Though not a new diet, the ketogenic diet has in recent months become more and more popular as a means for prompting weight loss. The ketogenic diet has been used for many years, mostly in clinical settings like hospitals, as part of the treatment protocol for children and adults suffering from epilepsy.
The ketogenic diet is extremely strict and requires following specific guidelines of about 25 to 35 grams of net carbohydrates (total carbs minus fiber) daily, about the equivalent of one apple. The rest of a ketogenic person’s diet is comprised of 5 percent or so protein and then fat for the remaining 70 to 80 percent of the calories.
The purpose of the ketogenic diet is to switch our bodies from using carbohydrates for fuel to burning ketones instead. When the body is starved of carbohydrates, fat is broken down and ketones are formed by the liver and then burned for energy instead of glucose. When followed strictly, the excess ketones that our bodies make can be measured in the urine; strict followers of the diet will sometimes check their urine to ensure they find ketones.
While there’s reasonable evidence to support the use of the ketogenic diet for clinical purposes as mentioned above, the use of the ketogenic diet for people just looking to optimize their diet and lose weight is a bit more controversial. Here are the pros and cons: