Keto has become very popular lately. I’m not sure why. It just has. I’ve known about it since I was a child, but had never been able to stick to it until this year for some reason, but that is a topic for another blog. I’ve been doing intermittent fasting since the beginnng of the year, and added in a ketogenic diet around the end of March. I’ve lost over fifty pounds and am continuing to lose. Needless to say, I am a fan. The question though, is wether or not keto is a fad. The short answer is no.
So how far back can we trace carbohydrate restricted diets for weight loss? When I was young, my father bought “Protein Power” by the Eades’. That was my introduction to the world of carb restriction. What really stuck with me was their comparison between the macronutrient breakdown of the diet used to fatten pigs and the recommendations of the USDA food pyramid. They were extremely similar. This was in the late 90’s if I recall correctly. It’s not vital, so I’m not looking it up.
Before that there was the original Atkins diet. Again I’m not worried about the specifics. I want to say it was 1976. Anyway, this is where low carb diets reallly came into the national consciousness. There was and continues to be a misunderstanding of the Atkins diet. It is not supposed to be a high protein diet. When he told people to restrict carbs, he assumed they would replace the missing calories with fat. The problem is people were still fat phobic. So instead of replacing carbs with fat they replaced them with even more protein. Protein is not only insulingenic, if you eat enough of it your body will turn it into sugar through a process called gluconeogenesis. That’s a topic for another post. Never the less, people were still able to lose a shitload of weight and improve health markers with it. If you do the new or old Atkins diet, remember fat is OK! Atkins induction with the proper amount of fat is just regular keto.
Next we’ll discuss Banting. Now I know there were plenty of others such as Stillman between Banting and Atkins, but I’m just hitting the high points here. This post is already too long for my liking. If you’ve done any reading on low carb diets, you’ve probably already heard of William Banting. He was an obese undertaker that lost a shitload of weight by following a low carb diet. He restricted sugars and starches, except for some fruits and dry wine. He wrote a pamphlet called “Letter On Corpulence, Adressed to the Public.” If you want to read it, you can still find it online. This was in 1863, over a hundred years before Atkins. I don’t think keto qualifies as a fad anymore.
I can do you one better, though. I can go back even further. I can go back to Hippocrates of Kos. Yes, that Hippocrates. This was around 500 B.C. So about 2500 years ago. You know what he said about those that wanted to lose weight? He said, “People wishing to lose weight should let the foods be rich.” Back then “rich” foods were considered to be foods like butter, cheese, and meat. Gee. Sounds familiar, huh?
So is it really a fad if it’s been around for two and a half millenia? If I wanted to, I could go into the diets of ancient man and how the ones with the low carb diets are almost always healthier. That establishes the benefits of low carb for many more thousnads of years, but I think I’ve made my point.
Tags for this post:Keto Ketogenic Diet Nutrition History
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