As the low-carbohydrate, high-fat ketogenic, or “keto,” diet gains popularity among those looking to lose weight, GoFresh in Turlock hopes to inform the community about the latest health fad that seems to have taken the world by storm.
GoFresh, which provides the public with healthy, pre-cooked meals for conscious eating on the go, also focuses on educating its customers on different wellness trends, inspiring the business to host its upcoming event, “Keto 101: The Basics of Keto,” on Oct. 5. After trying keto himself for a year and noticing its increasing popularity, GoFresh Nutritional Wellness Coordinator Ryan Sullivan said he wanted to make sure community members had all the facts before they gave the diet a try themselves.
“Our main goal is to inform the community and educate the community on different health trends and how to be healthy,” Sullivan said. “We’re doing this because keto is popular and we want to make sure people are getting the right information on what keto is and how to do it.”
In essence, the keto diet is a very low-carb, high fat diet that involves drastically reducing carbohydrate intake and replacing it with fat, putting the body into a metabolic state called ketosis. When this happens, the body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy, rather than glucose, and also turns fat into ketones in the liver, which can supply energy for the brain. The diet can also cause massive reductions in blood sugar and insulin levels.
The quick weight loss that tends to come with the keto diet has spurred thousands of cookbooks, blogs, social media pages and YouTube channels all hailing the lifestyle as the “holy grail” of health, Sullivan said, but with so many different “experts” on the topic, it’s hard to set apart fact from fiction.
“Right now keto is so popular that you have Instagram celebrities saying one thing that’s wrong, or Joe down the street who says he does keto but is eating 100 grams of carbs per day,” he said. “There are a lot of different concepts and we just want to clarify not the correct way of doing keto, but the most helpful way of doing keto.”
The ketogenic diet is broad; depending on your activity level, you may be able to eat more carbs than you originally thought possible to stay in ketosis. The standard ketogenic diet typically calls for no more than 20 grams of carbs per day, with the remaining 20 to 30 percent of the day’s calories coming from protein and 70 to 80 percent coming from fat.
Some menu items from GoFresh that are considered keto-friendly include their sloppy joe dish, which is ground beef and garlic cauliflower, or the shrimp pasta, which features the shellfish alongside zucchini noodles and a creamy alfredo sauce.
“In the United States we have the ‘SAD’ diet, or the standard American diet, which is mostly carbs,” Sullivan said. “The biggest hurdle with keto is rethinking what you’re going to eat. Like for breakfast, a lot of us grew up on oatmeal and cereal which can be high in sugar and carbs and end up causing those crashes.”
There have been benefits connected with the keto diet, but downsides as well.
According to Harvard Medical School, the ketogenic diet has been proven to reduce seizures in children, sometimes as effectively as medication. Because of this, studies have been commissioned to measure the effect of the diet on other brain disorders such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, sleep disorders, autism and even brain cancer.
In addition, the diet has been shown to improve blood sugar control for patients with type 2 diabetes as well as decrease cholesterol levels over time.
Research also shows that weight loss — the primary reason that most go on the keto diet — is faster compared to those on a traditional low-fat diet; however, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time according to Harvard.
The diet can cause problems for those that attempt it, like the “keto flu” which occurs as a result of lost electrolytes due to less carbohydrate consumption. There is little known about the diet’s long-term effects as well, and some nutritionists question the amounts of processes and salty foods that the diet tends to contain.
“I think keto is popular because people think it’s the perfect diet that leads to weight loss and fat loss, but in reality, there is no perfect diet,” Sullivan said. “It’s about finding the diet that allows you to accomplish your goals, whether it be fat loss or sport performance.”
Many fast food restaurants have begun catering to the keto customer as the trend grows, Sullivan pointed out, like In-N-Out Burger and other hamburger chains that wrap their burgers in lettuce rather than using a bun, or some sushi restaurants that provide patrons with cauliflower rice instead of white rice. In Turlock, Las Casuelas even offers a “low-carb” menu where customers can order lettuce wrapped tacos and other keto-friendly items.
With quick fixes like these, the diet is more than sustainable, Sullivan said.
“It’s one of those diets where you can go on it for as long as you want, but you have to be willing to give up certain things obviously,” he said. “You can always adapt and create habits to help you succeed.”
At the GoFresh Keto 101 seminar, Sullivan encourages those curious about the diet to attend with an open mind. The event will be hosted from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at GoFresh in Turlock, 2103 Fulkerth Rd., and tickets can be purchased for $10 at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/keto-101-the-basics-of-keto-tickets-49820001967
“The keto seminar isn’t me saying, ‘Hey, keto is the way to go.’ It’s just me saying, ‘Hey, if you’re interested in keto you can try it, these are what some of the benefits are and these are some of the negative things you may have to put up with,’” Sullivan said. “Be prepared to be given information that will allow you to make the choice of whether you want to be keto or not.”