What Is the Keto Diet (and Should You Try It)?
A highly effective strategy for some, but not all, of us
Everybody’s doing the keto diet. It’s a cultural craze that’s captured our imagination.
But let’s remember that the ketogenic diet is a medical, or therapeutic, diet. So while it’s extremely beneficial for people with certain conditions, it’s not for everyone.
What do you eat on the keto diet?
The keto diet is essentially a high-fat diet — your meals are 70 or 80 percent fat; about 20 percent protein; and about 5 percent carbohydrate. It is not an Atkins high-protein diet.
The keto diet switches you from burning glucose (which carbs provide) to burning ketones (which fat produces) for energy. When you do this, interesting things happen:
Your metabolism speeds up.
Your hunger goes away.
Your muscle mass increases.
Your blood pressure and heart disease risk profile improve.
Why will eating fat help you burn fat?
Biology is smart. Historically, it allowed our bodies to adapt to times of abundance or scarcity by shifting from carbohydrate metabolism to fat metabolism.
When we found lots of wild fruit, we’d store the carbs as belly fat. Later, in lean times, we would use the fat as a backup source of fuel.
The key is this: Eating fat does not make your insulin go up, as eating carbs or protein does. So the keto diet does not spike your insulin, and you don’t store fat. Instead, you burn it, creating the ketones that give you an effective and efficient metabolic jolt.