Are They Safe and Do They Work?

By now, you’ve probably heard of the ketogenic diet — often called “keto” by its devoted followers, many of whom are celebrities. The main promise of the popular form of this eating approach is fast weight loss.

“What happens when you deprive your body of carbohydrates is that your body uses fat as energy,” says Abby Langer, RD, the Toronto-based founder of Abby Langer Nutrition. When the body digests this much fat, it produces by-products called ketone bodies and enters a state called ketosis, which means the body looks to fat rather than carbohydrates to fuel its functions.

“Generally, [the keto diet] ends up being low-calorie,” Langer says. “You’re eating 80 percent of your calories in fat, but it’s very filling.”

Dina Griffin, RDN, the owner of the Nutrition Mechanic in Boulder, Colorado, says people are also drawn to the diet for potential cognitive and anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as enhanced athletic performance and recovery.

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