Celebrity diet fads come and go, but some trickle down to the masses. Keto is one such diet.
Megan Fox, Halle Berry, and Vanessa Hudgens all swear by the keto diet, crediting it with everything from managing diabetes to shedding baby weight.
Keto isn’t a miracle cure, but it does have certain benefits. Here’s what the keto diet is, how it works, and what you can expect from it.
What is the Ketogenic Diet?
First, the basics. What the heck is keto?
Keto, short for the ketogenic diet, is a low-carb, high-fat diet that involves dramatically reducing your carb and sugar intake and replacing it with healthy fats. This creates a metabolic state called ketosis.
The diet was originally designed as a program to control epileptic seizures in children who were unresponsive to other courses of treatment. It was prescribed by a physician and supervised by a trained dietician.
That level of monitoring is necessary because you have to strictly regulate your diet in order to create and maintain a state of ketosis. All your calories, fluids, and proteins are measured by weight.
Of course, most people know it now as a celebrity weight-loss fad.
It might seem extreme, but ketosis is a normal metabolic process that your body may switch to in order to survive.
Whether it’s good or bad depends on the context.
Basically, when the body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to burn (carbs are our easiest energy source), your body shifts into ketosis to burn fat for energy instead.
You can probably guess why this caught on as a weight-loss trend.
During ketosis, your body produces ketones. Diabetics are familiar with this word, as they have to measure ketones–they’re produced when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to turn sugar into energy.
With insufficient insulin, your liver ramps up the production of ketones and sends them into your bloodstream. Your muscles and tissues then use the ketones as fuel.
Normally, your body regulates its own fat-burning processes and you don’t make use of ketones. The keto diet deliberately induces ketosis to force you to use those ketones.
What You Can Expect on Keto
So, what can you expect on keto?
For starters, your body is startlingly efficient at burning fat. After all, it doesn’t have much of anything else to burn.
In the beginning, don’t delude yourself: this isn’t going to be pleasant. Your body (and your liver in particular) isn’t accustomed to processing this kind of fuel. Don’t be surprised if you have a serious case of brain fog, nausea, fatigue, sour breath, unusually skunky sweat, and smelly urine.
You’ll also see your electrolytes plummet as you lose water weight, which isn’t pleasant either (this is known as keto flu).
Keto also requires an extremely strict tracking and measurement regimen. Your body doesn’t like to stay in ketosis, so you have to eat carefully in order to maintain it or use products like Perfect Keto to keep your macros in check.
If you’re not sure where to start, meal plans like Kettlebell Kitchen are immensely helpful and should be used throughout your journey.
Making the Most of the Keto Diet
Sometimes you hear someone talk about a celebrity diet and it sounds more like medieval torture than a way to live your life. Keto, while stringent, is a diet that can actually help you feel better.
The trick is to know what you’re signing up for and to work with a nutritionist.