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The Ketogenic Diet

Ever heard of the ketogenic diet? It is a concept that is not new; however, it has picked up a lot of popularity over the past year. The ketogenic diet has become this year’s paleo. Several months ago I started noticing cookbooks coming out at Chapters that featured words like keto, ketosis, and ketogenic. My first thought was, what the heck is ketosis? Of course, my inner Ravenclaw deemed it necessary to do some necessary research and discover what this notion is all about. 


I utilized my beautiful library card and took out every book on the ketogenic diet that I could obtain. I came across these three beauties and took notes on some of their most important points. 


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What is the ketogenic diet?

It is a diet filled with lots of fat, moderate protein consumption and nearly no carbohydrates. This type of eating causes a shift in the way your body metabolizes food and gets energy. Without carbohydrates, the body’s primary source of energy, the body begins to use its vast amount of stored fat for energy.

“The body’s fat cells store over 130,000 calories! Wouldn’t it be great if you had easy access to that energy we never you felt hungry?” (Kristen Mancinelli).

Why is it called ketogenic?

When this energy shift occurs the body produces ketones, showing you’re in a fat burning stage. Your body no longer relies on carbohydrates for energy. Rather, stored fat is used as your energy source. 

 “Nudging [out bread, and its fat-free, carb-rich friends] out of your diet communicates to your body that you prefer to metabolize fat for fuel. You’ll begin losing weight quickly (achieving your metabolic target), and you’ll be astonished to see how a carb-heavy diet — despite what nutritional guidelines have led you to believe — Has been strongly influencing your body to hold onto weight” (Kristen Mancinelli).

It the ketogenic diet the same as paleo? 

No. Both diets are very similar; they limit carbohydrates. However, paleo diets eat more meat and keto diets eat more fat. 

“Paleo is so popular that, whether intentional or not, it’s driving a shift in societal thinking about the healthfulness of carbs and fats.In fact, a convenient way to explain your ketogenic diet to the uninitiated is to say, ‘You know the paleo diet? Well it’s like the paleo diet on a diet. It’s basically the same thing minus the desserts and sweet potatoes.’” (Kristen Mancinelli, 23).

Where do I start? 

  1. Make a commitment to eat less than 50g of carbs for at least 60 days. Keep doing this until you have lost the weight you wish to lose

  2. Most of your calorie consumption comes from fat, not protein

  3. You will consume about 70-75% of calories in the form of fat, 15-25% in the form of protein, and the rest carbohydrates

  4. You will eat between 25-50g of carbs (at most 200 calories!) per day 

Can I test my ketone level? 

Yes, indeed! You can test your ketone level through your urine, blood, and/or breath. 


Can you eat as much fat and protein as you want? 

  1. Consuming too much protein is BAD because it creates gluconeogenesis in your body

  2. Turns excess protein into glucose

  3. True ketogenic ration: 5-10% carbohydrates, 10-15% protein, 75-80% fat

  4. Getting over the fear of fat is the biggest obstacle for most people

How do you know if you’re in ketosis?

  1. You’re not very hungry

  2. You get full easily

  3. You’re losing weight

  4. Your energy level is more stable

  5. Your mood is better

The main source of calories on a ketogenic diet:

  1. Oils (olive, coconut, sesame)

  2. Fats in the flesh of fish and meat

  3. Avocado

  4. Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans)

  5. Seeds (pumpkin, flax, chia)

  6. Butter, cream, and cheese

  7. Non-starchy vegetables 

Foods NOT to eat:

  1. Things made with sugar (honey, agave, maple syrup)

  2. Things made with flour

  3. Grains (rice, oats, quinoa, couscous)

  4. Fruit, except small amounts of very low sugar fruits (berries)

  5. Lactose rich (low fat) dairy products (milk, ice cream, most yogurts)

Benefits of Ketogenic Lifestyle

  1. Weight loss

  2. Turning your body into a fat burning machine

  3. Regulated blood sugar

  4. Regulated hormones 

  5. Mental clarity 

  6. Sustained energy

  7. Controlled cravings

  8. Delicious, fat-filled food

  9. Consistent satiety 


Help in dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, mental illness, schizophrenia, bipolar, depression, narcolepsy, and sleep disorders (dang!) 


Cons of Ketogenic Lifestyle

  1. Almost no carbohydrates (I’m sorry bread and fruit lovers)

  2. Cn be difficult to adjust to

  3. Have to go through a difficult state of transition when getting into ketosis

  4. If you are afraid of fat you will not succeed on this diet

  5. Can’t eat starchy vegetables or beans

  6. Makes it very hard for vegetarians

  7. Seems almost impossible to attain!

  8. Maybe for a short period of time?

  9. You have to calculate EVERY GRAM OF CARBS

Some fun acronyms from Keto Clarity by Jimmy Moore

Keep carbs low

Eat more fat

Test ketones often

Overdoing protein is bad

Feel fuller

Alternative fuel

Triggers ketones

So I’m thinking I might have to give this keto thing a try. I’ve read enough about it and I’d love to see how difficult it actually is and how beneficial it can be. The thought of eating a lot of fat kind of grosses me out a little; but I do see many healthy fats that I do love such as avocados, nut butter, olive oil and goat cheese. All this being said, I might need to give this a go! If I do, I’ll be sure to update you on my process.


Would you ever try a diet like this? What would be something you would find difficult to adapt to? What is something you like about this type of eating style? 



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