The prominent rise of the keto diet continues to scale new heights. New followers of this amazing diet are crowding the internet more and more every day with their statements and testimonials of how the keto lifestyle has aided them in losing weight quickly, managing diabetes, killing the unwanted sugar addictions, getting mental clarity, increasing their endurance during intense workout sessions and generally promoting a healthy lifestyle. These are just part of the captivating success stories that have convinced thousands if not millions that the Ketogenic lifestyle is the only way to go: a scientific remedy that’s purely founded on helping and healing millions of people all over the world. But what exactly is the history of this trendy diet? How did it start? Who created it? Why is it so popular? These are some of the few questions that even the committed followers of the keto diet can barely answer. Fortunately, that will not be the case after this reading this article.
Before delving into the history of Ketogenic diet, it is perhaps crucial to note that not many people would have believed that a high-fat, low-carb diet would do anything apart from raising their cholesterol and weight two decades ago. Fast forward to today, we probably all know someone in our circles that has successfully used the Ketogenic diet or at least something similar to it, such as Paleo. The Ketogenic diet has a long-entrenched history. It has been used by the medical community for nearly a century and believe it or not, this is not another passing diet trend.
What is a Ketogenic Diet?
In a very simple term, the Ketogenic diet works by promoting fats over sugar. It basically works by completely removing sugar – white sugar (sucrose), fruit sugar (fructose), milk sugar (lactose) and blood sugar (carb-derived glucose) – from your diet. In other words, it is a diet that is based on removing sugary foods and any other high-carb food from your diet and instead restricting you to taking foods full of healthy fatty acids such as avocado, nuts, eggs, meat, fish and cheese.
The Origin of the Keto Diet
Keto might have become extremely popular in recent years, but it is a diet that has been used to successfully treat concrete diseases such as epilepsy for the last 100 years. The term ketosis was first used by endocrinologist Rollin Woodyatt when he discovered that three water-soluble compounds; acetoacetate, β-hydroxybutyrate and acetone (collectively known as ketone bodies) would be produced by the liver due to starvation (fasting) or as a result of taking a diet low in carbohydrates and rich in fats.
Coincidentally, Dr. Russell Wilder of the Mayo Clinic was also carrying out the same research in 1921 and came up with a revolutionary ketogenic diet that he used in treating epilepsy. Wilder noted that even though fasting was effective in treating epileptic seizures, it was not sustainable. He consequently settled on having an epileptic patient eating (diet rich in fats and low in carbs) regularly to produce ketone bodies in the blood instead of fasting.
Soon after Dr. Wilder had blown the door open, another physician at the Mayo Clinic by the name Dr. Peterman came up with a standardized metric of how the ketogenic diet would look:
-10 to 15 grams of carbs per day
-1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight
-The remaining calories should be healthy fats
This magnificent diet became a godsend remedy to those struggling with epilepsy as it increased alertness and decreased irritability.
Fading in Popularity
The ketogenic diet was widely popular for the next two decades and was the best weapon in fighting epilepsy until the first antiepileptic drug hit the stores in 1938. The diet faded in popularity for the next five decades as epilepsy patients discarded the strict diet and instead chose to rely on the anti-epileptic drugs. During this period, it had not occurred to many people that the ketogenic diet could be used for purposes other than treating epilepsy.
Bringing it Back to Light
Many years passed until 1994 when a heartfelt reality episode of Dateline followed the life of a grief-stricken boy named, Charlie Abrahams who had suffered from never-ending epileptic seizures for the first two years of his life. His father, Jim Abrahams, who was a movie producer in Hollywood, together with his mother, Nancy Abrahams tried everything including; anti-epileptic drugs, spiritual faith, healing, brain surgery and homeopathic medicine, but all were in vain.
Charlie’s rescue came only after Jim (his dad) discovered the ketogenic diet while reading about previous epilepsy cure. He then took young Charlie to John Hopkins University Hospital where he was placed under the ketogenic diet and received instant positive results. Charlie was able to control his severe seizures and improved significantly in terms of his cognitive development.
Jim was mystified and started the Charlie Foundation to help other families that were going through such a similar torment. It was through this foundation and Jim’s effort that the ketogenic diet came back to the notoriety it is enjoying today. By financing various researches on the benefits of ketogenic diet, Jim’s efforts paid off as it was discovered that the ketogenic diet is a powerful diet not just for those suffering from epilepsy, but also for those fighting weight and those who want to live a healthy lifestyle.
Celebrities Associated with the Ketogenic Diet
Even though they may be endorsing the keto diet knowingly or unknowingly, some celebrities who are associated with this wonderful diet include; reality TV star Kim Kardashian, supermodel Adriana Lima, Hollywood actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Megan Fox.
It is pretty much clear that the ketogenic diet is not a diet fad that came to existence without much thinking or critical analysis. Instead, it is a holistic diet with a long entrenched history dating back nearly 100 year ago and is certainly here to stay. It is purely guided by scientific truth and tailored to help and heal people, and not influenced by the need to make money.
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