Though it has only recently become well known, the keto diet is turning 100 this year! In 1921, Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic devised the keto diet as a treatment for epilepsy.(1) Doctors still suggest the keto diet for patients who have drug-resistant epilepsy,(2) but most of us have sought the keto diet to help us slim down.
Let’s look deeper at what it is and how to do Keto the right way.
What does keto mean?
Keto is short for ketosis, a metabolic state where the body is forced to use fats instead of sugar for energy because you eat very small amounts of carbs.
Here’s what happens: Cells typically get their fuel from glucose (sugar). When you drastically reduce your carb intake, you create a shortage of glucose. As an alternative, your body enlists the liver to break down fats into a different energy source—ketones.
What does a healthy keto diet look like?
With a keto diet, a person gets 70% of calories from fat, 20% from protein, and 10% from carbohydrates. That means if you’re aiming for around 1600 calories each day, your daily allotment of carbs would be only ½ cup of oatmeal, two 6-inch tortillas, or one medium baked potato. That’s a lot fewer carbs than most of us are used to consuming.
Before you pick up the butter knife, let’s look at the healthy way to approach a keto diet. Followers of the keto diet should be mindful of three main ideas that are critical for health and weight loss:
Be choosy about fat: The healthy keto diet focuses on mono- and polyunsaturated fats: think olive oil, nuts, avocados. Healthy keto dieters eat less artery-clogging saturated fat like butter, bacon, or marbled cuts of meat.
Select clean protein: Lean poultry raised without antibiotics, Greek yogurt, sustainably raised fatty fish such as salmon and swordfish, cage-free eggs, and grass-fed lean meat.
Say goodbye to most carbs. You’re going to cut out alcohol, sweets, beans and other starches, most fruits except berries, and grains.
Why choose a healthy keto diet?
If the do-not-eat list seems daunting, remind yourself of the benefits of a ketogenic diet.
Studies have shown that people who follow a keto diet for at least a year see more weight loss than those who consumed a low-fat diet.(3)
Ketosis may improve your mood and help protect you from cognitive impairment.(4)
A healthy keto diet, researchers found, can also improve markers of metabolic syndrome.(5) Swapping in healthy fats for carbohydrates actually improves cholesterol and lowers triglycerides in the blood.(6)
Folks with insulin resistance benefit from the high-fat, low-carb diet because there is simply less glucose for the body to manage with insulin.6 What’s more, a healthy keto diet can be part of cancer treatment because many cancer cells struggle using ketones for energy.(7)
This may be what you needed to shed those extra pounds.
Let's be healthy together!
Your friends at Santo Remedio.
1. Kim J. M. (2017). Ketogenic diet: Old treatment, new beginning. Clinical neurophysiology practice, 2, 161–162.
2. Ułamek-Kozioł, M., Czuczwar, S. J., Januszewski, S., & Pluta, R. (2019). Ketogenic Diet and Epilepsy. Nutrients, 11(10), 2510.
3. Bueno, N. B., de Melo, I. S., de Oliveira, S. L., & da Rocha Ataide, T. (2013). Very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet v. low-fat diet for long-term weight loss: a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials. The British journal of nutrition, 110(7), 1178–1187.
4. Paoli A. (2014). Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(2), 2092–2107.
5. Paoli A. (2014). Ketogenic diet for obesity: friend or foe?. International journal of environmental research and public health, 11(2), 2092–2107.
6. Paoli, A., Rubini, A., Volek, J. S., & Grimaldi, K. A. (2013). Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets. European journal of clinical nutrition, 67(8), 789–796.
7. Weber, D. D., Aminazdeh-Gohari, S., & Kofler, B. (2018). Ketogenic diet in cancer therapy. Aging, 10(2), 164–165.
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