Exploring The Evolution Of The Ketogenic Diet

Exploring The Evolution Of The Ketogenic Diet

Whether at the gym or while perusing fitness sites on the internet, if you dabble in the world of fitness at all, it’s almost guaranteed that you’ve heard of the keto diet. While high fat, low carb diets have become common, keto takes the concept a step further, introducing the state of ketosis as a goal for those who follow the lifestyle. This extra advantage has made keto stand out as an extremely effective diet for certain types of athletes and those who wish to lose weight.

We all know keto as a trendy yet hardcore diet plan in 2017, but did you know it began in the 1930’s as an epilepsy treatment? Discover how the keto diet made the jump from experimental medical treatment to top diet for fitness enthusiasts.

How many fitness fads that were popular ten years ago can you name today? Only time will tell if the popular diets of today retain their place as viable methods of weight loss. Explore some predictions about the keto diet as we delve into what will become of it in the future.  

The Past - A Brief History of the Keto Diet

Prior to 400 BC, epilepsy was assumed to be a disease caused by supernatural forces. But around that year, a text known as the Hippocratic Corpus: On the Sacred Disease challenged that view, suggesting that dietary fasting may provide relief from seizures.

The Keto Diet is Born

A discovery by Rollin Woodyatt led to a far greater understanding of ketosis. In 1921, he determined that when the liver is starved of carbohydrates, it releases three components:  β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone. Today, these are classified as ketone bodies. This led Russel Wilder, a researcher from the Mayo Clinic, to coin the term “Ketogenic” due to the high level of ketones generated by the low carb diet.

Keto as a Substitute for Fasting

Fasting had proved to be a reliable method of treating epilepsy for a lot of patients. The problem with fasting was that eventually patients had to eat again, and so keto was used as the optimal method of sustaining the fasting treatment. By fasting from carbs while consuming high-quality fats and other nutrients, the benefits of the treatment could be sustained through the keto diet.

Epilepsy Medication Surpasses Ketogenic Diet as Treatment

In the 1940’s, anticonvulsant medications were invented that proved more effective at treating epilepsy. These treatments also had the added advantage of being easier, as they didn’t require the patient to follow a strict, low-carb diet. With the popularity of medication overtaking the use of keto, it would be decades before the keto diet was seriously studied again.

The Present - Keto Returns in the Modern Era

Credit for bringing keto back into the spotlight goes to an episode of Dateline NBC that aired in 1994. The episode focused on a high-profile case of epilepsy that was successfully controlled using the keto diet. This renewed focus on keto resulted in new studies, and a new generation became interested in the ketogenic diet.

Meryl Streep Stars in a Film about the Keto Diet

In 1997, the ketogenic diet got the biggest boost in popularity yet as the main plot-point in Meryl Streep’s Grammy Nominated film, ...First Do No Harm. The film depicts a mother who seeks treatment for her son who suffers from epilepsy but ends up in conflict with a doctor who only recommends the treatments he favors. Her research reveals that the ketogenic diet may help. Ultimately, it not only helps treat her son’s symptoms but cures him entirely.


Keto Reinvented - From Medical Cure to Fitness Diet

While keto remains a hot topic of study in medical communities, recent years have seen it make a shift toward being a popular diet for weight loss and hardcore athletics. Today, keto thrives in popularity as one of the most highly debated topics among all types of athletes. Questions of whether keto is ideal for endurance athletes or whether it’s better than some other popular diets are now commonplace, as are proud photos of your favorite athlete’s meals on Twitter.

The Keto Diet Finds an Unlikely Fanbase Among MMA Fighters

With severe demands for cutting weight and a need to maximize muscle and mobility, MMA fighters have become some of the most outspoken fans of the keto diet. With popular MMA commentators and fighters like Joe Rogan and Brendon Schaub regularly speaking up or hosting debates on the keto diet, it’s clearly found a welcoming home among mixed martial artists.

The Future - An Unstoppable Trend and Potential Cure for Cancer

If the current popularity of the keto diet is any indicator, it’s poised to remain a compelling option for those wanting to lose weight in the coming decades. As scientific studies continue to mount, including one that makes a strong case for keto as a reversal for cancer, it’s possible that we’ve only scratched the surface of what the diet can do for humanity.

Keto Lives On - Websites, Podcasts, and Personalized Keto Systems

Since the ketogenic diet remains a reliable plan for weight loss, it’s likely to stay in the mainstream well into the future. With numerous websites, podcasts, and products dedicated specifically to achieving and sustaining ketosis, the diet has a wide enough foundation to keep it in the spotlight for years to come. Plus, the decades of research supporting its benefits provides solid credibility for the keto diet.

How Keto May Prove to Cure Cancer

One of humanity’s greatest challenges in modern times is to find a cure for one of it’s most lethal killers, cancer. Dr. Dominic D’Agostino recently conducted research that could change the fight against cancer as we know it. Consider these findings to understand how the keto diet may be the cure humanity has been searching for:

  • All cells require glucose (sugar) for fuel

  • When glucose is deprived, healthy cells revert to using ketones for fuel

  • Cancer cells do not make this same switch - they only respond to glucose

  • Diets low in carbs can potentially starve cancer cells since they need sugar to thrive

  • A ketogenic diet with little to no sugar may be the key to defeating cancer

While Dr. D’Agostino’s research proved that keto starves cancer cells in rats, only time will tell if the effects can be replicated across major forms of cancer in humans. To learn more about Dr. D’Agostino’s research, listen to him explain it on the Bodybuilding.com Podcast:

The Many Forms of the Ketogenic Diet

The basic concept of the keto diet works well for some, but it was only a matter of time before other people with different needs developed their own variations. These variations cater to athletes, weight lifters, those who are trying to slim down, and other groups who want to follow a slightly different variation of the keto diet. To discover more about the variations of the keto diet and how they differ, check out the article on the seven main types of keto in our Advanced Guide to the Ketogenic Diet, or review the examples below.

  • Standard Ketogenic Diet (SKD)

  • Very-low-carb Ketogenic Diet (VLCKD)

  • Well Formulated Ketogenic Diet (WFKD)

  • MCT Ketogenic Diet (MCTKD)

  • Calorie-restricted Ketogenic Diet (CRKD)

  • Cyclical Ketogenic Diet (CKD)

  • Targeted Ketogenic Diet (TKD)

  • High Protein Ketogenic Diet (HPKD)

A Bright Future for the Ketogenic Diet

It’s rare for a diet or lifestyle to garner so much interest in both the medical community and fitness community. Whether keto emerges as the cancer cure of the future or remains a highly effective weight loss diet remains to be seen. But with researchers continuing to explore the uses and benefits of the ketogenic diet, it’s likely to remain a hot topic well into the future.

Ready to Experience the Power of Ketosis for Yourself?

From its roots as a method of controlling the “sacred disease” in 400 BC to modern research that suggests it may cure humanity’s greatest threat, the ketogenic diet has made an undeniable impact on society. With support from influencers and those who make organic keto products that promote its effectiveness, it’s likely that this revolutionary diet that changes how our body processes energy will be around for a long time to come.