Diet 101: Keto

Jan 01, 2021
Keto 101

If you keep a pulse on the latest diet crazes, then you’ve certainly heard of Keto. In this “101” series, I break down the essentials.


Ketogenic diets are low on carbs and high on healthy fats. The idea is for you to get more calories from protein and fat and fewer from carbohydrates. When on a Keto diet, you cut back most on the carbs that are easy and quick to digest, like sugar, soda, pastries, and white bread.

Why is it important? 

When the body runs on 50g or less of carbs per day, it depletes one of its fuel sources - glucose. This is not good for normal, healthy adults to do on a long-term basis. But in certain cases, a long-term Keto diet can be very beneficial. Clinical research, while hugely debate-able overall, has in some cases shown success in using Keto to help manage everything from seizures to improving daily function of those on the autism spectrum to brain tumor management.

At the bottom of this entry, I share an extreme, N-of-1, but super interesting real-life example of Keto helping to eradicate a brain tumor.

How does it work?

Naturally, the preferred primary source of energy for the body is fat. Fat takes longer to break down in the body and so it provides you with more energy for a longer period of time. The food industry has tried to paint a picture that "fat is bad" (we see this in the proliferation of low-fat foods on grocery shelves)... but guess what? When you buy "low-fat" processed food, you're not necessarily eating healthier. You see, removing the fat also removes a significant amount of TASTE. People don't buy food that tastes like shit, so manufacturers have to up the sugar content to make up for it. Food labeled as "low fat" is usually worse for you because it's laden with sugars.

Anyway, when you eliminate or cut carbs and sugar, your body begins to run on fat again, yay! The brain, in particular, is the organ that most needs and craves fat (in the form of "ketones") to fuel it. 

Gut-check time:

While the media intelligentsia has sensationalized Keto's ability to help healthy people drop fucktons of weight, there’s more power to Keto than just that of a fad diet. People use this approach all the time as part of a treatment plan for epilepsy, brain tumors, autism, chronic inflammation, insulin resistance and more. That said, you should always consult your doctor before embarking on a ketogenic diet as part of a larger plan for chronic conditions. 

What can you eat on Keto? 

  • Grass-fed meats (steak, bacon, chicken, pork, eggs, turkey, etc.)

  • Healthy fats (oils, avocado, nuts, butter, mayo, full-fat dairy)

  • Limited fruits, mostly berries

  • Any fish you want

  • Only certain, non-starchy veggies (asparagus, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, kale, cucumbers, celery, artichokes, etc.)

What can't you eat on Keto?

  • All other fruits except for berries (natural sugar content in them is too high; blood glucose will spike)

  • Grains and starches (potatoes, quinoa, rice, bread -- although you can find some delicious Keto-approved breads)

  • Beans

  • Sweets & desserts

Fatty Food List

Saturated Fats
(eat rarely)




Dark Chocolate

Whole Dairy

Monounsaturated Fats
(eat moderately)



Brazil Nuts

Canola Oil


Egg Yolk


Macadamia Nuts





Polyunsaturated Fats
(eat with abandon)

Chia Seeds



Grapeseed Oil

Hemp Seeds

Pine Nuts

Sesame Seeds

Sunflower Seeds


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