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what is the keto diet

What Is the Keto Diet and Is It Right for You?

Learn what it’s like to follow one of the most popular diets around and discover if its benefits make it worth trying for your weight loss and health goals.

The Keto, or Ketogenic, diet has become one of the most popular diets for weight loss.

It’s a low-carb diet that naturally cuts out the highly processed foods that contribute to weight gain.

The origin of the Keto diet is actually unrelated to weight loss. It was originally recommended to mimic the effects of fasting and to help treat epilepsy in the 1920’s. It fell out of practice for epilepsy treatments after effective drug therapy was developed. 

But in more recent years, it’s been the center of interest for maintaining a healthy diet, improving metabolism, and achieving weight loss goals.

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. “Extreme” in the sense that it requires you to cut out a lot of foods to successfully adhere to it and see desired results. And being one of the more extreme diets, it can be hard to maintain

But those who do stick to the Keto diet experience meaningful health benefits and weight loss.

So let’s explore—what’s the Keto diet and is it right for you?

What kinds of foods do you eat on the Keto diet?

A low-carb diet cuts out a lot of staple foods in the American diet.

To follow the Keto diet, you have to avoid:

  • Anything with added sugar like soft drinks, juices, and candy
  • Grains like wheat, rice, cereal, bread, and pasta
  • Starchy fruits and vegetables like apples and potatoes
  • Dairy that’s high in sugar, like ice cream and some yogurts (a low sugar greek yogurt or skyr is allowed)

Instead, the Keto diet is made up of foods like:

  • Vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, kale, eggplant
  • Meats like eggs, fish, chicken, pork, and steak — and there’s a big emphasis on choosing grass-fed when possible
  • Dairy products like cheese, butter, and low-sugar, plain greek yogurt
  • Nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Oils like olive oil, coconut oil, and fish oil
  • Fruits like raspberries, grapes, and strawberries 

The high-protein and high-fat foods are great to stay full longer. But without the usual carbs as fuel, your body has to adjust. That adjustment is called Ketosis.

The Keto diet is all about getting your body to a state called “ketosis”

The name of the Keto diet actually comes from the state your body enters once you’ve adjusted to the low-carb lifestyle.

That state is called Ketosis and it occurs when the “ketones” in your body are elevated. 

Ketones are produced in your liver and help fuel your body in the absence of carbohydrates.

Carbohydrates are the usual source of immediate energy for your cells. But without them, your body uses fat to provide energy. This process involves breaking down fat and releasing ketones into your bloodstream.

Getting to this state is critical for making the keto diet a sustainable option.

Weight Loss Benefits of Keto Diet

One of the best benefits of the Keto diet is that it helps you achieve weight loss goals.

The reason it works so well is that it helps you stay in a caloric deficit by focusing on high-satiety foods in your diet. It also prevents binging on those low-satiety, but extremely high-calorie foods like chips, sweets, and soda that make it easy to exceed your ideal calorie intake each day.

By eating high-protein foods you stay full longer and curb your appetite. So most people on the diet are naturally in a caloric deficit each day.

It’s also especially useful for faster weight loss. Some studies have found that when compared to other diets, the Keto diet can prompt more weight loss in the first 6 months on the diet. But by reaching the year mark, the overall results even out. So while you won’t ultimately lose more on that diet than any other, you may lose much of the weight faster for a period of time.

Challenges and support on the Keto diet

The Keto diet isn’t an easy one to adjust to. So there are a few things to keep in mind when you start the diet so you can create a plan that helps you stick with it and reap the benefits.

Keto Flu

On the Keto diet, you’re restricted to 50 grams of carbs each day. Consuming so few carbs every day shocks your body and you go through an adjustment period.

And that adjustment time is called the “Keto flu”.

Because unfortunately, a mild flu is exactly what it feels like with symptoms like fatigue, nausea, dizziness, and headaches.

The Keto flu is the biggest hurdle to overcome when starting the diet. But most people get over the Keto flu symptoms in one or two weeks.

Additional supplements

The Keto diet is one of the more extreme diets out there. It requires you to cut out a lot of foods you’re likely used to eating and enjoy. So to make it work, there are supplements and other options for support to make sticking to the diet easier in the beginning. Especially when you haven’t yet reached the state of Ketosis.

Some supplements can help initially with reducing carb cravings–because that’s one of the hardest things to overcome. One supplement that reduces carb cravings is CarbCrave Complex. It helps to reduce cravings for sweets and carbs that you have to give up on the Keto diet.

There’s also the 7-Keto Lean supplement that makes it easier to lose weight with the Keto diet.  The supplement helps improve metabolism, promotes weight loss, and helps you get the best results from your Keto diet.

But both should only be taken exactly as recommended by a doctor.

Get the right guidance to make Keto work for you

When the Keto diet is an option for your weight loss goals, it helps to have the right guidance so you get the right plan that’s responsive to your body.

The diet may be right for you if you want to quickly drop weight and are able to overcome the first two weeks of carb cravings. It may also be great for you if you want to improve your heart health and manage your insulin levels.

But when deciding on any diet, it’s best to talk with a professional to get the best results.

That’s why our specialists help you create the right plan that includes meals, exercise, and supplements. Because we know that when you have support on your diet, you’re more likely to stick with it and see results.

Reach out to your closest Valley Medical Weight Loss location to connect with a specialist and start your weight loss journey today.


