Keto 101– What is Keto? Low Carb, Ketogenic Diet & Ketosis For Beginners – Mind Over MunchRandall Smitham July 21, 2019 100 Comments
Wait! I said you’re the GOOD kind of
Welcome to the channel, I’m Alyssia,
and today I’m going to cover a topic I have
had a LOT of requests for:
keto, or a ketogenic diet.
And this is going to be an educational, objective,
explaining what a ketogenic diet is, how ketosis
how it’s different from other diets, and
to whom it might apply.
As always I have to give my annoying disclaimers.
I want it to be clear that I am not saying
a ketogenic diet is “right” or “wrong”
for you, me, or anyone else.
What is keto?
Simply put, a ketogenic diet is a diet that’s
low in carbohydrates,
moderate in protein, and high in dietary fat.
Originally, in the 1920s, a ketogenic diet
was designed for patients with epilepsy
to help reduce their seizures.
The keto diet also tended to have positive
effects on those patients’ body fat,
blood sugar, cholesterol, and hunger levels.
It has not been studied widely in terms of
which is one of my main hesitations with sharing
it on the channel.
But, after doing my own research,
I do believe that what I’ve learned is worth
sharing because it’s pretty fascinating.
As you can probably tell by the length of
there is a lot of information so please bear
And, if you really do want to learn about
the diet, watch the whole video
because I don’t want to answer a question
in the comments
that I’ve already answered in the video.
To understand the keto diet, we’ve got to
start from the beginning:
calories and macros.
Calories are energy.
It’s important to recognize that weight
gain and weight loss are complicated.
“Calories in and calories out” is too
simple and not accurate enough.
Exercise is important for a healthy lifestyle,
but it has minimal impact in terms of weight
while it does of course provide other health
Burning 300 calories in a workout doesn’t
equate to burning off a cupcake.
Nutrition is going to be about 90% responsible
for changes in our bodies
in terms of weight.
And, different types of foods metabolize differently
in the body.
There are MANY variables.
That’s why eating 2000 calories of fruit
is not the same thing as eating 2000 calories
Macronutrients consist of protein, carbohydrates,
ALL calories come from these sources, with
alcohol as the exception.
Your total calories for the day,
no matter how many you eat and what diet you
follow, equal 100%.
Each of those macronutrients becomes a percentage
of your daily pie,
and the ratio will often change based on the
You cannot have 100% of calories come from
that would be 300%. And because math exists,
that just isn’t possible.
You CAN have an EQUAL number of calories from
BUT fat contains MORE calories per gram than
protein or carbs,
so the percentage would be different in that
A popular diet you may have heard of on YouTube
is a High Carb, Low Fat diet,
That means 80% of calories come from carbs,
10% from fat, and 10% from protein.
Competitive bodybuilders often build muscle
with a diet that’s higher in carbs
and lower in fat with moderate protein,
and then, closer to their competition when
they need to lean out,
protein becomes the biggest macronutrient
in their diet, followed by fat and carbs.
A ketogenic diet, on the other hand, consists
of a diet that is around 70% fat,
a moderate amount of protein, and very little
only 5% to 10%, depending on the person’s
Now, it’s not a strict ratio, because it
will vary from person to person.
We all have a different carbohydrate tolerance
and our insulin resistance levels are different,
which means one person on a keto diet may
be able to eat more carbs
than another person on a keto diet, but still
be in what’s called “nutritional ketosis.”
More on that in a moment.
Now, I realize that this may sound very different
from what most of us have been taught about
When I first heard about a keto diet and this
high-fat ratio, I was skeptical.
I had always been taught that you don’t
want to eat a lot of fat!
But a keto diet functions differently than
some other common diets,
such as a diet higher in carbs with less fat
that we are typically told is “healthy.”
It’s important to recognize from the beginning
that there is no “right” or “wrong” ratio,
but there may be one that works better for
YOU, and only you can find that out.
So, we know that calories are fuel for our
but that fuel can come from 1 of 2 main sources:
glucose, or ketones
The main one that MOST people function off
of today is glucose.
It can be a great energy source for the brain
and comes primarily from carbohydrates.
This is essentially a “sugar burning mode”
since glucose is a sugar.
The second source of fuel is ketones, or ketone
People on a ketogenic diet are fueled by KETONES,
rather than glucose.
