When striving to be healthier, our diet is often the first thing we look to in making healthier choices. Often the term ‘healthy diet’ is mistakingly associated with ‘low fat’ or ‘no fat’, but did you know that a healthy amount of fat is a key part of keeping your body healthy and in shape? A healthy amount of fat helps keep us energized and assists in creating that perfect beach-body we all crave.

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen the “high fat, low carb” diet approach become increasingly popular, starting with the Paleo Diet. Now the Ketogenic Diet (“Keto Diet” for short) has taken the scene, quickly becoming the “new” Paleo Diet. But why?

The Keto Diet

The general idea of the Keto Diet is to eat a high concentration of good fat, a moderate concentration of protein, and as few carbohydrates as possible.

How Does it Work?

When the amount of carbohydrate intake is reduced significantly, it forces the body to look for an alternate source of energy. In the case of the Keto Diet, it’s fats. Not only the fat you ingest but the fat stored in your body as well. This process is called ketosis, and is why the Keto Diet has taken LA, and the rest of the world, by storm.

Photo: chefsteps.com

Brian St. Pierre, M.S., R.D., C.S.C.S., the director of performance nutrition at Precision Nutrition explains it like this –

“Typically, our bodies run on glucose, which comes from carbohydrates. But when fewer than 10 percent of our calories come from carbs, our bodies run on ketones, which come from fat in food or stored in our bodies.”

To sum it up – the Keto Diet jump-starts your body’s ability to burn fat effectively, causing a reduction of excess body fat, and as a result, healthy weight loss. With the Keto Diet being so effective, it’s become a go-to weight loss strategy – overshadowing the Paleo Diet.

What the Keto Diet Looks Like

One of the main reasons for the Keto Diet’s popularity is that its followers don’t have to count calories. The principle is simple – lower your carb intake to less than 30 grams a day, and raise your intake of healthy fats. A common Keto-friendly ratio looks like this –

  • 60% fat
  • 35% protein
  • 5% carbohydrates

In the case of the Keto Diet, monounsaturated and saturated fats are deemed ‘healthy’ fats. Think peanut butter, whole milk, and sour cream. The fats found in processed foods are not considered healthy, and can quickly derail your Keto diet.

Other necessary Ket0-friendly foods include leafy green veggies, other non-starchy veggies, and fruits. Here’s a Keto Diet food pyramid –

Photo: http://innov8tivenutrition.com

Understandably, more and more LA restaurants are adopting Keto-friendly menu options, allowing for a wider variety of dining options for LA diners. While it’s not hard to create a Keto Diet menu item (think UNwich, salads with fatty dressings, and cheese coated veggies), Keto dieters are choosy about where they dine, and loyal to the restaurants that fit their dietary needs. The restaurants in LA that stayed ahead of the curve and served Keto menu options now have a loyal following of Keto Dieters, whereas the slower-to-adapt restaurants are still missing out.

Is Keto the New Paleo?

While the Paleo Diet and the Ketogenic Diet do share some commonalities, they differ in some very important ways. With the Paleo Diet, the primary objective is to eat a more natural, less processed diet. On the other hand, the Keto Diet is much more difficult to maintain, as it cuts down your daily intake of carbs drastically.

Over time, many followers of the Paleo Diet have switched to the Keto Diet, finding it more scientific and refined. The Keto Diet has gained traction as the new “it” diet because it’s more effective, even if it is harder to follow and more strict than it’s competitor, the Paleo Diet.