Somewhere in the midst of the chaos that was 2018, the Kardashians and Dr. Oz popped up with a radical diet plan that shook Hollywood to the core. Suddenly everyone, including us at Konscious Keto were taking note of the ketogenic weight-loss benefits.
With bold claims like “eat fat to lose fat", and weight loss stories of everyday average Americans losing over 200, 300 and even 500 pounds, it's clear to see why everyone tuned into the keto diet.
And of course, on the sermon was the gospel of how Kim K could eat deliciously fatty bacon and eggs every day and get back her pre-baby body in record-breaking time. The world stopped, stunned, for a moment.
The ketogenic diet history, however, pre-dates the headlines, but its roots to Hollywood will forever run deep and accounts for the sudden boom in the consumer market.
But at the offset, the keto diet wasn’t prescribed for weight loss. It was an anti-inflammatory diet to help manage seizures in children.
Medications can be harsh and not suited to everyone, and kids with seizures were found to have stellar results with a low-carb, high-fat diet. So doctors did a controversial thing and decided to use food as medicine.
More recently in 1993, Hollywood movie producer, Jim Abrahams, and his wife, faced a harsh reality that their son was diagnosed with epilepsy. Charlie was only a year old when he started facing up to 100 seizures a day.
They watched helplessly as the drugs changed their child in the few good moments he was spared.
“You pour the drugs down your child’s throat despite the fact there is something inside you that says, ‘wait a minute this can’t be right’,” said Abrahams. “My son was so loaded at times he just lived in his car seat….he was essentially nonfunctional.”
For them, the keto diet became a saving grace that helped Charlie live a functional life.
Doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota noticed that some epilepsy patients who had exhibited signs like low blood sugar—or were symptomatically "starving"—had fewer seizures.
The keto diet meant to trick your body into thinking it's starving, without the whole not having enough sustenance to live part.
So how did the Kardashians get on the wagon? And is the keto diet really the weight loss bible you’ve heard about? Let’s find out.
So What is the Keto Diet?
In its purest form, people follow a ketogenic meal plan that's 60-75% fat, 15-30% protein, and 5-10% carbs, which then sends their body into a state called ketosis.
When they hit this state, their body breaks fat into organic compounds called ketones, which it then uses for energy.
Think of it like faking starvation mode. If you stopped eating, your body would freak out and start to use stored fat to fuel itself out of desperation.
The keto diet has the same effect, but you can and should continue eating. It’s like the ultimate get out of jail free card.
You can read up more on how to get a delicious balance of healthy fats into your diet here. We have keto recipes for every occasion; you won't believe your taste buds and these recipes are super simple to make.
The keto diet has been a game-changer for people looking to lose weight as it tackles two things that a high-carb diet can’t support: the feeling that you’re full, and overcoming hunger cravings.
In ketosis, hunger suppression and reduced sugar cravings are a side effect of eating a high-fat diet and will help you eat to a calorie deficit much easier.
Yes, on keto, you still need to count calories, but you’ll never feel deprived or like you’re on a diet.
For many people, the foods sound too good to be true, but the magic is all in how the body and fat work together, instead of going head-to-head with carbs.
Get the nitty-gritty behind how the ketogenic diet works in our article, how does keto work?
The Keto Diet - A Cure For Epilepsy?
According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the keto diet and its various forms have been around since the 1920s to help treat epilepsy in patients, including children.
From there, it gained steam during the next two decades until falling out of favor when the invention of antiepileptic medication became available.
However, in the last 15 years, there’s been an explosion in popularity of using the keto diet for treating epileptic patients again.
This caused a tsunami-flood of attention and research into the potential benefits this tasty diet could bring to patients.
For example, here are just a few documented benefits medical researchers discovered:
- Clinical studies found people who followed a ketogenic diet lost over twice as much weight over six months versus those following a traditional low fat, low-calorie diet.
- A ketogenic diet decreased blood glucose, slowed tumor progression and increased the average survival time of mice with systemic metastatic cancer by 56.7%.
- Ketosis has been found to help reduce the incidence of dementia, Alzheimer's and memory loss.
We’ll dive deeper into these benefits later, but first, what exactly is ketosis and how can it help you?
