What’s the scoop on keto and why is it becoming even more popular now? The truth is that keto diets have been around since the 1920s, and were thought to be an effective treatment for pediatric epilepsy. Studies showed that ketone bodies found in the blood (or better known as “ketosis”) would slow down the processes behind epileptic episodes, and even reduce seizures by over 50% in all cases where the patients were placed on a keto or keto-esque diet. However, keto lost popularity in the 1930s when anti-convulsion medication became the primary treatment source, but keto diets steadily regained popularity a few decades later. So why are we going keto crazy now despite the diet being around for almost a century?
The keto talk has become more apparent because it a popular solution that coincides with the rise of diabetes as well as other digestive diseases. With the discovery of how powerful and destructive higher carbohydrate diets can be on the body, more studies show that bacterial infections and even cancer thrive on higher blood glucose environments. So, this means that sugar feeds pathology. Even current physicians will advise patients being treated via chemotherapy to follow a keto diet or “lower carbohydrate” diet that consists of lower sugar based foods and some healthy forms of fat.
The biggest factor in a manageable ketogenic diet is the use of quality fat sources. A true keto diet will have 70-75% of the daily calories coming from fat. So basically a 2,000 calorie keto diet would have close to 180 grams of daily fat per day. Personally, I think it’s ill-advised to consume over 60 grams of this in animal based fats. If anything, only 15-20% of daily fat should be saturated fats. The remaining percentage should come from medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) and long-chain triglycerides (LCTs).
One of the best sources of MCTs is coconut. Coconuts have been great for stabilizing blood sugar levels in diabetics, and the fat helps prevent possible heart disease and digestive disorders. Another great source of MCT is palm oil. Some people have allergic sensitivity to coconut so this would be another great alternative oil to use in substitution. MCT is definitely our top source because it’s absorption rate through the body is far more efficient than that of LCT. I’m not saying that LCT is inefficient, but MCT is much more readily used in the body and benefits all systemic functions.
LCTs contain rich amounts of both omega-3 and omega-6 fats that also aid in the complete health of the body. For example, below is a list of some LCTs we can also use:
-Fatty fish (salmon)
-Extra virgin olive oil
These foods can also be used to help reach the amount needed to cover a healthy based keto diet that will allow the body to reach ketosis.
A keto diet can test you both physically and mentally, which is why it can work for some and may not be the best diet for others. I believe that keto is not for everyone because it a very strict diet, and anyone following it would have to find ways to exclude typically healthy food choices that are so common in our society. You can’t fall into ketosis by eating a “healthy” protein bar or having a skinny latte at your local Starbucks. Keto takes diligence and consistency to have your body use fats and ketones as a primary energy source versus carbohydrates.