Ketones are produced when glucose levels fall,
and the body has access to fat,
either in the form of stored body fat or dietary
When someone’s body uses ketones as fuel
rather than glucose,
they are in “nutritional ketosis” which
is like a “fat burning mode”
since fat is the fuel source.
I’ll talk more about the benefits of ketosis
in a bit.
For any diet, it’s important to have both
carbohydrates and fat
for the body to function properly.
However, it’s the amount of one relative
to the other
that will determine your fuel source, and
one is not right or wrong.
Now, if glucose is available to the body,
it will use that FIRST,
because it’s easy to burn up.
If you eat a lot of carbohydrates, your body
will use that glucose as it’s fuel source,
rather than using fats as fuel.
This is why carbohydrate intake must be LOW
on a ketogenic diet,
and a keto diet is often referred to as a
dietary fat needs to be prevalent enough in
the body in order to produce ketones.
Many people associate the word “fat” with
the fat on our bodies,
and are unfamiliar with it as a fuel source.
There’s a lot of misunderstanding about
how a ketogenic diet works,
which is why there’s also a lot of criticism
But, that’s why I’m trying to explain
Don’t get me wrong—our brains and bodies
do need some glucose,
just like we all need some dietary fat,
BUT glucose does not NEED to be the MAIN source
for a body to function healthily.
Glucose is one energy source, ketones are
neither is “right” or “wrong,” they’re
In fact, our ancestors may have lived ketogenic
lifestyles without being aware of it.
As hunters and gatherers, our ancestors ate
lots of nuts, seeds, meats,
and lower carb fruits like berries.
This is often referred to as “primal eating,”
and it’s a diet that was high in fats and
low in carbohydrates.
It likely resulted in ketosis and helped our
ancestors survive from one meal to the next,
because their bodies could store that fat
But, does that mean that they CHOSE to be
No, they would have eaten whatever was available
but the point is that it was a viable way
for them to survive healthily,
even if they didn’t understand the science
When a lot of people hear about “primal”
or “hunter gatherer” eating these days,
they think of the Paleo diet.
Now, is the paleo diet a ketogenic diet?
The answer: it can be.
On a paleo diet, you can eat grass-fed meats,
seafood, fruits, vegetables,
eggs, nuts, seeds, oils, etcetera,
but you can’t eat grains, legumes, refined
sugar, processed foods,
and typically dairy and excessive salt.
Now, most of that aligns with a keto diet,
where one consumes more fat and less carbs.
However, nothing is strictly prohibited on
a keto diet.
The ultimate goal is a ratio of fats to carbohydrates—
which likely means not consuming many, if
any, grains, legumes or sugar regularly.
A paleo diet limits only the TYPES of foods
one can eat,
and not the macronutrient amounts.
For instance, there is no limit to fruits
or healthy carbs, and no minimum amount of fats.
A paleo diet is not NECESSARILY a ketogenic
diet, although it can be.
Does that make sense?
There are plenty of other diets that you may
know of which CAN result in nutritional ketosis,
they’re just not necessarily “keto”
For example, the Atkins Diet is a low carb
so it’s commonly mistaken as a keto diet—
but it’s not.
It’s similar, but there is a significant
and it involves the one macronutrient we haven’t
touched on yet:
Both a ketogenic diet and the Atkins Diet
are high in fat and low in carbohydrates,
BUT a ketogenic diet is moderate in protein,
while the Atkins diet does not set a limit
to protein intake.
Why does this matter?
We talked about how carbohydrates are used
by the body as fuel
in the form of glucose, and fat is used as
fuel in the form of ketones.
But, what about protein?
Well, through a process called gluconeogenesis,
protein can also be converted into glucose.
This means, if someone wants to experience
the benefits of a ketogenic diet
and be in a state of ketosis,
even if they are on a diet that’s low enough
their protein intake can throw them off
because too much protein will be processed
by the body as glucose.
On a ketogenic diet, just like with carbohydrates,
the amount of protein one can consume will
depend on the person
and how their body metabolizes different foods.
There are still benefits to diets like these,
that are lower in carbs and contain fats,
but lower carb does not equal ketosis, necessarily.
Ketosis is a physical, biological process
that goes on in the body.
