NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- When you think about the right foods for a typical diet, bacon, butter and pork rinds probably don't come to mind.
But, on the ketogenic diet, they’re OK.
What may also surprise you is what’s not allowed on this diet are things like milk, juice, and even fruit.
Nutritional Consultant Shaye Arluk explained the uniqueness of the ketogenic, or ‘keto’, diet.
“[It’s] a diet that is based on high fats, moderate protein, and low carbs, whereas the typical American diet is high carbs, moderate proteins, and low in fat,” said Arluk.
And although it continues to grow in popularity, Arluk said the keto diet is nothing new.
“The ketogenic diet has actually been around since the 1900's. It was originally created for children with epilepsy,” said Arluk.
Here’s how it works.
When you eat something high in carbs, your body produces and uses glucose as energy, and stores fat. When you lower your carb intake, the body produces ketones from the breakdown of fats in the liver and will begin to burn them as energy. This natural process is called ketosis, and the goal of the keto diet is to force your body into this metabolic state.
“The ketogenic diet has seventy percent of your calories coming from fat, whereas the American Heart Association recommends that less than thirty percent of your calories come from fat," Arluk explained.
So then, here's a burning question- wouldn't a high-fat diet pose a greater risk for health concerns, like heart attacks?
“That is originally what the medical community thought,” Arluk said. “In the healthy individual, they have not seen that recently as an outcome in their studies.”
However, the key with keto is to strike a good balance. Monitor the number of fatty substances in your blood. Know what type of fat you're eating; don’t just eat lots of animal fat. Balance it with ‘good’ fats like avocados, nuts, and coconut oil. And, as with any diet, it doesn't work alone.
“You definitely wanna supplement your sodium and potassium,” said Arluk. “Magnesium has definitely been shown to be a mineral that has to be supplemented... And you can get calcium from some of your green leafy vegetables, but you wanna make sure that you're getting enough or you do need to supplement that too.”