Keto What? Explaining Ketogenic Diet to Friends & Family

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According to Google Trends, the number of searches about ketosis has been on the rise over the past 12 months; the ketogenic diet was actually ranked as one of the top 10 most Googled diets of 2017. With so much more keto-curiosity out there, it’s no wonder more people are experimenting with this way of eating — and that more people are hearing a lot of conflicting information about it.

If (or more likely, when) you’re questioned by family, friends, and co-workers about your own ketogenic diet, it’s helpful to have a decent answer prepared. An elevator pitch, so to say. A response that’s at once honest and informative without sounding defensive or sanctimonious.

Need some ideas in your back pocket? Check out these four suggestions.

4 Quick (and Accurate) Ways to Explain Your Keto Diet to Friends and Family

1. It’s pretty simple: I eat a lot of healthy fats, a moderate amount of protein, and a few carbs.

Let’s face it: people tend to zone out if someone launches into a long-winded explanation of their preferred diet of choice. Sometimes, the quickest explanation is the most effective, especially if people are merely asking about what you eat because you look different, not necessarily because they’re trying to challenge or question it.

"Hey, you look great! What have you been up to?" The above response is often more than sufficient here.

It may also help to offer a few specific examples of the benefits you’ve noticed as a result of your ketogenic diet. Beyond rapid weight loss, for instance, you may also be experiencing improved skin quality or increased energy, likely thanks to keto’s ability to improve insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar levels.

2. I’m retraining my body to use stored fat as fuel.

Normally, the body and brain use glucose, aka sugar, for energy. Glucose primarily comes from the carbohydrates we eat. Since you’re not eating many carbohydrates on a ketogenic diet — maybe 50 grams of net carbs or less per day — your body has to adapt and find a new fuel source for energy.

Turns out that in the absence of carbs, the liver can convert stored body fat into little fuel molecules called ketones. Your brain and body can use these ketones pretty effectively for energy — and you become an efficient fat-burning machine in the meantime.

As for naysayers who question a ketogenic diet’s ability to provide the requisite micronutrients, fiber, and antioxidants we all need to live long healthy lives? Noting the impressive amount of green veggies you eat should quell their concerns.

3. The body naturally enters ketosis when fasting, which actually offers a lot of its own benefits. I’m just facilitating ketosis in a more sustainable way.

Science is pretty clear on the fact that intermittent fasting (sustained periods of not eating) offers a host of physical and even psychological benefits when done safely safely and appropriately. As it happens, fasting is the fastest (no pun intended) way to help your body enter the metabolic state of ketosis.

But you can’t fast indefinitely, of course. The ketogenic diet — rich in nutritious foods like avocados, nuts and seeds, above-ground veggies, meat, fish, dairy, and maybe some berries — is a great and more sustainable alternative option.

"You don’t [have to] enter ketosis by starving your body. You enter ketosis by starving your body of carbohydrates."

4. Like any way of eating, the ketogenic diet may not be right for everyone. But my doctor and I are figuring out if it’s right for me.

Regardless of helping you answer well-meaning questions from loved ones, it’s wise to consult with a healthcare professional when undertaking any sort of drastic change in nutrition. Why? You need to ensure your body is responding appropriately and safely to the self-imposed changes. This is especially important if you have any chronic health conditions (like diabetes or heart disease) or take any prescribed medications.

Unfortunately, general consensus notes doctors aren’t provided with sufficient training about nutrition in medical school, so it’s possible your physician may not have a reasonable understanding of ketosis (or has even heard of it for that matter). To that end, you may want to do a little digging and find some keto-supportive doctors, dietitians, or consulting services in your area (this list is helpful). Such resources can offer you some helpful and individualized guidance.

To further bolster your position and give yourself a clearer picture of your health in ketosis, you may want to consider undergoing a few blood tests. Valuable parameters to assess include cholesterol (triglycerides, HDL, and LDL), C-reactive protein (a marker of inflammation), and average blood sugar (A1C). You may be able to ask your doctor for these, or you can try an at-home testing kit like this one.

The bottom line is this: as long as you’re do what feels right for your body, there’s no need to feel defensive about the way you’re choosing to eat. Stay open-minded, even in the face of skepticism or outright criticism.

And while it’d be nice to see more of your loved ones reap the benefits of healthier nutrition, don’t feel like you have to be carrying the banner for the ketogenic low-carb lifestyle. You’re just doing you — awesome side effects notwithstanding.

Got any other quick explanations of your own which you employ when questioned by curious loved ones? Let us know about it in the comments.

About the Author Nate Arnold

I started this website because it was hard to find trustworthy, evidence-based information about the ketogenic diet. Information that was published and peer reviewed by respected scientific journals. After years of research, I'm sure you'll achieve great results in a healthy way following my advice. I do my best to translate scientific research jargon into plain English. Remember, it's always a good idea to consult a doctor before starting a new diet!

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