Health & Wellness

What is a Ketogenic Diet?

Grant Peterson breaks down the diet of the moment in this excerpt from his counterintuitive book, Eat Bacon, Don’t Jog.

A Ketogenic Diet

Ketones are naturally occurring molecules that provide energy if and when your insulin levels drop to the point where glucose is not being provided to the cells. When your blood sugar drops and your insulin level follows, you are no longer able to supply glucose to your cells. You start to burn fat and produce ketones for energy. The three ketone bodies present in your blood when you’re in ketosis are acetone (like the solvent), acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate.

A ketogenic diet is a super low-carb diet that lowers your glucose level to the point at which your body effectively gives up on glucose and starts to burn fat and produce ketones as an alternative—and that means you are “in ketosis.” Burning ketones makes your body work for you as the efficient machine it was meant to be.

The Atkins, Paleo, or Primal Blueprint diets may be incidentally ketogenic, but intentionally ketogenic diets—whose main goal is to switch your fuel source to ketones—tend to have even more fat, less protein, and fewer carbs.

Beware of the claim that “Any diet will work if you stick to it.” That lie is based on the myth that losing weight is a matter of eating fewer calories than you burn up, and ignores the effects of insulin on fat storage and hunger. It would be convenient if there were dozens of diets that worked, so that you could find the one that allowed your favorite foods and snacks, and still win the fat war, but it doesn’t work that way. Diets that don’t limit carbs, yet require smaller portions and more exercise, are doomed to fail because they keep you hungry and make you store fat.

Effective diets will minimize your insulin, which will reduce your fat storage and make you get calories from your existing body fat, which will minimize hunger. Diets that do that may not be billed as ketogenic diets, but to some degree they probably are.

About the Book

Forget every assumption you might have about diet an exercise. In more that 100 short, compelling essays, Eat Bacon, Don’t Job shows why eating fat makes us thin, cardio makes us stressed and hungry, and not all calories are created equal—with the latest science to back it up.Buy the Book
Amazon | B&N | Indiebound | Workman

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