The ketogenic diet, explained

It’s official. The low carb diet craze is over. Hello New Year. Okay omniscient voice on TV, calm down. It seems every couple of years or so, there’s
a new diet to try. South Beach was popular during the early 2000s,
then paleo took over towards the late 2000s. But around April 2017 you can see in this
Google Trend graph, a new diet surpassing it. Celebrities like Halle Berry and Kourtney
Kardashian are going nuts for this diet. Keto devotees claim that if you banish carbs
and eat lots of fat, your body will start to actually burn fat and you’ll lose weight
and even reduce your hunger in the process. But what’s lost in this keto chaos: there’s
no evidence that keto diets work better than any other diets for most people hoping to
slim down. Although keto may be the latest in fad diets,
it’s had promising results elsewhere. It was used since the 1920s to treat epilepsy. Outcomes from this 2018 study showed its potential
in treating subjects with type-2 diabetes. As a diet for weight loss, it’s been around
for a while. Keto’s most recognizable form is from the
’60s: the Atkins Nutritional Approach, pushed by the late doctor Robert Atkins. RIP homie. The theory behind this diet, the insulin carbohydrate
hypothesis, suggests that people start to burn more calories more quickly and burn off
more fat. And several high quality studies have debunked
these extra fat and calorie burning claims. So exactly what foods can people eat on keto? People are supposed to get 5% of their calories
from carbs, about 15% from protein, and 80% from fat. That means staying away from things like bread,
grains, rice, you know, cereals, chips. You’re definitely not going to be eating chips. And eating lots of fish, meat, eggs, don’t
throw the bacon at me! Bacon, things like this. The goal is to get your body into a state
of ketosis. So basically our bodies are fueled primarily
by glucose, which we get from carbohydrates. But when you eliminate carbs and you start
to eat lots of fat, instead of burning glucose for fuel, your body starts to burn fat. To get into ketosis you need to eat less than
50 grams of carbs, or two slices of bread, per day. And of course eat a lot of fat. Sounds simple, right? Basically eat no carbs and the weight
will come right off. And low carb diets like keto can sometimes
give people the impression in the short term, they’ve lost fat. When in reality it’s rapid water weight-loss. Plus the more extreme a diet, the less likely
a person is to stay on track. The average person can’t stick with the keto
diet for even six months. It’s especially challenging in a world with
temptations of easy, over-processed, and high calorie foods at every corner. When you stack very low carb diets like Atkins
or keto against other types of diets, in the long run people lose about the same amount
of weight as they would on any diet. There are always outliers, there are always
people who do really really well and it’s possible you may be one of those people, who
really benefits from a ketogenic diet. But on average, they don’t work for most people. There’s some hard truths about losing weight
and keeping it off. It’s really difficult. It takes a long time. And while keto may work wonders for some,
like people with diabetes, the best diet overall is probably one you can stick with.

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Reader Comments

  1. Vox

    The ketogenic diet is backed by good science. But findings support it as a treatment for epilepsy, not losing weight.

    Read our full explainer breaking down the research on

  2. Ty

    My mom is healthy looking. She's had cancer, a stroke, a heart attack, kidney failure, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and congestive heart disease. All by the age of 50. She's never even been over 120lbs. She is 64 but looks 45. But she LOOKS healthy. Wait until I tell her she can go off all her meds and go back to eating all of the crap that led to her illnesses and even give health advice; just because she looks healthy and has never been fat. All those doctors are, wrong, if you are not fat and never have been then you totally don't have to eat healthier; your blood fat and LDL are lies. LIES.

  3. Around the World in 480 lbs

    First of all you shouldn't take advice from someone weighing in at over 200 lbs (sorry not sorry). This lady has no idea what she's talking about. You can perform studies that show a calorie controlled diet (the only scientifically infallible diet) is ineffective amongst some people. All people are different. The Atkin's diet and other successful diets have caught on because they work on more than 20% of the population.Truth be told diets are not a 1 size fits all process. You can not just shop for a diet like you do clothes (off the peg). Your metabolic type, you genetic makeup, your lifestyle all play a part in how effective your efforts are in losing and keeping weight off. The truth is nobody sticks to diet's, this is why they work for a period of time and then people quite. Being healthy is all in the mind. If you have a healthy mindset, you will make healthy choices, regularly. If you make healthy choices regularly you will form good habits. Your good habits over time form a healthy lifestyle and the net result is a healthy (not just reduced weight) version of you.

