At 63 years old, Janet Colson says she’s lived through the various phases of the ketogenic diet, also known as the keto diet.
“I remember people carrying around their lists of the carb content of foods and trying to keep carbs below the 50-gram mark,” says Colson, a registered dietitian and nutrition professor at Middle Tennessee State University. “They also carried keto sticks to check their urine to see if the low carb diet was forcing the body to convert fat to ketone bodies and excrete in their urine.”
The keto diet is a low-carb, moderate-protein, high-fat diet that puts the body into a metabolic state known as ketosis. When the body is in this state, the liver produces ketones that become the body’s main energy source.
According to Colson, the diet was used in the early 1900s to treat epilepsy. “There was a resurgence of using the diet over the last few years,” she says.