Keto, What’s the Big Fat Deal?

I swear everyone I know is either doing keto or interested in keto.  They swear it works or rants that it’s a scam.  Everyone has an opinion.   

Keto is the new(er) fad system in health and nutrition and a billion-dollar industry that brings out the worst (and occasionally the best) in marketing and sales and slimy sales pitch expertise.

There are literally 1000’s books for sale right now on Amazon and Bookstores across the land on going Keto, being Keto or Keto diet systems.   

This article is a no-holds-barred summary.   It’s sure to upset a few people.   For whatever reason, this whole “keto-system” has more emotion and personal belief involved with it than any diet program I’ve ever seen.   It’s like a dietary political election. 

That’s not a puny statement either guys – I’m a CrossFit guy.   CrossFitters lived and died by Paleo and Primal living.  They literally would hold you down and pile 5 Paleo eaters on top of you until you submitted.   They were some serious Caveman-style eaters.

   (Insert joke about cavemen eating paleo chocolate chip cookies and coconut muffins’)   

Keto has 100x the emotional attachment of Paleo and seems to spark arguments every time I bring it up.  “Nope, Dr. Peters, you’re wrong…Keto is mixing these shakes and then crushing it in the gym while all the time selling you elixirs in a multilevel marketing jackpot…duh!” 

Let me help you cut through the BS and hopefully help you with decision-making on this idea. 

First thing first.  I think Keto is a great idea for most. 

That’s right – no hate here.  It’s a system that could change your entire world of eating and nutrition.  I am playing with it on and off all the time – I’m in the middle of a keto day right now and love the way I feel.   I sell a Keto book in my clinic.  

That stated it’s not for everyone.   

Understanding keto, however, seems to not even enter the picture for the majority of people on both sides of the keto fence. 

What ketosis should be: 

Your body uses fats, not carbs as THE primary fuel source.   

This is accomplished by utilizing a high fat and very carb-restricted diet, particularly sugars – they’ve got to go.    

The rub here is that, when the scientists have their own personal beliefs and agendas, they will debate “should carbs OR fats or Protein” be the primary fuel source for Humans. 

I can get all technical and deep but seriously, this information is out there, go as deep as you want with it on your own research OR read the book I recommend below. 

What bastardized ketosis has become due to it being a billion-dollar industry: 

If I pee on a pee stick-built to detect ketones in my urine and it turns purple, I’m in keto

Ketones are the by-product of stored fats in the body being turned into fuel the body can use for energy. 

If you did ketosis correctly, yes- you may have ketones detected via a pee stick.  In fact, that’s the main tool used in studies and at-home testing as it is cheap and easy. 

Here’s the problem…you could just ingest a ton of ketones into your diet, typically in an exogenous salts shake and you’ll show purple on the pee stick.    

Different process same pee stick result.   I’d argue that one is true ketosis and one is false ketosis.    

Cue the billion-dollar industry selling garbage you don’t need but your sister-in-law sells. 

Here’s the thing.  If you want to try burning fats as your fuel source here are a few things to consider: 

  1. You need the machinery in your body that allows for fat as fuel processing.  If you’re like me you’ve spent your life using carbs as fuel and the machinery is dormant.  It takes a month or so to re-activate these nearly obsolete never utilized powerplants.  (this in my opinion is TRUE ketosis)   
  2. You may need to fast, as in actually not eating anything, for a day or so to really jump-start this process.
  3. Sugars and any simple carb will immediately jump you out of fat-burning mode.    
  4. You most likely won’t stay in fat for fuel mode for long stretches at a time – the idea is to have it when you need it. 
  5. Your friends don’t know what the hell they’re talking about – nor do the Facebook ads, nor your supplement store – do yourself a favor and learn the process yourself. 

Ok – let’s say you aren’t into “true keto.”    You just stopped eating all the carbs and sugars and call it keto.   That’s not a bad thing– that’s called “low carbs” and it’s absolutely fine and healthy – you’ll drop bodyweight and feel great. 

This is also often called “Modified Adkins” or “dude I don’t eat sugar and everything is sugar.”

I’m all for low carbs and even more into no sugars, more than at any time in my life – it is good for you.  It’s just that it’s not true keto until you are actually using fats as a true fuel source…as the preferred source. 

Look at this scientifically for just a second here.   If you truly are a fat-burning machine, it makes sense that you maybe wouldn’t pee so many ketones out as you’ll be burning them up as fuel  – thereby not spilling them over into your urine. 

Regardless,  if you want THE BEST information on this stuff and it interests you  – I would strongly recommend Mark Sisson and his new book.    Mark’s is the Keto Reset Diet  (the reset being 21 days, as in, it takes 21 days or so to truly have the machinery working for you.)   I would start here before anyone else.   The first 50 pages or so just explain it so easily and interestingly.  Mark also has some incredible podcasts on keto and what I feel is the real deal approach. 

He is the epitome of eating well and basically thought he had created  THE SINGLE BEST way to eat for health and longevity with his Primal eating series which was revolutionary and best sellers…. then he and his writer Brad Kearnes started experimenting with Keto and it was better! 

Keto is interesting as there may be fantastic applications with cancer treatments, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, inflammation, and a lot of chronic diseases.  It’s catching fire for performance – wait until you start hearing about the NFL’s anti-inflammatory diet.   

What I notice more than anything else is brainpower.   I’m certain I’ve never been into true keto (although I am playing with this) but I just notice my brain working so much better and clicking at a faster rate.   My brain is turned on.    This is most likely a byproduct of both no sugars and increased fats. 

Like I said, I don’t care which Keto you like and how you apply it in your life – Sugars are bad, and getting rid of them drops weight and makes you feel ridiculous in a good way.   I just wanted to clear the air and get you headed in the right direction if you’re interested. 

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