PEOPLE Explains: Everything You Need to Know About the Keto Diet
It's a favorite of celebs like Halle Berry and Kourtney Kardashian, for starters.
Popular belief deems fat as the dietary enemy, but according to the ketogenic diet—keto for short—that may not be the case.
The very low-carb, moderate protein and high-fat eating plan has been around for decades. Originally, it grew popular for treating patients with epilepsy and diabetes, but today it’s gained a following for weight loss. While it’s definitely restrictive—dessert lovers keep moving—you’ll usually find options when you eat out, and you can still enjoy some of your favorite cravings.
1. You don’t have to give up cheese or bacon.
If you’ve ever done a fad diet, you know they often have you sacrificing your breakfast bacon and all things dairy. But this new eating fad encourages you to so-far-as put butter in your morning coffee. High amounts of ‘good’ fat, such as cream, butter, avocado, and nuts are all encouraged. Eating a high-fat diet curbs your hunger cravings, which means less snacking and less calories overall.
On Live! with Kelly and Ryan, Berry claimed that the no sugar, no carb diet works for her as a diabetic. “I eat healthy fats all day long, avocado, oil, coconut oil and I use butter, but don’t have any sugar. So when your body gets trained to burn fats, it’s constantly on fat-burning mode—that’s the secret,” she said. If you follow the eldest Kardashian sister on social media, you know she takes her fitness regimen seriously, and her bikini body is a good proof of that. And according to a recent post on her app, she’s also super dedicated to her eating habits. The reality star says she has been detoxing her body “on and off for months now.” To stay in a state of ketosis, she follows a similar restrictive eating plan to Keto during her detoxes.
3. There’s a scientific reason it’s particularly effective for weight loss.
“This diet works,” New York-based registered dietitian nutritionist Maya Feller told ABC news. This style of eating prompts ketosis, a metabolic process in which the body burns stored fat instead of glucose for its daily energy. Normally, the body breaks down carbohydrates into glucose for energy. But while in ketosis, the body derives ketone bodies from the butter you just drank or from previously stored fat. Feller added that it will, in fact, “give people weight loss.”
WATCH: Kourtney Kardashian Reveals All the Details on Her Insanely Strict ‘Detox’ Diet
4. When personalizing the high-fat diet, be careful with your choices.
It can be easy to overload on red meat and butter with the keto diet. While those are permitted, the most beneficial approach is to focus on healthy fats like avocado, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil. Non-starchy veggies like spinach, kale, cucumbers and proteins like all-natural nut butters, chicken, tuna and salmon are also key.
5. You should absolutely talk to your doctor before trying it out.
Though this diet surely caught the attention of several stars, nutritionist Feller explains that it’s not a great plan in the long run. “The jury is out on if that is safe for the long term”, Keller noted. “What most studies say is that you can follow a ketogenic diet for some months. You don’t want the body to stay in ketosis long term.”