It’s brought on when the fat-to-carb ratio
is just right—
high enough fat, low enough carb—for THAT
If there isn’t enough fat, or if there is
TOO much glucose or protein,
which we now know can be converted into glucose,
the body will use that glucose instead and
be in a state of glycolysis,
a.k.a. that sugar burning mode.
We’ve established that a keto diet exists,
but why would someone want to be in ketosis?
Are there benefits of following a ketogenic
Weight loss: In ketosis, the body is able
to burn stored fat,
and insulin levels are lowered since there
is less glucose in the body.
Reduced appetite: Since fat is more satiating,
people often don’t get as hungry
on a ketogenic diet,
which can improve a person’s relationship
“Mental clarity”: People in ketosis often
report experiencing a level of “mental clarity”
that they don’t have when fueled by glucose.
Healing: Studies have also shown it can help
kill cancer cells,
and help to treat or even reverse cognitive
impairments like Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Improved insulin levels,
reduced blood pressure,
and improved blood cholesterol and triglyceride
These benefits all result from fat being the
body’s fuel source.
So what types of fats are appropriate for
a keto diet?
Now, this may seem a bit strange or confusing,
because it will likely go against a lot of
what you’ve been told about nutrition.
But, just stay with me.
A ketogenic diet is high in fat and low in
but most people who follow it also consider
themselves on a whole foods diet.
They are eating lots of leafy and cruciferous
grass-fed meat, eggs, wild-caught fish,
dairy (depending on the person since it can
olive oil, coconut oil, grass fed butter,
avocado, nuts, seeds, and more!
People on a ketogenic diet would typically
the more obvious processed foods and grains,
but they might also avoid some whole foods,
such as sweet potatoes, quinoa,
higher sugar fruits, legumes, etcetera because
of their carbohydrate levels.
These whole foods are still perfectly healthy
they just won’t help with getting into ketosis.
Too many carbs means glucose is available
to the body,
which means it won’t produce ketones.
For nutritional ketosis to happen, ketones
need to be the available fuel source.
It’s a lot of information to process!
But you see why it’s so important to stay
Really, there is no such thing as “good”
or “bad” when it comes to health and nutrition
because it’s all relative.
What’s good for one body can be different
especially when we’re running on different
There’s SO much talk in the nutrition world
about fat, and saturated fat in particular,
being “bad,” but, again, this is relative.
Everyone agrees that trans fats are bad, because
they are unnatural, man-made fats.
But, new dietary research has caused some
disagreement over saturated fats.
Many things we’ve been told to avoid, like
butter and beef,
can be a healthy part of our diets IF they
are in fact grass-fed and not processed.
On a ketogenic diet, people are generally
not discouraged from eating saturated fat
in the form of grass-fed meat, grass-fed butter,
healthy oils like coconut and olive oils,
salmon and other fatty fish, eggs, nuts, seeds,
and full fat dairy.
On a standard low fat and higher carbohydrate
many of these items are discouraged.
Why is that?
The AHA and some dated research claims that
saturated fat causes heart disease,
but it’s come to light with recent research
that that conclusion can’t really be drawn.
It’s more likely that inflammation causes
heart disease than saturated fats,
specifically if those fats are from whole
foods, and are nutritious dietary fats.
Remember from the beginning of the video:
you can only have 100% of your total macronutrients.
So, if you are going to include more fats
in your diet,
the only option is to lower the protein or
regardless of keto or any other diet.
And this is where it can get tricky.
We see it circulating around now that “fat
is healthy” and blah blah blah,
but we are also told to eat quinoa.
You can’t eat a ton of fat, AND a ton of
Likely, this would just mean a person is consuming
too much food in general.
AND remember that fats are more calories per
gram than carbs or protein,
so LESS food adds up quickly in your total
caloric intake needs.
There’s a lot to be mindful with a ketogenic
diet, but it can have its benefits.
So who might consider a keto diet?
We already mentioned a few:
People with a goal of weight loss.
Some people who have struggled with insulin
sensitivity and/or being overweight
may find that a ketogenic diet works really
well for them
because they don’t have to deal with insulin.
People trying to reset their appetite center
and be more mindful of being full.
So if you’re on a low fat diet, or a low
fat and low carb diet, or a high protein diet,
and you think you’re really hungry all the
time, you’re not crazy.