    There are MANY MANY scientifically conducted, peer reviewed studies (Thomas DeLauer, Dominic D'Agostino PHD and Dr. Rhonda Patrick just to name a few) have proven the health benefits of ketosis (for example reversing the effects of early onset diabetes, stem cell regeneration, immune benefits and yes reduced fatty deposit size).

    Ketosis does reduce the water in fat cells this is correct, however, after that occurs the fat cells are small enough to enter the bloodstream and enter the liver where they can be converted into ketones (and used as fuels).

    Both fasting and high fat low carb diets produce ketones. This can help with cognitive performance and is one hell of an energy boast.

    Always assess your results and consult a health professional if you get unwanted results. This diet (like all diets) is not a one size fits all and may not be right for you. But the science is clear, for the people it works for it REALLY works, for the people it doesn't work for it's dangerous.

    That said you certainly shouldn't enter into ketosis if you have type one diabetes or your metabolic type prevents you from absorbing calories from fats.

  4. TheCaptainLulz

    Its just more stupid. Its simple math, the ONLY way to lose weight is to consume less calories than you burn. Conservation of energy, and its a LAW. High protein diets work only because lean protein has fairly low calories and keeps you digesting for hours, meaning you arent hungry. Atkins and keto work that way, and dont work for the morons like those that did atkins by buying hamburgers and throwing out the bun, they where still consuming more calories than they burned, with the added cost of heart disease. There is technically one other way that can work, but it can be suicidal, DiNitroPhenol or DNP. DNP sharply increases metabolism burning WAY more calories, but increases body heat to dangerous or deadly levels in the process, which is why it was banned soon after it came out.

  5. Kirla

    Please note the very important fact that a high-fat-low-carb diet is not the same that a ketogenic diet. An Atkins diet, for example, is a high-fat-low-carb diet but is not ketogenic, as protein consumption is too high. High-fat-low-carb diets are very sustainable and still beneficial even if they are not ketogenic, but you should totally avoid refined grains (like bread), sugars, and seed oils, and choose veggies as carb sources. This video was kinda misleading in that sense.

  6. Kirla

    There's no evidence that high-fat-low-carb diets work for wight loss? Oh look, there actually is, and plenty…

  7. Abdulmoiz Ayyaz

    This video …Facepalm . The only reason why we store fat on our body is because sometimes in the times of early man , Walmart or superstores we’re not an option so sometimes ppl would go days or even weeks without any food ,including carbs , so as a way of preventing your death by starvation of fuel from carbs , we metabolise ketones from our fat stores in order to stay alive and in the process you lose fat weight , more than if you were to go on a carb diet , because your body is starved of glucose , there’s less insulin and u burn fat rather than glucose , all the fads brought into everyone’s minds about fat free is the way is rubbish because really all the food would be loaded with sugar which would then make want to eat more later.
    If u ate a spoonful of butter ( which is not conventional or advised ,just an example) whereas u eat a spoonful of sugar , you would be more satiated with butter and with sugar ,you’d want to eat more , that’s how addictive sugar is and why there are so many ppl getting obese

  8. Cdn Redneck

    a diet is just what you eat on a daily bases. so by saying just do one you can stick with would be the american diet of burger king and mcdonalds

  9. Siriwong Gaiv

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  10. woss

    1:34 they argue that there is no evidence that keto works for weight loss, then to back that up, show a paper with a highlighted sentence:

    "evidence from RCT's [Randomised Controlled Trials] does not support low-fat diets over other dietary interventions." (emphasis mine)

    What does this have to do with keto? Keto is specifically NOT a low-fat diet. I decided to look this paper up, just in case the paper did actually say something like 'low-fat ain't helping, but keto sucks too, so forget about it.'

    The title of the paper is: "Effect of low-fat diet interventions versus other diet interventions on long-term weight change in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis" You can find it on the ncbi database.

