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The Keto Diet Explained

by Men's Healthy List Staff
Ketogenic Diet spelled with food consumed by Progentra user

Ah, the keto diet. The diet that everyone uses to get into shape when Summer is quickly approaching. The diet that consists of you eating high amounts of fats and low amounts of carbohydrates. But, did you know that the keto diet was never truly invented to make us lose weight? Let’s take a closer look at this infamous diet in detail.

The true reason the keto diet was invented in the 1920’s was to treat a disease known as epilepsy. Doctors in areas down South started experimenting with natural mechanisms to help their epileptic patients, and they found the ‘keto diet’ to be the answer. They found that their patients body’s that had low blood sugar also had fewer seizures. In turn, they metaphorically ‘starved’ their patients with the keto diet; This allowed patients to get the nutrients they needed while still thinking that they’re hungry. It’s not a bad solution, if you ask me. It just sucks thinking you’re hungry when really your body is satisfied.

Let’s talk more about it.

The keto diet requires its recipients to have a diet that consists of approximately 70% fat, 25-30% protein, and no more than 10% carbohydrates. If the diets recipients follow these strict instructions, their body will go into a state known as ketosis. This, in turn, breaks fat down into what is known as ketones. Once the ketones are made, the body uses it to make energy. But, because the recipients body’s don’t have a ton of carbohydrates inside, the body thinks it’s ‘starving,’ when in reality, it definitely is not.

So, let’s bring it back to how it helps seizures:

As far as research can tell, ketones have a sort of ‘anti-electrical effect’ on areas of the brain that produce seizures. So, basically the ketones control the abnormal effects seizures produce on the brain, therefore limiting seizures.

However, this is all we know through science.

Now, back to how many people are using the diet today.

The keto diet is a super good way to lose some extra pounds that are ‘weighing you down.’ But, other than losing weight, what else can this new meal plan do for you?

  • Improvement in body composition
  • Boost in physical performance
  • Additional mental focus
  • Widened healthspan
  • Stabilized mood
  • Adequate amounts of sleep

And yet, there’s still so much we need to know about the keto diet before getting started.

Forewarning: The keto diet does not allow you to eat foods like desserts, processed foods, and bad, fatty foods. Instead of eating what you want, you’ll have to change up your grocery store habits and change up what foods you allow to come into your home.

The following are examples of what you can eat, with small explanations following.


keto diet food can go wellMeats are tricky, because you’ll think you can go to the grocery store and eat any meat, so long as it’s meat. Well, that’s not true. You have to be specific in this area, too.

Meats that you can eat consist of grass-fed beef, chicken, goat, pork, lamb, and veal. This also can include fishes like salmon, tuna, catfish, sardines, and trout.


You need to be careful with your oils, too. All oils are not good for your body, at all. The oils that you can use to flavor your foods or cook with are olive oil, coconut oil, avocado oil, and grass-fed butter. You can also cook with nuts and seeds, either in butter or whole form.


Specifically speaking, while on the keto diet you can eat whole eggs. This means that they have to be organic and preferably free-range. Yolks are heavily recommended considering they have an adequate amount of fat present in them, and you need a lot of fat to keep up with this diet.


Usually diets limit you when it comes to dairy products, but this diet actually encourages the consumption of many dairy products. The dairy that you can eat consists of cheeses that are full-fat, yogurt that is also full-fat, but that is preferably unsweetened, sour cream, and most heavy creams.

Vegetables and Fruits

Preferably, the keto diet suggests that you eat many vegetables and fruits, but that they be low in carbohydrates. Examples of some vegetables would be spinach, cauliflower, broccoli, kale, asparagus, and any other leafy green vegetable. Examples of some fruits would be blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, and avocados. But remember, fruits should only be taken in by small amounts.

Even still, there are foods that should be avoided on a keto diet, too. Check those out below.


Specifically speaking, there are a lot of grains that you should avoid while on this diet. Those grains include:

  • breakfast oatmeal with berriesWheat products
  • Rice
  • Oats
  • Breads
  • Pastas
  • Cookies
  • Pizza
  • Crackers

Beans and Legumes

No matter how healthy they are, beans and legumes should be avoided in the keto diet. All of the following beans and legumes specifically:

  • Kidney beans
  • Black beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Lentils
  • Peas
  • Lima beans


Other than the fruits stated above that you can eat on the keto diet, all of these other fruits should be avoided:

  • Bananas
  • Papaya
  • Pineapples
  • Apples
  • Oranges
  • Grapes
  • Mangos
  • Tangerines

Also included in this list are fruit drinks such as fruit juices, smoothies, and dried fruits that have syrupy textures.


Other than the vegetables stated above that you can eat on the keto diet, all of the following starchy vegetables should be avoided:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Regular potatoes
  • Carrots
  • Parsnips
  • Peas
  • Corn
  • Squash
  • Artichoke

In other words, try to stay away from all vegetables that grow from beneath the ground. Stick to those yummy, good-for-you leafy greens.

In addition, all foods that contain ingredients such as sugars and syrups should also be avoided at all costs.


By Jenny Lyn

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