Finding yourself confused by the seemingly endless promotion of weight-loss strategies and diet plans? In this series, we take a look at some popular diets—and review the research behind them. In the 19 th century, the ketogenic diet was commonly used to help control diabetes. In it was introduced as an effective treatment for epilepsy in children in whom medication was ineffective. However, this diet is gaining considerable attention as a potential weight-loss strategy due to the low-carb diet craze, which started in the s with the Atkins diet a very low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet, which was a commercial success and popularized low-carb diets to a new level. Today, other low-carb diets including the Paleo, South Beach, and Dukan diets are all high in protein but moderate in fat. The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel.
A ketogenic diet for beginners By Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt, MD, medical review by Dr. Get started with our visual guides, recipes, meal plans, and simple 2-week Get Started program. What is a keto diet? The keto diet is a very low-carb, higher-fat diet. While you eat far fewer carbohydrates on a keto diet, you maintain moderate protein consumption and may increase your intake of fat. The reduction in carb intake puts your body in a metabolic state called ketosis, where fat, from your diet and from your body, is burned for energy. Watch the entire 8-part video course. When you eat very few carbs or very few calories, your liver produces ketones from fat.
One of the core, fundamental principles of the ketogenic diet is keeping carbohydrate intake extremely low. The purpose of keeping carbs low is so your body can start using fats for energy instead of relying on glucose from carbohydrates. This is also known as being in a state of ketosis. Everyone has slightly different levels of carbohydrate restriction on the ketogenic diet. While some people can get away with eating more while staying in ketosis, others may need to be more restrictive. But if you live a sedentary lifestyle and are overweight, we encourage you to keep carb intake as low as possible. There are certain foods that contain extremely high amounts of carbohydrates that should be avoided at all costs. Cocoa powder and dark chocolate are great alternatives to eating sugary chocolate bars.