A Canadian study that polled people in 18 countries — not including the United States — found that those with low intake of saturated fat, who relied on low-fat diets, increased their chances of early death by 13 percent. Consuming high levels of all fats cut mortality by up to 23 percent, the study found.
It seems counterintuitive that consuming high-fat foods like bacon, eggs and steak could have more health benefits than avoiding them — in fact, some dietitians and nutritionists warn against the diet. But fans of the ketogenic diet say they have lost weight following such a regimen.
Even celebrities like LeBron James, Halle Berry, Tim Tebow and Kourtney Kardashian have publicly stated that they have followed the ketogenic plan, which includes a diet that is high in fat and low in carbohydrates.
A ketogenic diet focuses on consuming 80 percent of calories from fat, no more than 15 percent of calories from protein and only 5 percent from carbohydrate sources. For most people, that limits carbohydrate intake to 19 grams per day, or the equivalent of a medium-sized apple. To put that in perspective, the average American consumes 55 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat and 15 percent protein in a daily diet.
So how does eating higher fats produce weight-loss results? Simply put: The diet works by forcing the body to burn fats for energy, instead of relying on carbohydrates. This resetting of the body produces a glycogen-deprived state that triggers mild ketosis, or burning through fats for energy.
Since implementing a ketogenic diet 18 months ago, Becky Van Meter of Satellite Beach has lost 70 pounds.
An architect and mom of two, Van Meter said that she was originally drawn to the ketogenic concept because she could lose weight without a large time commitment for working out.
“I like that you can have weight loss success with little exercise and still eat delicious foods like bacon, cheese and full-fat salad dressings,” said Van Meter, 44. She did not add any additional fitness components to lose the weight — she just stuck strictly to the keto diet.
She says that the first two weeks were a tough adjustment for her body and that the sugar and carbohydrate cravings were strong. Once she got past the first 15 days or so, the habit of eating mainly protein kicked in and she felt better than she had in years.
“I feel like I have kicked my sugar addiction and don’t feel like food controls me. I also have more energy, mental clarity, less pain from an old back injury and am sleeping better than I have in years,” Van Meter said.