What Is The Ketogenic Diet?


Have you ever heard of the ketogenic diet? Also known as “keto”, “nutritional ketosis”, or “keto-adapted” diet?

What Is The Ketogenic Diet?

Basically, it’s a diet wherein you decrease your carbohydrates and let your body start using ketones from fat as fuel instead. It’s a high-fat, moderate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet. And when I say low-carbohydrate, I mean in the range of about 0-15% of calories. For an average person , that limits carbs to about 75g max, and usually a lot less. Generally, when docs put people on a ketogenic diet, they suggest 4 grams of fat per every 1 gram of carbohydrate or protein.

Why Go Keto?

Surprisingly, your body doesn’t absoutely need carbohydrates to thrive. In fact, some people do much better using fat as fuel on a ketogenic diet, including people with brain issues like Alzheimers, autism, seizure disorders, and more. The ketogenic diet has also helped people lose weight who’ve had no luck with other kinds of diets.

Example of a Meal on Ketosis

Here’s a photo of a typical meal on Jimmy Moore’s diet. Eggs, heavy cream, avocado, sausage, salsa, and the eggs are probably cooked in butter. His diet is around 82% fat, 3% carbs, and 15% protein


My Non-Dairy Paleo Menu for Ketosis

When I tried ketosis on a non-dairy Paleo diet, this is the menu I came up with to try to meet Jimmy’s fat/protein/carb ratios.

Breakfast Scramble
3 slices bacon
1 egg
1 cup chopped kale
1/4 of an onion
1/2 avocado
2 tsp bacon grease to fry it up in

Lunch (Coconut Curry Salmon)
3 oz baked salmon
1 tsp curry paste
1/3 cup canned coconut milk
2 tbs coconut butter/manna melted on top
1 cup mushrooms
1 cup cabbage

Dinner (Steak and Carrots)
3 oz eye of round steak with some fat left on it
1 large carrot sliced up, sautéed
2 tbs beef tallow to cook it all in and/or drizzle over
1/2 avocado

Calories: 1,570
Carbs: 13% = 49 grams (much of which is fiber, so the net would be lower)
Fat: 74% = 129 grams
Protein: 15% = 60 grams

This is what I ate when I tried ketosis because I don’t eat dairy. I definitely achieved ketosis, judging by the urine strips I was using, which is one of the ways you test your ketone levels.

My Experience with Ketosis

I blogged about my own experience with ketosis a while back. I was trying to see if I’d feel more energetic and maybe get rid of some of my various symptoms by using it. Here are the posts I wrote about it.

To be honest, it didn’t go well. I lost weight rapidly and I didn’t need to. I was very dizzy, had NO energy, couldn’t recuperate from workouts, and I was depressed. I either did it wrong or ketosis just doesn’t work for my body type. I was eating as much fat as I could get into me on a Paleo (and no dairy) diet, and as many other calories as I could stomach (being on keto decreases your appetite). But no matter what I did, I felt awful. I only made it 6 days, actually.

My failure with nutritional ketosis was actually blogged about by That Paleo Guy, a Paleo sports nutritionist, who explained why my body type didn’t do well with keto. He said that I’m lean and have built my muscle through power exercises (rock climbing and lifting weights). Here are some photos of me before I started keto for reference.

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And yes, I know my body is crooked. I have a bunch of injuries that my body compensates for by twisting and turning. I’m working on it ;)

Anyway, therefore, he says, “Neely is going to more likely have type-2, fast twitch muscle fibres, and perhaps, more specifically, she has a preponderance toward the fast and powerful type 2b fibres that love to run on glycogen (carbohydrate) as their primary fuel.”

And I think he’s right. In my Paleo journey, I definitely started off way lower carb than I am now, and I feel much better overall now than I did then. My body loves carbs, in other words. Yours may not. Check out his post, “Calorie Rants and Ketosis (part 2)”, to find out if you’re more well-equipped to do ketosis.

Despite my failure with ketosis, I think it can be an extremely beneficial tool for weight loss, and for people who have the disorders I mentioned above (pending their doctor’s recommendation, of course).

A New Book on Ketosis

My interest in trying ketosis was sparked by Jimmy Moore, who, after many years of failed attempts at losing weight on a low-carb diet, had tremendous success on keto. He continues to lose weight on it even now.

Screen-Shot-2014-05-30-at-3.54.25-PM.pngJimmy Moore and Dr. Eric Westman actually have a book coming out called Keto Clarity: Your Definitive Guide to the Benefits of a Low-Carb, High-Fat Dietwhich I’m VERY excited about!

Finally a modern guide to ketosis. After Jimmy and Dr. Westman’s collaboration on their last book, “Cholesterol Clarity: What the HDL Is Wrong with My Cholesterol Numbers?”I think this guide to ketosis is going to be extremely informative and easy to read.

I’ve already ordered mine. I may not use ketosis in my own life, but I do use it with clients. And I love science :)

If you’re interested in trying ketosis out and you want to learn more about it, I suggest you pre-order this book. It may just be that little piece to the puzzle you’ve been missing…

Have you tried ketosis? If so, how did it go for you?