You actually ARE hungry.
Your insulin is raised and it’s telling you that
you need fuel.
On a ketogenic diet, without the glucose there,
your body doesn’t experience spikes in insulin
and you’re more likely to feel satiated.
It may also help people with a goal of reducing
and finding healthy cholesterol levels,
or people looking for help with PCOS treatment,
or those with neurodegenerative disorders.
But, of course a ketogenic diet is not for
It’s NOT appropriate for people with conditions
kidney or liver disease, Muscular Dystrophy,
gastric bypass, rare metabolic disorders,
those prone to kidney stones, Type 1 diabetes,
blood sugar issues like hypoglycemia—
so for people with type 2 diabetes it depends
and there’s conflicting responses,
so it’s best to get a doctor to supervise—
those who are pregnant, nursing, or who have
and it also may not be a good idea for:
people who have suffered from an eating disorder,
people who have a history of mental health
children or people under the age of 18,
and people who are naturally very thin with
a BMI of less than 20.
And, of course, a general health screening
is always a good idea to make sure there’s
no rare conditions or contradictions
with your health or medications on a ketogenic
Because the nutritional science world is still
relatively new, like I said earlier,
there isn’t a ton of information on a ketogenic
New dietary research is emerging that’s challenging
our old beliefs about nutrition.
But, despite this, the old research that demonized
fat and saturated fat
is still widely accepted.
Most of what we know about ketogenic diets
come from actual people who have put it into
practice in their lives.
There is not enough existing research yet
to start changing our old approaches to nutrition
in the medical world.
A ketogenic diet does go against much of what
we’ve been told
about nutrition in the past few years,
but the science behind nutritional ketosis
is still new.
But just because the research doesn’t exist
in the capacity
that’s needed for all doctors to make new
doesn’t mean that this information isn’t
true or that the lifestyle isn’t an option.
All accepted forms of medicine today, at some
started out as “alternative medicine”
that needed enough research to back it.
For that reason, if you approach your traditional
doctor about a ketogenic diet,
I’m going to let you know up front that
he or she may just tell you to not do it.
Now, I will never tell you to not listen to
BUT I will encourage you to continue to do
your own research
so you feel confident making decisions because
YOU know your body best.
Even if you don’t feel the confidence right
now, you do.
If you feel intrigued and want to learn more,
I’ve linked some resources below,
but please go off and also do TONS
and tons of research on your own.
I do NOT recommend trying out a ketogenic
diet willy nilly.
You should be able to FULLY understand how
ketosis works and why
before making lifestyle changes.
AND remember that this is just an introductory
video to explain the diet,
NOT an instructional video telling you how
to start it.
I don’t want you to miss out on valuable
that you wouldn’t have without doing your
like the stages of ketosis, the difference
between ketosis and ketoacidosis,
how to test ketone levels, supplements, salt
effects on exercise, water intake, etcetera—
all of these things which are really essential
before making dietary changes.
Remember—the reason there is such a debate
about these different diets—
you can’t do ALL of them at once, so people
tend to think that one is right or wrong.
But NONE of them are right or wrong, and they
all work for SOMEONE,
but they won’t all work for YOU.
We all need to stop with this “this diet
is right and this is wrong”
and “fat or carbs are good or bad” mentality.
It depends on YOU and your body and what works
better with you.
YOU are not me or anyone else, we are all
Our diet needs and what works for us will
depend on our genetics,
lifestyle, activity level, diet history and
so much more.
So if someone gets on the internet and claims
that ANY type of diet or ratio
is THE one for everyone, be skeptical,
because remember, they don’t know you, or your
history, or your body,
or what you might be sensitive to.
Even if you have no interest in actually following
a ketogenic diet,
I think information is power.
It can help us to be more understanding of other
and knowing what it is and how it works will
only make you a more informed human.
The more you know about your body and how
the more confident you’ll feel to make your
own choices moving forward.
I hope you found this episode useful.
If you want more educational videos like this,
be sure to give this video a thumbs-up!
Thanks so much for being a part of this supportive
and open-minded community,
I really do believe we can learn from our
I’ll see you tomorrow on my PIZZA channel,
I’ll see you right here next week,
and remember, it’s all a matter of Mind
- alyssia sheikh
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