“So you’re doing that new keto thing everyone’s doing?”
My mug from The Keto Box gets a lot of attention – almost as much as Morris the Manatea. While it doesn’t have quite as much name recognition as “Paleo,” people are starting to pick up on it and are genuinely curious.

Unfortunately, like most fitness and health topics, there is a lot of contradictory information floating around out there. So, here’s Superpowers’ quick Who-What-Why-Where-When-and-How on the Ketogenic Diet.

What is a Keto diet?

Simply put, Keto is a low-carbohydrate, moderate-protein, high-fat diet.

That means you really won’t be eating a lot of these:

Bread, which you will not be eating if you follow a ketogenic diet

  • Bread
  • Pasta
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Fruits (exception – berries)
  • Cereal
  • Oats
  • Beans
  • Low-fat dairy (yogurt, milk)
  • etc…

If you want to eat a ketogenic diet, that means you’re going to be eating a lot of these:

Avocados, which are delicious for a keto diet

  • Meat (chicken, beef, pork)
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Leafy Greens
  • Cruciferous Veggies
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Berries
  • Avocados & Coconut Oil
  • High Fat Dairy (cheese, butter, cream)
  • Low-carb Sweeteners (stevia, erythritol, etc…)

The general rule of thumb is to stick to 20 net grams of carbohydrates a day.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, hang on” — you might be saying. “I thought Superpowers Sold Separately was an anti-fad diet site, and cutting out whole food groups definitely smells like a fad diet to me!”
You aren’t wrong. I’m definitely against arbitrarily cutting out entire food groups.
Keyword: Arbitrarily.
There is a very specific method to the madness when it comes to Keto. Keep reading!

How Does A Ketogenic Diet Affect The Body?

VWORP VWORPLet’s take a quick TARDIS trip back to high school biology class. Maybe you remember hearing about adenosine triphosphate (or ATP) – without getting too technical about it, this organic chemical is found in all forms of life and is basically the Thing That Makes Your Body Go™.
Typically ATP is made from glucose (sugar) and fatty acids. When you cut carbs drastically, your body runs out of glucose and you need something else to continue to make ATP.


Enter ketone bodies. Ketone bodies are a series of molecules made by the liver as it breaks down body fat and consumed fatty acids, and they can be used to make ATP. This state of breaking down fats into ketone bodies is called ketosis.

Ketones. Ketosis. Ketogenic…? Get it?
By modifying the way you eat, you switch the way your body makes its energy.
Of course, some people will throw fad diet woo in here, talking about the “evils of insulin” and how it renders the calories in vs. calories out equation invalid, but that’s another story for another time.

Why would anyone do this to themselves?

The strictness of a ketogenic diet seems like a lot of trouble for something that still means you have to keep track of calories.  It might have you wondering why anyone would even start it in the first place.
  • When you’re eating carbohydrates, your body stores glycogen in the muscles. In order to store that glycogen, the body needs to store it with water. (It’s also why you might feel super bloated the day after a big pasta dinner!) That means, when you stop eating carbs, your body sheds all that extra water as well. Seeing one big drop at the very beginning can be highly motivating for a lot of people.
  • Fat, protein, and fiber are highly satiating foods, which mean feeling full. No one wants to be hungry when they are losing weight.
  • Without spikes in blood sugar and the subsequent crashes, people report feeling more energized and clear-headed throughout the day.
  • Others have reported an increase in their good cholesterol and an increased sensitivity to insulin which is important when it comes to warding off metabolic syndrome.

When Did this Keto Thing Start?

One of my first weight loss successes happened on the Atkins diet – because I was a gross kid who liked to eat olives with ranch dressing as a snack. Richard Atkins was inspired by a research paper from JAMA written in 1958. Nowadays the first “phase” of the Atkins diet suggests getting your daily net carbs to 19-20 net grams of carbs per day.

Sound familiar?

Atkins is also a corporation that makes money off of memberships and products and if they actually taught you a sustainable lifestyle they’d probably go out of business. The point is, Keto is not some new-fangled fad, but a scientifically backed switch of your primary source of energy.

Who Should Do Keto?

If you like the foods that are available to you, and do not mind getting creative with swaps and alternatives, then this might be a good option for you to try. Make sure you do some research on the keto flu before jumping in, there can be a period of sluggishness as your body adjusts to this new way of making energy.
Generally, keto is not recommended for people with kidney disease or people who are pregnant. With any diet and fitness regimen, check with your doctor to make sure you are doing what is best for your health.

Where Can I Get More Resources?

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What can the ketogenic diet do for you?

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