  1. JW;, Wheless. “History of the Ketogenic Diet.” Epilepsia, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19049574/.
  2. McClernon FJ;Yancy WS;Eberstein JA;Atkins RC;Westman EC; “The Effects of a Low-Carbohydrate Ketogenic Diet and a Low-Fat Diet on Mood, Hunger, and Other Self-Reported Symptoms.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17228046/.
  3. Foster GD;Wyatt HR;Hill JO;McGuckin BG;Brill C;Mohammed BS;Szapary PO;Rader DJ;Edman JS;Klein S; “A Randomized Trial of a Low-Carbohydrate Diet for Obesity.” The New England Journal of Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12761365/
Keto Diet

The Ketogenic Diet: Is it Right for You?

The ketogenic diet is all the rage right now. If you search #keto on Instagram, you’ll be rewarded with more than 8 million posts, showcasing everything from weight loss transformations to high-fat meals to supplements, like 7-Keto Lean.

But while this diet is gaining lots of popularity and momentum, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the right diet for you. Now we’re not here to tell you what’s right or wrong. We’re actually big fans of figuring out the diet that works best for you with a little trial and error. We just want to arm you with all of the information you need to make an educated decision about the ketogenic diet.

Ketogenic Diet Basics

Put simply, the ketogenic diet is a very high fat, very low carbohydrate diet that also allows a moderate intake of protein.

Dr. Russell Wilder, a medical doctor at the Mayo Clinic, developed the ketogenic diet in 1924. He developed it as a treatment for seizures in epileptic patients who weren’t responding well to medications. Despite the diet’s success, it took a backseat to anti-seizure medications during the 1940s.

The Science Behind the Ketogenic Diet

Normally, when your body needs energy, it turns to glucose, a simple sugar that you get from the carbohydrates you eat. Although carbohydrates are your body’s preferred energy source, you can only store limited amounts of the simple sugar. In fact, the Epilepsy Foundation says that the stores of glucose in your liver run out in about 24 hours. If you don’t give your body more carbohydrates within this 24-hour time frame, your body turns to fat for energy.

The idea behind the ketogenic diet is to force your body into using this fat-burning process by drastically reducing the amount of carbohydrates you eat and getting the majority of your calories from fat.

The Details

The ketogenic diet consists primarily of foods that are high in fat, but also allows a moderate amount of protein. Although the best macronutrient ratio depends on you as an individual (and you’ll have to play around with it a little bit to figure out your sweet spot) fat generally supplies 70 to 90 percent of calories. High-fat foods allowed on the diet include butter, mayonnaise, avocado, heavy cream and oils, such as coconut and olive oil. Most of the remaining calories, or around 10 to 30 percent, come from protein.  The major protein sources include eggs, cheese, meat, fish, and poultry. Low-carbohydrate vegetables, like spinach, kale, and zucchini are also encouraged.

Optimizing Nutrition

Because the ketogenic diet restricts so many foods, the best way to ensure that you’re getting all the vitamins and minerals you need is to eat a wide variety of low-carbohydrate foods. Instead of eating the same meal of chicken and spinach every day, try to eat as many different foods as you can. Experiment with new types of vegetables and recipes.

Are you considering the ketogenic diet? Have you already tried it? What has your experience been? We want to know!


The Carbohydrate Manifesto: Are Carbohydrates Good For You?

In the 1990s, fat was the black sheep of the nutrition family. Once the early 2000s rolled around, fat was given some slack (although not too much) and the blame for all things evil was put on carbohydrates. Everyone jumped on the low-carbohydrate diet bandwagon and began to see some weight loss results, but along with these results also came a lot of lasting misunderstandings. Well we’re here to clear up those misconceptions and get down to the nitty gritty of what carbohydrates are and whether they should have a place in your diet.

What Exactly are Carbohydrates?

When people hear the word carbohydrates, they automatically have visions of bagels, muffins, and buttery toast dancing in their heads, but that’s not the full story. While it’s true that those foods contain a lot of carbohydrates, they’re not the only ones. Carbohydrates are also found in healthier options like fruits, vegetables, and dairy products. The term “carbohydrate” can actually encompass everything from refined sugar to applesauce to carrots.

Carbohydrates are one of three macronutrients that supply you with calories. On a chemical level, a carbohydrate is a unit of sugar. It can be a single sugar – called a monosaccharide; a double sugar – called a disaccharide; or a string of a bunch of sugars linked together – called a polysaccharide.

What Do Carbohydrates Do For You?

The major function of carbohydrates in the body is to provide you with energy. While it’s true that you can get energy from the other macronutrients – protein and fat – your brain and your muscles prefer to run on the glucose they get from carbohydrates.

Should You Eat Carbohydrates?

The short answer to this is yes. Carbohydrates are not the enemy. It’s the foods that seem to be the highest in carbohydrates that tend to contribute to weight gain; and that’s why carbohydrates themselves get a bad rap. What you want to do is avoid foods that pack a huge carbohydrate load without offering much else in terms of nutrition – like the aforementioned bagels, crackers, cookies, muffins, toast, and croissants.

Good Carbs Versus Bad Carbs

We don’t really like to assign foods into a “good carb” or “bad carb” category because a food is not just a carbohydrate. What you need to do is pay attention to the package you’re getting. Is your food full of carbohydrates and sugar, but contains little vitamins and minerals? Skip it. Is your food full of carbohydrates, like fiber, but also packs a wallop in the nutrition department – offering essential vitamins, minerals, and enzymes (like an apple, for instance)? Enjoy.

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods to Eat:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Low-Fat Dairy Products
  • Whole grains, like oats and 100% whole wheat bread

Carbohydrate-Rich Foods to Avoid:

  • Desserts
  • Sugar (soda)
  • Refined grains like white bread (bagels and muffins fall into this category), white rice, and white pasta