    Interestingly the paper lists its findings as:

    "In weight loss trials, low-carbohydrate interventions led to significantly greater weight loss than did low-fat interventions … Low-fat interventions did not lead to differences in weight change compared with other higher-fat weight loss interventions … In weight loss trials, higher-fat weight loss interventions led to significantly greater weight loss than low-fat interventions when groups differed by more than 5% of calories obtained from fat at follow-up"

    Seems like an odd paper to quote as evidence AGAINST the effectiveness of a high-fat low-carb approach…

    I agree overall though. The best diet is the one you can stick to. Personally, I've tried to lose my little muffin top a few times now. I'm definitely not saying keto is the best or the only approach at all, but a few months on keto (mixed with IF) and I managed to get back to my weight from 15 years ago, without any calorie counting, feelings of deprivation or hardship, and with zero exercise (I'm a lazy fk… hence the muffin top). I tried IF on its own a while back but didn't stick to it. Tried calorie restriction. Tried slow carb. Tried exercise (lazy fk). Massive fails. Keto… not so bad. Generally just eating no sugar or refined carbs, but getting plenty of meat and non-starchy veg… meh, worked for me. A lot of people complain that it's too restrictive, but there are loads of channels that have some damn good keto recipes. Once you figure out what you can eat, you'll probably find you enjoy it and it keeps you satiated for longer. Plus, who the hell doesn't like cheese and bacon?

  11. David Macdonald

    This is a diet. Hell no.

    Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle.
    Combined with exercising, hydration, good night's sleep and eating as well as you can, because we all indulge sometimes and that's fine.
    It's all you need and it is awesome!
    Gut health y'all!

    Do a special on that VOX🍻

  12. Berlinda Armijo

    I lost count on how "many" diets their is today😔I eat moderately each day-my regular food that ive been eating for 60 years…I exercise 30 mins every other day. I weight 135 pounds. Just Eat moderately, and exercise 3-4 times per week and you will feel great too. Weather we eat healthy or not we "all" will die at one point. Ive even heard of healthy people that have died-heart attack😞so why deprive yourself from the food you love just watch how much you eat each meal.

  13. Berlinda Armijo

    Forgot to add: I have no physical illnesses, and i take no medications. Dr says every 6 months im doing great. That's good news…I will keep following what I have been doing for 60 years.

  14. joe Archambeau

    Whoa… did anybody else see that a subliminal of a pack of Lucky Strikes at about I think 13 seconds just after the girl starts talking lower right-hand side what was that all about

  15. Misslisasolutions

    Well too much meat gives you GOUT and it is painful.. Happened to me and I detoxed thankfully I got rid of the gout. Fat turns into uric acid if it is too much per meal.

  16. Luigi 24

    With a whole food plant based diet you don’t have to restrict. You don’t have enough room in your stomach to eat more and gain weight.

  17. winterhell

    Just because 'the temptations are everywhere' doesn't mean Keto doesn't work. Even one cheat meal will throw you out of ketosis. You just stick to it and thats all.

  18. Golf and Ball Torture

    i go on keto for a few weeks every few months and it works great for me. test strips help you monitor it and going deeper and deeper into ketosis keeps me going.

  19. Princess Lehia

    this is a load of bolony. talk to dr. robert lustig and stephen phinney, then make a proper video. enjoy being a lair and fat otherwise

  20. Elle

    Adkins is not keto. Keto is specific about moderate protein intake. Also everyone’s different… some people can be in Keto with 100 net carbs. So much misinformation in this video about Keto

  21. Seedzification

    "The best diet is the one you can stick with"
    Well guess what keto is the easiest for that. you eliminate cravings. Oh and restrictive???? did you even open instagram for keto or just checkout youtube? there is thousands of keto recipes out there to keep you interested. Lost 13kg in 5weeks, probably half of that is water, but I feel so good, I'll play the long game easy.

  22. Keat Perkins

    I have Type 2, and I know this diet is suppose to help, and it does!! The only problem is how restrictive it is. So many good and healthy foods are removed from your diet.

  23. Potter Johanson

    I was so skeptic about this diet as i loved pizza and my daily frappe, but i began this diet for 4 weeks and i lost 5kg, i know, water lose is partially in the weight loss, but i also stopped craving for sweet and midnight snack! Work like a charm!

  24. Banehogg

    "Keto doesn't work" because many people who claim to try it don't actually follow through with it? Okay, got you. Meanwhile, in the real world, keto indisputably works great. Sure, the first 5 pounds you lose is water, but the next 50 aren't! Your video should be called "the ketogenic diet, not explained".

  25. The Wandering Mariner

    If you follow Keto correctly, it will help with blood sugar regulation, (triglycerides), mental fog, arthritic inflammation, adrenal fatigue as well as assist with your sleep rhythm. If you want to have a drink every now and then or have a "cheat day", don't even try. I have been doing keto for three years and see most of the people that have success, are being told to make changes to your life or you will continue to suffer with these health issues. Which was my motivation. You are right…. If you are not dedicated…. I mean truly dedicated about changing you way of eating, this diet isn't for you most likely.

