To keto, or not to keto? That is the question.

The ketogenic diet is nothing new and it’s been around for nearly 100 years. Essentially, it’s an ultra low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet that was initially prescribed to epileptics suffering from seizures. It’s still prescribed today, but now it also used for weight loss.

My brother-in-law James Moore swears by the Keto diet. “I was eating the Standard American Diet and it was killing me,” said Moore. “I was gaining weight, my weight ballooned up to 282 pounds, I was on heart medication and medication for [gastroesophageal reflux disease], too.”

The shocking death of his younger brother from cardiomyopathy in 2006, feeling the effect of his own deteriorating heath, and negative side effects from the medications sounded his internal alarm for emergency action.

So about two years ago, after moving to Philadelphia, Moore decided to make some radical changes. A life long exercise enthusiast, martial artist, and runner, Moore knew his problems did not stem from a lack of movement. “While I have always exercised consistently, I was suffering from carpal tunnel, rheumatoid arthritis, and after every run I experienced lots of swelling, especially in my knees,” said Moore. “At that time, I also realized that I had become a stress eater too. So I started by researching the nutrition pyramid and its emphasis on a high carbohydrate diet.”

Through the course of his research, he realized that he was consuming lots of excess sugar from sodas, products containing high fructose corn syrup, and fat free candy. “My brain was addicted to sugar," said Moore, "and I had to come to grips with my addiction to sugar.”

Determined to suffer no longer, the 44-year-old took radical action with the Keto diet and he has lost a stunning 50 pounds, and perhaps more importantly, he has regained his health. “You know, some people can be moderate, but I had to cut it out all together,” said Moore. “I wanted no more pain, no blood pressure medication, no more GERD medicine, and I even had to replace a couple of my doctors who wanted to keep pushing me on more meds.”

Now pain free and medication free, Moore believes the Keto plan literally gave him a new lease on life.

Are you curious about the ketogenic diet? Well, here’s a few facts you should know.

Typical Keto Ratios

  • With the Keto plan say good-bye to high-carb foods like grains, beans, fruit and starchy vegetables. About 5% of your calories will come from low-carb, non-starch vegetables. For example, non-starchy vegetables like spinach, artichokes, and asparagus.
  • High protein from meat, fish, eggs, and cheese will comprise about 20% of the diet.
  • The lion’s share of the diet, 75% is from fat, oils, raw nuts, butter, and avocado.

How does it work?

While it may sound antithetical to weight loss, eating fats to lose fat, your body simply switches its fuel source from carbohydrates to fats. Therein lies the secret. Yes, you’re eating more fat, but your overall caloric consumption is significantly reduced. While anecdotal, people like my brother-in-law say they feel full and satisfied on this type of diet.

Pros and cons

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to the ketogenic diet. While some people may have amazing success with this plan, others will not. You should also be aware of your particular health concerns and check with your doctor before altering your diet.

One thing is for sure, my brother-in-laws amazing results are proof positive that with desire and drive, we can all become fitter, healthier and happier.