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What is the ketogenic diet and should I try it?

The ketogenic diet is having a moment. But is it right for you?
/ Source: TODAY

The ketogenic diet is having a moment. And, its 15 minutes of fame don’t appear to be fading anytime soon. So, why is keto so popular right now?

The ketogenic diet has actually been around for a long time and was originally created to help treat kids with epilepsy. One reason it may have gained attention (aside from celebs touting it on Instagram) is that it is similar — but even more extreme — to the wildly popular Atkins diet. And, we all remember the Atkins era. People lost weight fast.

On a keto diet as well, people tend to see quick results. Another possibility for its popularity is that it’s an easy diet to understand due to some straightforward rules.

What is a keto diet?

In case you haven’t jumped on the keto train and are wondering what exactly all the hype is about, here you go: The diet is very high fat and (almost) no carb. The ratio of fat to carbs and protein is 4:1. The goal of the ketogenic diet is to burn fat for energy rather than carbohydrates, resulting in weight loss. And, advocates claim there are many benefits beyond the number on the scale going down.

What are the pros and cons?

Those following keto tend to have a higher level of satiety and reduced cravings during the day. A few studies have shown that the diet may promote weight loss, lower blood sugar and increase insulin sensitivity in diabetics. It has also shown to improve LDL cholesterol levels and regulate insulin, increase mental focus and boost energy.

On the flip side, it’s very hard to 100 percent commit to the diet, and for it to properly become a lifestyle change. Going out to eat, attending events and parties will be a lot more difficult — and this means that (similar to Atkins!) many people gain weight back.

Other down sides: There’s an initial period where your body is adjusting to its new carb-free existence, and many people experience symptoms like fatigue, brain fog and nausea for a few weeks. You also end up deficient in important micronutrients, like folate, calcium and potassium, which is why most ketogenic devotees recommend taking multivitamins. Personally, I recommend my clients follow a diet that in its ideal state provides all of the nutrients you need through real, whole foods.

Who is the ketogenic diet right for?

If you have health reasons that make you want to try it and eating bacon, eggs and steak salads every day sounds amazing, maybe you could swing it. If nothing makes you happier than a fresh piece of sourdough, or if beans are one of the protein sources you rely on, there’s no point in trying a diet that’s not going to work. (And, by the way, sourdough toast with mashed avocado for breakfast and black bean soup for lunch are really delicious and healthy.)

Keto breakfast ideas

If you're feeling inspired by the keto trend, here are a four breakfasts that are healthy and delicious (regardless of their keto status).

This avocado egg boat is queen of keto breakfasts. And if you’ve been loving zoodles for your grandma’s famous pesto sauce, you’ll find another perfect use for them with these yummy and beautiful zoodle nests.

Remember, there is room for some carbs on a keto diet, so if you save some for yogurt, this breakfast of green tea yogurt may take the place of your morning matcha latte.

One thin slice of this nutty bread with a teaspoon of coconut oil and sprinkle of cinnamon is incredibly filling, with a touch of cinnamon raisin toast nostalgia.

For more tips on how to live a nutritious life, follow Keri @nutritiouslifeofficial.