The Ketogenic Diet is probably the most talked-about diet in recent years. Because different diets can come and go as trends wax and wane, popular diets like the Atkins Diet and the Paleo Diet have started to fade. While many people still practice them, they're definitely not as talked-about as the Ketogenic Diet. Developed around a century ago as a method of treating epilepsy, the Ketogenic Diet itself fell into obscurity for several decades before resurfacing in the 1990s, when some notable publications came out that cause the the public to begin to look into it for its proposed weight loss benefits. Fast-forward to now, and the words "Keto," "Ketosis," and "Ketogenic" are pulling huge numbers in search engines. Books, diet plans, cooking guides, and online videos all extoll the virtues of this method of weight loss and tout it as perhaps the most effective diet around.
Of course, whenever diets start to become popular, you can count on there being a celebrity connection. That's because in the constant struggle to appear physically ideal, celebrities are willing to try new and varied diet plans to see which work for them, guided by their physical trainers. As they start to take it on as part of their physical fitness regimen, the public becomes more aware, and that's partly why the Ketogenic Diet has appeared so prominently in the public eye.
What is the Ketogenic Diet, anyway?
Well, to start off, we have to explain a little bit about how the body works. When your body is in its normal state, it breaks down carbohydrates into glucose - sugar molecules, essentially - and burns them as energy. This is the "coal" in the body's furnace, keeping your systems going and giving you the energy to make it through the day. When the body runs out of carbs to break down, it turns to another source of energy: fat cells. Without glucose to metabolize, the liver breaks fat cells into molecules called "ketone bodies," and burn them as energy. This state is called "ketosis." This is how the Ketogenic Diet works. By depriving your body of carbs, the diet aims to burn more body fat quicker, leading to faster weight loss.
If it sounds like a typical low-carb diet, you're only part right. It is low carb, but while other low-carb diets recommend lower-than-average carb intake in order to focus on appetite-satisfying foods like proteins and fats, the Ketogenic Diet restricts you to a crazy-low carbohydrate limit: only 20g to 50g of carbs a day. For reference, there's around 27g of carbs in a single banana.
In Hollwood, being a reality star means you need to keep yourself looking trim and fit at all times, and keto is supposed to be a good way to achieve this. So who's using this diet, and is it working for them?
Kourtney Kardashian. In 2018, Kourtney Kardashian admitted to going on the Ketogenic Diet after a scary hospital visit where doctors informed her that she had high levels of mercury in her bloodstream. She switched out white rice and bread for riced versions of broccoli and cauliflower, which she says keeps her carbs low. She still treats herself once a week, though.
Gwyneth Paltrow. Whether you think she's a modern-day prophet or a hippie-dippy alternative medicine crackpot, Gwyneth is looking better than ever at 46 years old. According to a story in Bravo back in 2017, she admitted to loving the keto diet. How often does she do it, though? That's a mystery.
Alicia Vikander. The star of films like The Danish Woman and The Man From U.N.C.L.E., Swedish-born Vikander reportedly used the Ketogenic Diet to get in shape for the ultra-tough role of adventurer Lara Croft in the film reboot of Tomb Raider.
Tim Tebow. Now an outfielder with the NY Mets, former football player Tebow admitted to using the Ketogenic Diet to get into shape for the athletic season.
Megan Fox. The starlet of the Transformers movies and Jennifer's Body, Fox's ultra-slim look took a hit when she gave birth to her three kids. In order to get her old body back, she got on the Ketogenic Diet, which she says helped her slim right back down, getting her ready to be in front of the camera again.
One thing you'll notice among some of these celebrities is that they reported using the Ketogenic Diet only for a short while. That's because this diet isn't really meant for the long-term: you're only supposed to use it to get down to your goal weight, and then ease back off.
Whether you think it's a fad or not, the Ketogenic Diet has some high-profile fans, and based on how they seem to have kept the weight off, it seems like it just might be working for them.