Do you have lots of questions about Keto, or Ketogenic Diet? Well my friend, you’ve come to the right place!

Here we are about to share with you:


  • What is the Keto Diet or Ketogenic Diet?
  • Will I lose weight on the Keto Diet? What are the other benefits of Keto?
  • How do I DO the Keto Diet?


So, cut the crap, here we go!


1. WHAT IS THE KETO DIET OR KETOGENIC DIET?

The Ketogenic diet, or Keto diet, is a food strategy in which you drastically reduce your carbohydrate intake and replace it with fat in order to get your metabolism to a state called ketosis.

In ketosis, your body converts fat to fuel to burn for energy like Tony Stark burns Captain America for being uptight.

Get it?

Because Captain America is a square.

Don’t worry, the jokes will only get worse from here.

When you’re in ketosis, your body is burning fat for fuel, and this can help create a series of big wins for you in the “get healthy, lose weight, look good naked” department.

In order for ketosis to happen, the body needs to be absent its preferred fuel source: glucose (sugar!).



This can happen in one of TWO ways:


  • Fasting: by not eating at all, your body will burn through your glucose stores and be forced to start converting fat to ketones for fuel.
  • Eating in a “Keto” way: essentially, only fueling your body with fat and avoiding consumption of foods that can be readily converted to sugar.


Where does that sugar usually come from? Generally speaking, carbs.

And boy do we love carbs.

A typical American diet is more than 50% carbs. And more than 60% of our country is overweight. Is one causing the other? Or are they just correlated?

I’d argue both.

And I’m the nerd writing this.

So, there.

Eat carbs, burn carbs, store sugars, lather, rinse, repeat. Very little fat-burning is taking place – and you’re adding to your body’s sugar storehouse, and that’s what eventually winds up packing the fat onto your body!



So what happens if you get rid of those carbs and replace them with another fuel source? That’s when you start burning fat.

Compare a typical carb-heavy American diet to somebody who is “Keto” – they eat a diet very high in fat, with moderate amounts of protein and minimal amounts of carbohydrates.

Still with me?

Great.

So if you do an extended fasted period, or only eat foods that line up with the Keto Diet, your body is going to be forced to burn fat for fuel.

Another thing to note: when you eat carbs, your body produces insulin to deal with the increase in sugar/glucose in your bloodstream. When you minimize carbohydrate consumption, this can result in less insulin production, and your body can become more insulin sensitive, which has a host of health benefits.

Depending on how strict you are choosing to be with Keto, you’ll probably pick one of the following strategies:


  • Less than 50g of carbs
  • Less than 20g of net carbs
  • 5% of your total calorie intake


Which one is for you? We’ll get to that. Just know that everybody is a unique snowflake, and everybody will be different when it comes to entering ketosis and staying in ketosis.

There’s no hard and fast rule to which “Keto Diet” strategy you need to follow, but it helps to start with one to get the ball rolling.

In short, you’ll need to pick the one that puts you into ketosis, which requires you to pay attention, track your results, and act like a scientist.

When you’re in ketosis, this can lead to ramped-up weight loss for some, and increased physical potential, lower insulin levels, increased brain function, and other awesomeness for others.

Allow me to answer your next question.


2. WILL I LOSE WEIGHT ON THE KETO DIET? WHAT ARE THE OTHER BENEFITS OF KETO?

Great question.

The answer: Probably. 

One of the tenets of the Nerd Fitness Rebellion is “You can’t outrun your fork,” which means we believe nutrition is 80-90% of the “lose weight” battle. 

So let’s dig into how the Keto Diet factors in here. 

When your body is consistently in the process of breaking down fat into ketones, you enter ketosis. 

Imagine you have a pile of coal (stored fat) for the winter – when you shovel some of the pile into the furnace for heat (energy), your pile of coal gets smaller. In ketosis, YOU are getting smaller. 

There’s also another reason most people lose weight on the Keto Diet. 

Thermodynamics. 

When somebody eats a Keto Diet, they are nearly eliminating an entire macronutrient: carbohydrates. 

And what foods are primarily made up of carbohydrates? Bread. Pasta. Candy. Soda. Chips. Bagels. Fruit smoothies. These are calorically dense, nutritionally deficient foods that people tend to overeat. 

When you eliminate all of these bad foods in a restrictive diet like Keto, you’re going to consume fewer calories overall.

And when you burn more calories than you consume, day in day out, for weeks or months at a time, you’re likely to lose weight. 

This is why most calorie-restricted diets result in weight loss regardless of the composition of the food consumed. 

Note this ignores the concept of quality of food, muscle synthesis, body composition, etc. and JUST focuses on a smaller number on the scale. 

Anecdotally, once some people become keto-adapted, they feel satiated on fewer calories – which results in easier weight loss. 

And yes, the opposite is true: one can ALSO overeat on Keto in order to GAIN weight. So don’t expect to eat 6000 calories of butter, avocados, and bacon and lose weight. 

In addition to helping with weight loss, the Keto Diet has been used to treat epilepsy, help with Type II diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome , acne, potential improvement in neurological diseases (Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis), certain types of cancer, and reduces the risk factors in both respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Emerging studies are digging into its effects on Alzheimer’s and other conditions as well.



