What is the Keto Diet?

Summer time is in full motion which means it's time for you to look your best. If you’ve followed any type of social media or news outlet regarding diets – chances are you have some level of familiarity with the keto diet. 

The diet is based around a lifestyle consisting of low carbs and moderate to high amounts of protein and fat. Although it sounds simple in nature, in all actuality there’s much more to the diet than you may think. In this piece, we’ll dive into the basics of the keto diet and provide you with some tips for implementing it into your daily life.

What is it?

Many people are under the false impression that the keto diet consists of eating unhealthy amounts of fat in the form of butter, bacon, and other food products. Although there is some level of truth to this, there’s more complexity than you may think.

The ketogenic diet has increased in popularity over the last few years, but it's actually been around for over a century. Originally introduced in the 1920s as a treatment for people with epilepsy as a method for reducing epilepsy – keto is now used for dietary applications in the form of weight loss and health adherence.

The eating style consists of eating high amounts of fat, low to moderate amounts of protein, and minimal carbohydrates (1). Although there is no steadfast rule, the ketogenic diet aims for about 5% calories from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and up to 75% dietary fats. Typically carbs can be consumed under 50g a day.

How it works

The keto diet works by using carbohydrate restriction as a form of putting your body into a state of nutritional ketosis – a metabolic effect that helps produce ketones. Ketones are water soluble byproducts of the breakdown of fat in the liver. During prolonged states of fasting, ketone bodies become an important source of energy for the brain (2). 

Typically, the body uses carbohydrates that eventually are turned into glucose as it's the most common monosaccharide found in nature. When blood glucose is low, the liver breaks down glycogen and raises blood glucose. Eventually over time, when the bodies’ level of glucose is low, a process of gluconeogenesis occurs. This means that the body will utilize protein and fat for energy. Relying less on carbohydrates for energy increases ketone production. As the body shifts its energy sources, ketone production is ramped up. 

Who is it for

Keto is not necessarily applicable to a single demographic or group of people, but it's most commonly utilized to kickstart weight loss. Many people experience rapid initial weight loss from keto due to a reduction in calorie intake. However, in addition to weight loss, it can also provide a number of health benefits including:

  • Prevention of heart disease: the ketogenic diet can improve and lower risk factors by lowering body fat, improving HDL (good) cholesterol levels, and improving blood pressure.
  • Cancer: may help slow tumor growth.
  • Alzheimer’s disease: can reduce symptoms or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Epilepsy: the ketogenic diet can help reduce seizures in individuals experiencing epilepsy.
  • Parkinson’s disease: may help improve symptoms associated with Parkinson’s disease.

  • For other people, it can simply provide them an easier diet style to follow without being as concerned about counting calories or macronutrients. If you’re looking for an easy diet to follow, keto can also be a sustainable method of improving overall health and well-being.

    Pros and cons

    As with any style of diet, it might not necessarily work perfectly for every individual. You should take into account your personal lifestyle, preferences, and health goals prior to following the keto diet.


  • Sustainability: the keto diet can be more sustainable due to its focus on food selection and not calorie counting. 
  • Weight loss benefits: for many people it can be a way to lose and maintain weight loss.
  • Health benefits: it provides for a range of health benefits beyond weight loss including prevention of heart disease and epilepsy treatment.
  • Cons: 

  • Difficulty in social situations: drinking alcohol, consuming heavy amounts of carbohydrates, and eating certain food types are not allowable on keto. It can be difficult to maintain social life if you’re following the keto lifestyle.
  • You can’t consume carbs: if you enjoy carb heavy foods, it may be difficult to limit your carbohydrate intake – particularly if you enjoy simple or processed carbohydrate foods such as cakes, cookies, or ice cream.

    As with any type of diet there’s positives and negatives. The key is finding a diet that fits in well with your particular lifestyle and health goals. If you’re searching for a diet that is relatively simple in nature, the keto diet could be the perfect way to kickstart your weight loss goals.


    1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5670148/
    2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7699472/