I gotta tell ya, as a Keto Coach, I get a big-ol’ shit-eating-grin when I hear people decline bread because they’re “counting carbs.” Likewise, I light up when I pass an end-cap at Barnes & Noble chuck full of keto cookbooks. Because not only am I a nutritional nerd— but clearly, keto is catching on.
Beyond just catching on, the ketogenic diet is quickly becoming one of America’s top trending diets.1 The only problem is, with SO many people jumping on the keto bandwagon, there’s a lot of mixed information floatin’ around out there.
That’s why I’ve created the Keto Diet Masterclass. In this 3-part series, we’ll be diving into the how, what, and why of this trending diet by answering questions like, what is the ketogenic diet, and how do you get started with keto?1
Prefer to listen to this masterclass? Click below to download your FREE video tutorial.
What is the ketogenic diet?
The ketogenic diet is a low-carb, moderate protein, high-fat diet. Keto (as it’s commonly called) shares many attributes with primal diets such as paleo and carnivore.
The ketogenic diet involves reprogramming the body to rely on fat (rather than glucose) for fuel. This is accomplished by eliminating sugar and drastically reducing carbohydrate intake. Doing so effectively prompts the body into a state of ketosis.
What is Ketosis?
Ketosis is a metabolic state in which the body relies on ketones for fuel. Ketones are produced in the liver from fat. During ketosis, the body directly breaks down its fat stores into energy instead of slowly converting fat and muscle cells into glucose for energy. Essentially, your body is in a state of ketosis when it’s feasting on fat for fuel. You can achieve ketosis through diet (such as the ketogenic diet), fasting, exogenous ketones, or a combination of both.
Is keto a fad diet?
Now, to fuel the body with fat, you’re gonna need to take down a whole lot of it— in fact, far more than would ever seem reasonable. I know that seems absurd because it basically takes our current food pyramid and flips it on its head.
This is the point where I often lose people. Understandably so. For years we’ve been told that our body’s preferred energy source is glucose. But you know, that wasn’t always the case.
For hundreds of thousands of years, our Paleolithic ancestors relied on ketones for energy when glucose sources were scarce. In fact, they thrived on a low-carb diet based on animals, plants, and insects.
Today most Americans derive the bulk of their carbohydrates from beer, processed foods, bread, pasta, and pastries rather than veggies, fruits, nuts, and roots. So perhaps glucose is not our body’s preferred energy source, rather a necessary accommodation to our “evolved” dietary model.
Is ketosis natural?
So is ketosis natural?
Absolutely! Ketosis is a normal state of metabolism. In fact, most babies are born in a state of ketosis. However, in our modern era of carbohydrate abundance people rarely access ketosis, making it a dormant metabolic pathway.
How do you know if you’re in ketosis?
Fortunately for us, ketosis is not some elusive metabolic state. Ketosis is 100% measurable. In order to know if you’re in a state of ketosis it’s imperative you test your ketone levels. There are three common methods for measuring ketone levels.
3 Ways of Measuring Ketone Levels
1. Urine Testing
The first method is through urine testing. Urine testing is designed to measure excess amounts of ketones within the body. Urine sticks are the most commonly used method of testing, likely due to their accessibility as well as affordability. You can find urine sticks (ketone testing sticks) at your nearest CVS or Walgreens, and they’ll only set you back 15-30 bucks. Urine testing will help to determine if you’re in a state of ketosis, but they aren’t always accurate.
2. Blood Testing
The second method is through blood testing. By squeezing a drop of blood onto a test stick you can test the level of Beta-Hydroxybutyrate in your body. This will effectively determine if you are in a state of ketosis. However, it is the most expensive testing method available.
3. Breath Testing
The third method of testing involves breath testing. You can actually measure the amount of acetone in your breath using a breath meter. Though be aware that this is the least reliable method of testing for ketosis.
How Does Keto Work?
What causes weight gain?
To understand how a high-fat diet promotes weight loss, we need to understand what causes weight gain in the first place.
Basically, our body can make use of two types of fuel. The first type is glucose. Glucose is primarily derived from sugar or carbohydrates. And we can compare glucose to regular gasoline— less expensive, quick-burning, and a little dirty.2
The second type of fuel is known as ketones. Ketones are derived from fat (either stored or dietary fat). And we can compare ketones to premium gasoline— more expensive, clean-burning, slow, and sustainable fuel.
By cutting back on either fueling system, you WILL lose weight.
For instance, Weight Watchers generally promises results by reducing fat intake. Physique competitors and models often take this approach as well.
Alternatively, the ketogenic diet focuses on cutting carbs to lose weight. In fact, low-carb diets such as Atkins, Keto, and Carnivore have been popularized in recent years due to their overwhelming effectiveness at slimming the waistline.42
How do carbohydrates affect the body?
After consuming carbohydrates, the body begins breaking them down into glucose for fuel. This process causes a rise in blood sugar. In fact, eating ANYTHING will cause blood sugar to rise— so carbohydrates aren’t the problem per se. The problem occurs when you eat too many carbs.
After consuming a heavy load of carbs, the body responds to the rising blood sugar by filling its cells with glucose. Once the cells are filled, excess glucose lingers in the bloodstream. Over time, excess glucose can cause insulin levels to rise— contributing to weight gain, clogged arteries, and inflammation.27
Worse yet, consistently high insulin levels cause cells to stop responding to insulin altogether. This is known as insulin resistance. And insulin resistance can lead to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.28
How does fat effect the body?
In contrast, fat has significantly less impact on blood sugar than carbohydrates. In fact, when consumed alone, ingested fats have no bearing on the concentration of blood sugar whatsoever. And just so we’re clear, an excess of any carbohydrate, including both sugar and starch, are stored as fat. And despite what you may believe of “healthy whole grains,” ANY carbohydrate not immediately used by the body is broken down into glycogen and stored away as fat.
Therefore, a sugary diet is the same as a starchy diet.
I realize this information may feel like a serious bitch slap because, like me, you’ve spent your whole life programmed to believe that eating cereal, skim milk, and fruit for breakfast was healthy. I’m sorry to break it to you— it’s time to reconsider EVERYTHING you think you know about fat.
Contrary to popular belief, fat is much more than a nasty blob of blubber. It’s actually an organ within our endocrine system. 70% of our brain is composed of fat. Fat is found within every single cell in the body— it actually supports the structure of our cellular membranes. Beyond that, fat regulates our hormones as well as protects and fuels the body.
In fact, we can survive on a minimal amount of carbohydrates (which can actually be created by the liver as needed)— but we can’t go long without fat— fat is absolutely vital to our existence!
The ketogenic diet boasts a laundry list of health benefits, most of which are due to our good friend fat. Now in consideration of time and attention span we’ll run through these quite quickly.
Now that we’re all clear on what the ketogenic diet is. Let’s move on to why the keto diet is 100% worth the hype! See you next week for The Keto Diet Masterclass Part 2: Benefits and Side-Effects of the Ketogenic Diet.
Can’t wait? I don’t blame you. Click below to watch the entire 3-part series now!
Whether you’re well-versed or brand spankin’ new to keto life and looking for some help, you should check out Katie’s coaching program. Coach Katie lives keto all day, errryday. She keeps up to date on the latest science, so you don’t have to. But more importantly, she addresses your specific goals to help you achieve ultimate success on your keto journey. And it’s always better to have someone in your corner, guiding you along. So if you’re ready for total life transformation and ultimate keto success, schedule your FREE initial keto consultation today!