Learn more about the ketogenic diet

As spring approaches, many are looking to lose weight, tone up, and live healthier. But with so many diet choices, it’s confusing to know which is best for you. One option gaining popularity is the ketogenic diet.

So what is the ketogenic diet? Read about the basics of the diet, the best keto diet plan, and what foods to eat.

Never Miss a Beat!

Get Healthy Tips Sent to Your Phone!

Message and data rates may apply. Text the word STOP to opt out and HELP for help. Click here to view the privacy and terms.

What Is the Ketogenic Diet?

The ketogenic diet emphasizes cutting back on carbohydrates and eating foods that are high in fat. It may sound strange to eat fatty foods on a diet, but there’s good reason. The ketogenic diet involves depleting your body of carbs (its usual source of fuel) and forcing it to break down fat for energy.

This redirected energy burn is called ketosis. The theory is that when you eat fewer carbohydrates, your body will burn more fat as fuel, enabling you to lose weight faster.

What Foods to Eat on the Keto Diet?

If you opt for the ketogenic diet, the general rule of thumb is that your fat intake must make up about 70 percent of your total calories, according to U.S. News and World Report. You should consume only about 20 net carbohydrates, or total carbs minus grams of fiber.

RELATED: The Real Benefits of Antioxidant-Rich Foods 

Those who follow the keto diet primarily eat meat, dairy, and leafy green veggies. You should stay away from vegetables that are high in carbs, such as potatoes, butternut squash, and corn, and avoid some fruits and grains.

Foods to eat on the keto diet include:

  • Eggs.
  • Cheese.
  • Avocado.
  • Fish.
  • Steak.
  • Chicken.
  • Vegetables such as asparagus, spinach, or green beans.
  • Nuts and seeds.
  • Yogurt.
  • Coconut oil.

Does the Keto Diet Work?

Research is mixed about whether the keto diet plan is beneficial. One study by the British Journal of Nutrition indicates that the keto diet effectively helps you lose weight and works better than conventional low-fat diets.

RELATED: Which Foods Contain Healthy Fats?

But some nutritionists warn that the keto diet may not be the healthiest choice because the carb restrictions are extreme, and the diet itself isn’t sustainable. In addition, because the diet is very low in fiber, you may need to add supplements to be sure your digestive system works properly.

While the ketogenic diet sounds promising, it’s considered a fad diet, promising quick weight loss through what is generally considered an unhealthy and unbalanced diet. When deciding whether the keto diet is right for you, first talk to your doctor or find a registered dietitian.

RELATED: Why Breakfast Really Is the Most Important Meal of the Day


About UPMC

Headquartered in Pittsburgh, UPMC is a world-renowned health care provider and insurer. We operate 40 hospitals and 800 doctors’ offices and outpatient centers, with locations throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New York, West Virginia, and internationally. We employ 4,900 physicians, and we are leaders in clinical care, groundbreaking research, and treatment breakthroughs. U.S. News & World Report consistently ranks UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside as one of the nation’s best hospitals in many specialties and ranks UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh on its Honor Roll of America’s Best Children’s Hospitals. We are dedicated to providing Life Changing Medicine to our communities.