I'd never heard of the Keto Diet until quite recently and now it seems it's all the rage so I thought it only right that I look into it in more depth and explain what's different about this supposedly new phenomenon – which has, I'm reliably informed, been around for decades.
With so many different types of diets available, it’s difficult to keep track of what each one does, how it may (or may not) be beneficial to your health, fitness, and weight-loss efforts, and what it takes to follow the diet. That is certainly the case with the ketogenic diet. With so much
confusion and misinformation, let’s get clear on the ketogenic diet plan, what it is, and the science surrounding it.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
The ketogenic diet is a very-low-carbohydrate, high-fat, moderate-protein dietary approach. It’s more commonly referred to as a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet (VLCKD). Or “keto” for short.
Dr. Russell Wilder was credited as the creator of the diet back in 1924 when he designed it as a treatment for epilepsy. It is still successfully used for that purpose today. In fact, in some cases, the keto diet can remove the need for medication.
Case in point, 11-month-old Charlie Abrahams had difficult-to-control epilepsy (despite using multiple medications). As a last resort, his parents turned to the ketogenic diet. It worked. Charlie became seizure- and drug-free within a month, and he hasn’t had a seizure since. In 1994, his
parents founded the Charlie Foundation, recognized as a global leader in promoting ketogenic therapies for people with epilepsy, neurological disorders, select cancers, and various other health conditions.
Why Is It Called the “Ketogenic” Diet?
The name “ketogenic” stems from the diet’s ability to upregulate ketogenesis, the process by which the body creates ketones. During prolonged periods of fasting or several days of severe carbohydrate restriction (< 20 – 30 grams per day), the body’s supply of glucose (blood sugar) becomes depleted.
Because the central nervous system (i.e., brain) normally uses glucose and cannot use fat for fuel, the body is “forced” to find an alternative energy source. As a result, the liver ramps up the process of ketogenesis and the production of ketone bodies (from fats), which serve as an important energy source for the brain and other tissues (e.g., muscles).
Not only are ketones a critical energy source, they are the most energy efficient, yielding more usable energy than glucose or fat. Simply put, the ketogenic diet shifts the body’s metabolism away from using glucose (carbohydrates) toward a heavy reliance on fat.
Given the very nature of the ketogenic diet (i.e., severe carbohydrate restriction and near elimination of reliance on glucose), it should come as no surprise it is a highly effective dietary strategy for folks with insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance. For instance, in studies that have evaluated well-formulated VLCKD and documented high rates of compliance in individuals with T2D, “results have been nothing short of remarkable.” This includes dramatic improvements in glycemic control, HbA1c, insulin sensitivity, lipid markers (cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides), and body
If the above is rather confusing to you then you can learn more in our giveaway book on the subject of the “Keto Diet” by clicking this link.
What is the Ketogenic Diet? A Beginner’s Guide (see photos)
Written by Tim Skwiat
Photo By jhegyessy