A diet that allows you all the bacon you want?

Could it be true?

The short answer: Yes.

But the ketogenic diet, or "keto" as it is commonly referred to, is a bit more complicated than that. And if you are one of the many Americans trying to lose weight, inevitably you have heard of the infamous diet that soared in popularity in 2018. However, keto emerged decades ago, as a potential cure for epilepsy.

Simply put, keto puts the participant into a metabolic state of “ketosis” through low-carb, high-fat intake. When ketosis happens, the body becomes very efficient at burning fat, resulting in rapid weight loss. The diet is supported by many doctors and has helped millions of people achieve their weight loss goals, or, at least, kickstart them.

The diet has been largely supported by celebrities such as Kim Kardashian, Tim Tebow, and Halle Barre. U.S. News and World Report ranked the keto diet second in best fast weight loss diets, and it has been proven effective in treating type 2 diabetes.

Alison Whitman, of Annapolis, Maryland, has lost a total of 42 pounds since beginning the keto diet in December 2017. She is now entering the “maintenance” phase of the program.

“I lost 10 pounds immediately. My head felt clearer, and I was mentally awake,” she said.

Whitman said she chose keto because “it was one of the ‘diets’ that seemed to match well with (her) food tastes.”

“I never liked fruit, and when I saw that it was off the list, I was happy!” she said.

But a diet that doesn’t allow bananas is the exact reason it has reached opposition at the same time it has helped so many people drop pounds.

“The keto diet may be the diet of the moment, but … isn’t a good idea for everyone,” said Laurin Carter, of Ellicott City, Maryland, a certified personal trainer through the American Council on Exercise and the National Association of Sports Medicine.

Instead, Carter encourages balanced meals instead of drastic food restrictions.

“Why not lower the amount of carbs, protein, and healthy fats through a natural system or lifestyle change?” she said. “(That) is much more maintainable and won’t … have you gain it all back after stopping the diet, per se.”

Carter cites muscle loss as one of the undesirable side effects of keto, stating that the combination of protein and carbohydrates after a workout is what helps to build muscle, not the elimination of essential nutrients.

Emily Brooks, of Elkridge, Maryland, is also a NASM-certified personal trainer in addition to a Precision Nutrition certified coach. She said keto essentially “starves the brain” since ”carbs are the only macronutrient that your brain uses to energy.” In addition, the high-fat, low-carb intake can also lead to fatty livers and is now shown to throw off a woman’s PH balance.

For every critique to keto, there seems to be a fact in its favor. So how do you know if keto is right for you?

Do your research. Peruse the food lists. Make sure it fits your lifestyle. Most importantly, talk to your doctor.

What are your thoughts? Have you tried the keto diet? What diet seems to work best for your body and lifestyle? Tell us about it in the comments!

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