Low-carb diets might not be the new-new, but they still seem to be all the rage. The proof is in the trendiest diet since Paleo—the ketogenic diet—which is actually nothing new at all. In fact, this diet has arguably been around for as early as B. Russell Wilder discovered it to be highly effective in treating epilepsy. So what is this high-fat and low-carb diet really all about? The ketogenic diet actually gets its name from ketosis, a metabolic process that occurs when the body is lacking glucose to the point where it can no longer break it down for use as an energy source. In response, the body adopts an alternative means of acquiring energy, turning to stored fats instead. This process creates a buildup of acids known as ketones, which replace carbohydrates as your main energy source.
The original Ketogenic Therapy, known as the classic Ketogenic Diet, or classic Keto for short, was designed in by Dr. Russell Wilder at the Mayo Clinic for the treatment of epilepsy. Classic Keto carries a ratio, which means that there are four parts fat for every one part protein and carb. The main difference between the five types of Ketogenic Diets is this macronutrient ratio. All Ketogenic Diets are high in fat, adequate in protein and low in carbohydrates. This combination changes the way energy is used in the body, converting fat into fatty acids and ketones in the liver. When there is an elevated level of ketones in the blood, one is in a state of ketosis, which has a variety of therapeutic benefits for the sick and healthy alike. In addition to the macronutrient ratio, the frequency of eating can influence ketosis. More specifically, a practice called intermittent fasting, which reduces the window of time a person eats throughout the day, can help in obtaining and sustaining ketosis. When the eating window is shortened, the body is forced to access energy from its own fat stores rather than calories directly from the diet.
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