Ketosis is a metabolic process that's used to power your body and all of its vital functions. Your body prefers to run on two forms of energy. One is glucose (carbohydrates), and the other is ketones (fats).
You see, one of the big reasons for the rise in obesity rates in the United States is due to the overconsumption of carbohydrates. Your body loves carbs because they’re easy to break down and use for energy.
Studies have shown sugar is as addicting to the brain as cocaine is to a drug user. Some might say even stronger. Oh, and cancer cells love sugar.
According to researchers, cancer cells can’t get enough of the stuff, which could cause a vicious cycle of growth and development.
Plus, too much glucose in your system could cause significant damage over time and harm to many organs. Two of them being your pancreas and brain.
This explains why ketosis has been shown to help decrease blood sugar while also improving brain health.
Ketos Impact on Insulin Response
On a keto diet, the body is programmed to use fat for fuel. Unlike carbs, fatty foods have a very low glycemic index, which means they do not trigger an insulin response.
Insulin is the hormone that is responsible for type 2 diabetes and has to be sent out to digest sugars and carbs.
The more carbs and sugar you eat, the more insulin you need to produce to digest those foods; and the more at risk you become of developing the first warning symptom of diabetes, which is called insulin resistance.
Over time, the more insulin you use to break down foods, the more you need to call upon to get the same results.
So, the more carbs you eat, the more at risk you become of insulin resistance and the chance of that developing into type 2 diabetes, where your ability to regulate your blood sugar levels becomes problematic.
Many people in America eat hundreds of carbs per day, which is flooding their systems with all of this insulin, and this causes another problem; insulin blocks other hormones from being able to get sent out.
That means if you have a lot of insulin in your body, you cannot send out other necessary hormones to do their job.
This leads to an imbalance and can cause all kinds of issues like mood swings, depression, early menopausal symptoms, and worsen PMS symptoms in women of all ages.
The Secret Trick Many Celebrities Keep:
- Halle Berry
- Kourtney Kardashian
- Kim Kardashian
- Gwyneth Paltrow
- LeBron James
- Mick Jagger
- Megan Fox
- Adriana Lima
The list can go on and on of celebrities using the keto diet to help them slim down and shape up. It's easy to see why; the science and results speak for themselves.
In one study out of the British Journal of Medicine, researchers studied the effects of a ketogenic diet versus a low fat - high carb diet on weight loss.
At the end of the study, they concluded individuals assigned to a very low carb, high-fat diet (keto diet), achieved a more significant weight loss than those assigned to a low-fat diet in the long term.
Another study out of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology echoes the same results. After 24 weeks of being on a ketogenic diet, subjects experienced a tremendous amount of average weight loss. The average starting weight for all 80+ subjects was 222 pounds.
After 24 weeks, the average total weight dropped to 189 pounds. That’s an average weight loss of 33 pounds without exercise.
If you’re trying to get back into shape and exercising on a regular basis, the keto diet might allow for a total-body transformation.
One study from the Journal of Sports Nutrition found those who exercised with weights while following a ketogenic diet, versus those on a Standard American Diet (SAD) containing 55% of their daily calories from carbohydrates, enjoyed an increase in lean body mass while also losing more fat.
The Ketogenic Diet is Like Having Your Cake and Eating It Too...
Where else can you experience quicker results from exercise while eating cheese, sausage and dark chocolate for dessert?
Let’s not forget that when you lose weight, many health markers could improve as well, which we’re sure will bring a smile to your doctor’s face on your next checkup.
You see, the ketogenic diet has been found to help reduce your bad cholesterol levels (LDL) while increasing your good cholesterol (HDL).
The keto diet can naturally lower blood pressure along with triglyceride levels. If heart disease runs in your family, or if you’re getting up in age, it’s essential to do everything you can to improve heart health.
But still, there’s more. Besides indirectly offering plenty of heart protection, being in ketosis is shown to be very beneficial for those with high blood sugar or type 2 diabetes.
There’s research proving that some people reversed their condition altogether. It’s that powerful! But of course, results do vary.
According to one study from the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, researchers recruited 28 patients who were both overweight and had type 2 diabetes. Almost all patients were on diabetes medication to help manage their blood sugar levels.
