tool makes sense for every job.

Why Would I Want to Do It?

When keto works it’s pretty amazing.  Truly a no-BS, no-hunger way of eating that allows someone to lose weight without serious calorie deprivation.  When keto works you have tons of energy, great sleep, and generally feel amazing.

However, these benefits come with a cost.  For one thing, keto has rules, rules that must be followed.  Keto is not a casual pastime. Meal planning and management will become a big part of your life.  Plus, even though it sounds fun to be able to eat 150 grams of fat with dinner, after about week seven it can be about as appetizing as drinking a glass of used fry oil.  Fat fatigue is a real thing, but this can be managed through being creative and experimental.  Ketogenic is not a passive style of eating, it is a lot of work and dedication, but in my experience anyway, if it works for you, there is magic in the ketogenic diet, especially if you have struggled with weight loss before.

How Do I Get Started?

Step one is to learn the rules.  Learn how ketogenic works, learn how to calculate ratios (always calculate ratios per meal, not per day), learn how to properly read food labels, and learn how to manage your meal planning.  From there, you will learn to manage portions.  Which, happens naturally as you find your macronutrient thresholds, that is how many grams of fat, carbs, and protein you can eat in a day and still lose weight. Personally, I do this part second because it is just too hard to learn ratio-eating and restrict portions at the same time.  From there, it is all about discipline, dedication, creativity, flexibility, and troubleshooting.

If you’re ready to get started continue to “Keto 101″ and read how keto works (in detail) and how you can adapt it to your needs: