What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The History of Keto
Why Going Keto Will Heal Your Body
The Nuts and Bolts of Ketogenic Nutrition
Keto and Paleo Are a Match Made in Heaven
Condiments, Dressings, Broth, and Other Basics
Beef and Lamb
Fish and Seafood
think well, love well, sleep well,
if one has not dined well.
A ketogenic diet—one that calls for a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat
nutritional intake—has become more and more popular in the past few years as
more and more people are looking for a nutritional approach to optimizing their
health that is based on a real foods–based diet and can be tailored to meet their
individual needs. In fact, the term ketogenic was the fifth-most Googled diet
search term in 2013. And although you may have heard that getting into a state
of nutritional ketosis is an ideal way to lose weight, it is so much more than that.
We’ll share why within the pages of this book.
Before we dive too deeply into the subject of ketogenic diets and share some
delicious recipes that fit within this lifestyle, we’d like to introduce ourselves to
you and explain why we decided to write this book, which is sure to become a
resource you will turn to again and again as you begin your own low-carb, high-
fat journey to better health. The two of us came to this way of eating by very
different paths, but we now stand united in our passion to empower people with
the same life-changing message.
What Is the Ketogenic Diet?
The difficulty lies not so much in developing new ideas as in
escaping from old ones. —John Maynard Keynes
If you want to know what people are interested in these days, look no further
than what they’re Googling. The world’s most popular online search engine
keeps tabs on the most common search terms, and when it comes to searches
related to diet, it’s not surprising to see that the latest gimmicks—including
juicing, detoxifying, cleansing, and even an all-fruit diet—are attracting the most
attention. But amidst these dubious ideas for getting healthy are actually some
incredibly effective ones. Take a look at the fifth-most popular diet-related
search term on Google in 2013—a word that started popping up on the diet scene
in recent years, ketogenic.
You may have already heard of some form of this word before, perhaps keto,
ketosis, ketones, ketogenesis, or keto-adapted. It’s been becoming increasingly
mainstream in recent years as scientific studies have strongly supported the idea
that a ketogenic diet improves several aspects of health. This has obviously
piqued the curiosity of the general public, particularly the many people who are
desperately looking for an answer to health woes that have been getting worse
and worse on the standard calorie-counting, fat-cutting, conventional nutrition
advice from doctors, dietitians, and major health organizations. If the definition
of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different
results, then those who continue to espouse the same views on nutrition again
and again, thinking something will change in the collective health of our society,
belong in an asylum!
Whether these nutritional health experts realize it yet or not, there’s a bona
fide ketogenic revolution currently underway, and it’s only going to gain strength
in the years to come as more and more people embrace and adopt this way of
living. We’re already seeing it being embraced by significant numbers of people
in countries like Sweden, South Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. The
momentum for ketogenic diets is building all across the globe, as brave
researchers conduct studies to look for the truth without an agenda, enlightened
medical doctors see improved patient outcomes without the need for risky
prescription medications, and journalists, bloggers, and enthusiastic laypeople
carry the torch into every nook and cranny of our society. This book is yet
another resource for people to turn to in order to learn more about how ketosis
can help them get healthy.
So what is a ketogenic diet? At the most basic level, a ketogenic diet is one
that relies on fat as the main source of energy. That may not sound like anything
special, but it’s actually quite profound. The vast majority of people today are
walking around right now burning glucose—sugar—for fuel and eating mostly
carbohydrates to meet their daily energy needs. You’ve heard of marathon
runners needing to “carb up” before a long run; that means they’re loading their
bodies with sugar to burn off during the race. But burning fat as fuel is much
healthier and more efficient, and a ketogenic diet is a great metabolic tool for
improving your health. In fact, ketogenic researchers Dr. Steve Phinney and Dr.
Jeff Volek have noted that a sugar-burner has only about 2,000 calories’ worth of
energy stored in their body while a fat-burner has over 40,000 calories’ worth of
fuel—more than twenty times as much!
The term ketogenic comes from the word ketones, which are what truly fuel your body when you’re in
ketosis. When you burn fat, your body produces ketones, and these are what your cells use for energy. There
are three different kinds of ketones: beta-hydroxybutyrate, which is found in the blood; acetoacetate, which
is found in the urine; and acetone, which is found in the breath.
ARE YOU IN KETOSIS?
A lot of people think a ketogenic diet is just a low-carb diet, but to be truly keto it needs to be low-carb,
high-fat, and moderate-protein. And the only way to know if you’re in ketosis—burning fat instead of sugar
—is to test for ketones!
• Blood: Testing your blood is the gold standard in ketone testing. We recommend using the
Precision Xtra (called Freestyle Optium outside the United States), which takes just a finger
• Urine: You can measure acetoacetate in your urine with a product called Ketostix, but urine
ketones are not a reliable sign of ketosis once you’re fully keto-adapted.
• Breath: Acetone can currently be measured using a device called Ketonix. Other devices are
Urine strips change color to indicate the general level of ketones (none, some, a lot), but if you test your
blood or breath, look for ketone levels over 1 millimolar—that’s when you’re in ketosis!
To get your body to start using fat for fuel instead of sugar, it’s necessary to
restrict your intake of carbohydrates and moderate protein—and eat as much
saturated and monounsaturated fats as it takes to feel full. That’s the basic
template for the ketogenic diet, and it launches your body into a two- to four-
week period of keto-adaptation as you start to burn fat to produce ketones, the
molecules your body uses for energy. Keep in mind that the amount of fat,
protein, and carbohydrates in a ketogenic diet is going to vary widely from
person to person, depending on their individual metabolic needs. People who are
active and/or relatively healthy may be able to consume more carbohydrates and
protein than those who are less active and/or metabolically challenged. Tinker
with the amounts and test on your own to find the right levels to put your body
Once you’re fully adapted to using fat for fuel, you’re officially in nutritional
ketosis (a term first coined in the mid-1980s by Dr. Phinney). It can take
anywhere from two weeks to as much as two months to completely shift over to
burning fat as the primary fuel source and experience the totality of the benefits
that come from being in ketosis. We’ll share more about the huge benefits to
your health throughout the pages of this book. But for now, know that it is a
completely normal, desirable physiological state and has been the default
metabolic state throughout all of human history.
As you read, keep in mind that this book isn’t a comprehensive guide to keto.
Our focus here is on the recipes and cooking for a delicious and healthy
ketogenic diet. If you’re interested in learning more, check out my earlier book
Keto Clarity or any of the books, websites, and blogs listed in the resources
section (see here).
Coming up in the next chapter, we’ll share a bit of the history behind the
ketogenic diet, where it came from, why it disappeared from the public for a
period of time, and how it is now reemerging as a major force in the