At the end of the 16 weeks of being on a ketogenic diet, hemoglobin A1c decreased, on average by 16%, while diabetic medications were reduced in 10 participants and eliminated in 7 participants.
Being in Ketosis is Like Rocket Fuel for Your Brain
Being in ketosis offers a wide range of cognitive benefits. Ketones, the by-product of being in ketosis, help better stabilize two crucial neurotransmitters—glutamate and GABA—which are involved mainly in brain function.
Because of this, many people have found that the keto diet helps improve focus and mental clarity. It’s also been shown to improve memory.
Even patients with Alzheimer’s have seen improvements in memory when ketone levels are increased. Scientists believe this is due to a positive increase in β-hydroxybutyrate levels (BHBs).
They state, “if β-hydroxybutyrate is responsible for memory improvement, then the ketogenic diet, which results in elevated β-hydroxybutyrate levels, would also be expected to improve memory function.”
Things to Consider Before Starting a Keto Diet
Most people eating a Standard American Diet generally eat around 300 total grams of carbs per day, but that will certainly not be the case on any iteration of the ketogenic diet.
Those who follow a strict keto diet opt to keep their net carb macros (r.e., total carbs - fiber = net carbs) under 20 net grams per day.
Some people experience challenges when they embark on keto, and those issues are generally summed up and referred to collectively as the ‘keto flu'.
Keeping electrolytes, salt and hydration levels high will help to mitigate symptoms of the flu and shorten the unpleasant experience that some experience.
If you experience keto flu or struggle to get into ketosis, see our post for a breakdown on the best way to beat the keto flu.
Our lives are so busy, and it’s hard to eat the ideal foods at all times, sometimes life happens.
Luckily, amazing and super-tasty products like Keto Activate help boost ketones and maintain or establish ketosis, even if your macros aren’t squeaky clean.
What Women Benefit from a Ketogenic Diet?
Women with a seizure disorder, type 2 diabetes, any form of neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disease, or those who are overweight or obese may benefit from a keto diet.
By the way, for those of you considering keto and hoping to conceive or considering the keto lifestyle immediately postpartum, you might want to check out our two recent posts on how to safely eat a ketogenic diet during and post-pregnancy.
See, Can I Do Keto When Pregnant? for more information.
The Future of the Keto Diet
You might have heard celebrity fitness trainers like Jillian Michaels condemning the keto diet, but for one moment, think of where her paychecks come from.
For years, Jillian has been promoting fat burning pills, extreme weight loss and has been shamed publically for how she treats people who are overweight.
The industries who have been getting rich on all these lucrative but ridiculous diet claims and fat burners are losing money now that people realize there is another way.
You can eat a keto diet, without supplementation, and get amazing results. In fact, here at Konscious Keto, we implore you to find your local farmer’s market and get cooking.
It’s one of the best gifts you can give yourself, and your health will thank you; if you're unsure where to start, these free keto recipes will help!
The keto diet is breaking through the bull and giving people a new lease of life at all ages. Once you start to see and feel the results yourself, you'll see why the keto diet is a not a fad and that it’s not going anywhere soon.
More companies are showing up to the party to create natural, keto-friendly products that support a quality of life we aspire too.
Our Keto Shake, for example, is an excellent alternative for those busy days when you can’t stop to cook.
Just add one scoop of Keto Shake to 6-8oz of water or almond milk, and you are good to go to your next meal.
Packed full of quality fats, like avocado oil, and none of the fillers and extras, it’s no wonder those giant companies are scared.
We can and will defend the ketogenic diet because the science and the results back it up and you cannot make us believe something we have seen with our own eyes.
So be aware of people who are out to make a quick buck and start reading up on the keto diet.
We promise, once you give it a shot for yourself, the rest will become history.
If you're ready to start and want to hear from an experienced keto chef, get video training, exclusive recipes and more, check out something we put together over here to help more people live their best, ketogenic lives.
While the ketogenic diet is incredible, it only works when you say yes and take affirmative action today. We'll see you on the inside.
- The Mayo Clinic Diet
- The Ketogenic Diet: Uses in Epilepsy and Other Neurologic Illnesses https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2898565/
- The Ketogenic Diet and Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Prolong Survival in Mice with Systemic Metastatic Cancer https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3673985/
- GABA and glutamate in the human brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12467378