When people are making resolutions or setting new goals, it’s inevitable that diet trends pop into the conversation—from OMAD to intermittent fasting to Noom. And of course, the keto diet is sure to make an appearance.
The benefits of this low-carb lifestyle change has been touted by celebrities like Halle Berry, Kourtney Kardashian, and Megan Fox. But it’s the real-person transformations that will really shock you (they may even tempt you into stocking up on avocados, lean meats, and cheese the next time you’re at the grocery store).
A little background on the keto diet…ICYMI: Keto, for starters, is short for ketogenic—and the diet promotes weight loss by being low in carbohydrates, high in protein, and moderately high in fat. If you need help picturing what a typical keto dinner looks like, think a salmon filet plated with a mound of broccoli and a drizzle of olive oil.
Sounds doable, right? Well, it’s not exactly *that* simple. The keto diet is actually quite restrictive. Yes, the style is to eat a low-carb, moderate-protein, and high-fat diet, there’s a specific ratio you generally want to aim for: 60-75 percent of your calorie intake from fat, 15-30 percent from protein, and 5-10 percent from carbs. Also, your daily net carb allowance (translation: carbs without fiber) is capped at 50 grams, but preferably under 20 grams.
Once you maintain these intake levels for about two to seven days, your body will go into something called ketosis, since it doesn’t have enough carbs for your cells to use as energy. “That’s when you start making ketones, or organic compounds that your body then uses in place of those missing carbs. At this point, your body also starts burning fat for more energy,” Beth Warren, RD, founder of Beth Warren Nutrition and author of Living A Real Life With Real Food, previously told WH.
Side effects of such an intense lifestyle change can include fatigue, lightheadedness, nausea, mental fog, cramps, and headaches. But one major potential side effect of the keto diet is weight loss. How? Well, your caloric intake will be reduced since your intake of healthy fats and lean proteins will make you feel fuller sooner. Plus, it will take more energy to process and burn fat and protein than carbs. So you’re burning slightly more calories than you did before. Over time, this can lead to weight loss.
But this diet isn’t exactly meant to be done long-term, according to Scott Keatley, RD, of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy. (It’s a little too restrictive for that—literally so much meat and cheese.) Ultimately, you and your doc. should decide if the keto diet, or any diet, is right for you. In the meantime, here’s a few inspirational keto diet before-and-after photos.
Instagram has a wealth of keto-focused hashtags that highlight crazy keto transformations (#ketotransformation and #ketofam, to name a few). And they are seriously inspiring if you do want to start keto. “I’ve never been so happy with a diet in my life,” says @the_keto_wife. “The keto diet and regular exercise have made me into the healthy mom and wife my family and I deserve,” says @keykeypeaches; and per @byebye.carbs, “Keto has worked wonders for my body.”