3. HOW DO I DO THE KETO DIET?

In my opinion, there are two reasons why somebody wants to go Keto, and that should dictate your level of dedication to the Keto cause:


  • If you are just trying to lose weight,it doesn’t really matter whether or not you’re actually in ketosis – provided you are consuming fewer calories on average compared to how you were eating before. This can be aided by minimizing carbs and upping your fat intake.
  • If you are treating this as an experiment and are tracking your ketosis compliance,then you need to be more diligent in your tracking and actually make sure you’re in ketosis.


I imagine most people fall into Group A, but we’ll cover both Group A and Group B moving forward – and tracking your results is the best way to make progress.

So let’s say you’re “going Keto.” This can be a few different things depending on your situation:


  • Tracking net carbs: 20 net grams per day or less
  • Tracking regular carbs: 50 grams per day or less
  • As a percentage: 5% of daily calories


Although people adjust their ratio of protein and fats, the hard and fast rule tends to be around the severely restricted consumption of carbohydrates.

Ruled.Me has a fantastic Ketogenic Macro Calculator that simplifies the heck out of this process, but I’ll also show you the math if you want to nerd out:


Ruled.Me has a fantastic Ketogenic Macro Calculator that simplifies the heck out of this process, but I’ll also show you the math if you want to nerd out:


#1: Determine your total calorie intake goal. Calculate your “basal metabolic rate” (how many calories you burn per day). I am 6’0″, 185 lbs, and my BMR is roughly 1814 calories. I am active, so I’m multiplying this number by 1.375 to get to my active daily calorie burn: 2814 – let’s make this an even 2800.

#2: Take 5% of that number for your total amount of carbs. Divide by 4 (there are 4 calories per gram of carbohydrate). Some people stick to a rule of “Less than 50 grams total” or “20 net carbs total.”

I have 140 calories for carbs, divided by 4, equals 35 grams of carbs. That’s a nice round number so we’ll stick to that.

#3: Next, calculate your protein requirements. If you are active, Target 0.8-1.2 g of protein per pound of weight. This is a simplified version of a complex calculation you can do, which is dependent on your lean body mass, how active you are, etc. If you have a lot of weight to lose, you’ll want to adjust this number down to more like 0.5-.6g per pound (consult the above calculator) You can multiply this by 4 to see how many calories total that would be.

I’ll again keep it simple and make it 180g for me. 180 x 4 = 720 cal. Which means so far I have used up roughly 860 calories of my 2800 calories, so I have 1940 calories remaining.

#4: What’s leftover? Fat! There are 9 calories per gram of fat. So divide your remaining calorie count by 9 to see how many grams of fat you should eat per day.

In my example, I have 1940 calories remaining, divided by 9, which means I need to consume 215g of fats per day. Yup. This is a lot of fat.

#5: Put it all together, write it down, start tracking your food, sucka! I’m sorry for calling you a sucka, I didn’t mean it. In my example, I’m looking at 215g of fat, 180g of protein, and 35g of carbs.

This should be a good STARTING point. You’ll need to adjust along the way based on how your body responds, but it can get you going.

Next, you’ll create a meal strategy of sorts – examples later in the article – that pick the foods in the previous section and combine them in a way that fits your particular strategy to enter ketosis.



And that means you gotta know your food!

For everything you eat, you want to know the following:


  • Number of calories
  • Grams of fat
  • Grams of protein
  • Grams of carbs
  • Grams of fiber


With carb intake requirements being very low, many ‘healthy’ foods would still be enough to knock you out of ketosis depending on how many of them you eat. Which means you need to be hyper-aware of your carb count.

Let’s quickly talk about the concept of “net carbs,” and why this is so important:

A vegetable that is 5 grams of carbs and has 3 grams of fiber will have a “net carb” total (subtract the fiber number from the carb number) would be 2.

Here are a few examples showing the ‘net carb’ effect:


  • Asparagus: 7g carbs, 4g fiber = 3g net carbs
  • Kale: 7.3g carbs, 2.6g fiber = 4.7g net carbs
  • Broccoli: 11g carbs, 5g fiber = 6g net carbs


WHY THIS IS IMPORTANT: Fiber is really good for your body, and oftentimes when somebody goes from eating hundreds of grams of carbs per day to less than 50g, they are eliminating a lot of high fiber foods they used to eat (bread, whole grains, etc.).

By consuming leafy greens like kale or veggies like broccoli, one can still get enough fiber and remain in ketosis.

Of course, no good healthy eating strategy goes unmarketed, why you’ll see plenty of “Keto-friendly” snacks that advertise “zero-net carbs” even though they have many grams of carbs in their nutritional breakdown – it’s countered by the fiber.

In addition, a lot of “high fiber” protein bars or “low carb snacks” often contain sugar or artificial sweeteners that could knock you out of ketosis.

Which means two things:


  • Consuming a pile of “Keto-friendly” processed snacks all day long could absolutely knock your body out of ketosis. Check the ingredients, and try to focus on eating REAL food.
  • If the occasional Keto snack keeps you from getting hangry (hungry plus angry) between meals, and keeps you from overeating during your regular meals – knocking you out of ketosis – then snacks are fine.