Tuesday, August 22, 2017

My Introduction to the Keto Diet

A few weeks ago, a good friend of mine told me about the Keto diet, or more appropriately, the keto WOE (way of eating) and I was beyond curious when she told me she had lost 53 pounds so far this year. (I mean, the year's only a little over halfway over and that's a lot of weight to lose fast.)

Keto Diet image courtesy of Pixabay

I have been struggling with my weight for pretty much my whole adult life - and the older I got - the more I struggled with it. I've tried diets, lots of them. Some sensible, some crazy as all get out. Some work for me.... for a while.... but then the pounds come back and bring friends - meaning more pounds.

Learn About the Keto Diet

I was excited to try this new diet that my friend is having such amazing results with, but first, I wanted to make sure it would be safe. So, I started researching it, and I found a lot of amazing and confusing information.
As noted by Daily Health Post, the ketogenic diet was originally developed by the Mayo Clinic in 1924. It was originally created to help reduce the seizures experienced by epileptic patients. The dramatic weight loss the keto way of eating produced was discovered as an unexpected result. 
The diet is described by physicians at the Mayo Clinic as causing the body to produce ketones. Ketones force your body to burn fat as fuel instead of glucose. Glucose is what your body produces when you eat carbs, cutting carbs and making healthy fats available in your body makes your body produce ketones, or a state of ketosis, so, you're body learns to burn fat instead of carbs.

There are also a lot of other health claims about this diet (as of August 2017) such as it helps keep cancer in check, it helps control diabetes, and several other things. I can't really speak to those claims, because I'm just a person researching and trying a new diet, and I want to tell you about it because I'm impressed with what I see so far.

The Ketogenic Diet vs. Traditional Diet Thinking

I really can't describe how confused I was when I first started reading about ketosis. The ketogenic diet is basically high fat, moderate protein and low carb. What? High fat to lose weight? I've heard about high protein/low fat dieting, and I've seen the results.

Like keto, dramatic results in weight loss, BUT, as soon as the diet ends, and you go back to your old way of eating, the weight comes back fast, with more (just like I mentioned earlier - but  no - I never tried the high protein/low carb diet. I just saw some friends try that one.)

I think that rebound effect also would apply to the ketogenic way of eating, and that's probably why it's not typically described by most people trying it as a diet anymore, so much as a lifestyle change.

I would suggest that anyone who wants to try the ketogenic diet talk to their doctor, or physical trainer, and do plenty of research just to be safe. Everyone's body is different, so the diet that's perfect for one person may bring disastrous results to someone else.

The Evolution of the Keto Diet

The original version of the ketogenic diet developed by the Mayo Clinic had patients consume:
  • 75 percent of daily calories from fat
  • 20 percent of calories from protein
  • 5 percent of calories each day from carbohydrates
More modern versions of this way of eating as a weight loss program have lowered the fat intake a bit and slightly raised the protein and carb intake allowances to:
  • 40 percent fat
  • 30 percent protein
  • 30 percent carbs
For the version I'm trying, I don't actually even look at the percentages, I look at the grams of carbs I eat each day. My ideal goal is 20 grams of carbs or less per day, with up to 50 being acceptable. If I stick to clean carbs, like fresh vegetables, this isn't to hard to manage.

No Deprivation and Dirty Keto

I want to admit now that I don't do well with diets that are based on deprivation. I'm not a person who is going to thrive on a diet that leaves me hungry all the time. With this way of eating, you're not hungry all the time because the fat makes you feel full. You do end up lowering your overall calorie intake, but it's because you're not hungry all the time. Compare that to a carb-rich diet, where you are likely to be hungry all the time, for huge quantities of food.

The low carb availability drastically limits fruit, which I love, so at some point, I plan to adapt my keto way of eating to allow for more fruit. For me, that may mean switching to a paleo version of the diet, or simply going "dirty keto" to allow for my love of fruit.

My Experience With 9 Days on the Keto Diet

So, I've told you a bit about what I found in researching the ketogenic diet, but I haven't shared me experience so far. 

(I use the SparkPeople trackers to record my information, because it's so user-friendly. The nutrition entry doesn't seem to adapt for the keto diet, but I use it to record my dietary intake and refer to the chart it provides at the bottom of the page to get an idea how I'm doing as far as keto eating.)

Day 9: Out of the eight days I've completed, I actually only hit the 20 grams of carbs or less I was trying for once (It's amazingly hard to cut carbs that low, at first anyway.) Even with not doing the diet perfectly, as of this morning, the start of my 9th day, I have dropped 9 pounds. I've also lost 1/4-inch on my waist, 1-3/4 inches on my hips, 2 inches on my right thigh, and 1-inch on my upper right arm. (I didn't track the left side because the app didn't give me a spot to do that.) 

I've always heard that losing weight too fast is a bad thing, but I feel better already. My previous daily bouts of acid reflux have not flared up one single time in the days I've been doing keto. I've also been sleeping better and I'm not having the aches and pains (hip/knees) I did before. I have to admit I was pretty cranky the first 2 days, but once my body adapted to the new way of eating, my mood improved and it's, well, pretty great.

Motivating Weight Loss Numbers

Seeing the numbers go down on the scale and feeling my clothes get looser are also highly motivating things. I can hardly wait to start really experimenting with keto recipes so I can tell you a bit more about the keto diet, and share some ways to make it easy to get started if you're interested and your doc approves the diet for you.

By Laure Justice

Thanks for reading, and be sure to share your thoughts and questions about the keto diet in the comments, and join us on the F&C Facebook page to see updates on this information and new recipes.


  1. Keto Diet is popularly known as a low carb diet, where the ketones produced in the human liver are used as energy and this is perfect for weight loss.

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