  26. Manman3872

    “It’s just rapid water weight loss”
    That’s just wrong. The first week you lose ~10 pounds of water weight.
    That’s the extent of it. After that you’re losing fat. I’m pretty sure everyone who’s researched keto knows about the water weight. No one is getting “false impressions”

  27. no body

    I did a diet that is kinda like this, but the difference is the diet I did didn’t allow any products with milk. I did it for 8 months. I lost 20 lbs. I really liked it because unlike other diets you are never hungry, and also I love meat so this diet was super easy for me.

  28. SevenDeMagnus

    Hi. What a sad life, when you use diets. Just eat more veggies, less junk food, less junk drinks, less meat.

    God bless, Proverbs 31

  29. Evan Harris

    Lost 27lbs in 3 1/2 weeks on keto. If you just cut out sugar, carbs (bread, pasta, etc.), drink water, and eat clean you’ll do fine.

  30. New Notification

    Something they don't mention is that if you are very fat keto will not be ideal for you as you will be required to have a diet plan to sustain you long-term. Keto data suggest it is not ideal for long-term. If you are at 25 percent body fat keto diet is ideal for you a few months before summer if you want it get jacked. Keto not ideal for fat people doesnt mean it cant work for fat people I'm I'm saying keto WILL work for anyone that has the discipline to stick to it and an exercise plan.

  31. Maria Paula Montes

    People shouldn't eat carbs and sugars…. call it Keto, Atkins, Paleo, etc… Carbs and sugars make people fat and increase the chances of diabetes and other chronic diseases that is a fact!

  32. BirdDog Duke

    Bullshit! I've lost damn near ten pounds this past two weeks and I feel freaking awesome. Keto works WONDERS for MANY MANY people, the research is there, and I have enough education to discern what is legit scientific confirmation and what isn't. Keto is 100% legit, the physiological response is practically immediate.

  33. Sky Rasmus

    Telling people to eat bacon? Are they insane? It's incredibly high in sodium and BAD fat.

    Just eat in moderation. Eat real food. Whole plants, fresh LOCAL meat (in moderate amounts) fruits, and whole never bleached grains. Get some cardio exercise everyday if you can.

    No need to overthink it. If someone really wants to go the extra mile with dieting, maybe go to a nutritionist and have them look at your DNA to see what you might need to focus on.

  34. Lemonz1989

    The best diet to be on is one that you can stick with? Well… I can stick with a high carb junk food diet, but it doesn't mean it's the best diet.
    Keto on its own doesn't cause real weight loss, but when you go into a state of ketosis, the brain stops screaming for food whenever your blood sugar drops a bit. It's a perfectly natural response for the brain, because it's trying to preserve itself. It takes time to go into full on ketosis, so the brain thinks it's about to starve when there aren't enough ketones to pick up the slack if there is a drop in circulating glucose. This helps in controlling hunger and stop you from binging whenever your brain starts acting up. It makes your blood sugar almost flatline throughout the day, because circulating insulin levels drop, and the body produces the glucose it needs from other molecules. In the case of type 2 diabetes it's essentially "cures" the disease and in type 1 diabetics, the needed amount of insulin injected drops a lot, and it makes your blood sugar much less volatile. It seems counterintuitive but it also reduces the amount of low blood sugar, even though you eat almost no sugar. That is because your body's primary fuel source isn't glucose anymore, but ketones.

  35. HYP3RCH1LL

    So your saying that because it’s difficult to stick with, its a fad diet? And so we should stick to something easier? Look where that line of thinking has gotten America. Would you tell a drug addicted person the same thing? Because what we are really talking about is food addiction.

  36. Paul Casson

    Very poorly researched and presented video. Are you even aware of the 2016 Nobel prize being given for the research and findings regarding AUTOPHAGY. I expected more from you VOX. Shame on you.

  37. Sofia Cookiemonster

    A keto diet is primarily a vegetable based diet

    yes you do eat fish and meat but its not JUST BACON and dairy thats just wrong and unhealthy..

    obviously its not since there are a lot of people that are Vegan Keto …

  38. knife3

    “No evidence that keto diet works”?! Where are you getting your info from? This has to be the one and the only useless video of Vox. Very off-brand. Was expecting much more.

  39. Diane Gelsthorpe

    I got this phone number +442038087366 to get a RMA to send my keto back .all it says is un recognised so how do I send them back.

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