The Keto Diet Explained


The Keto Diet Explained – Q&A With Oliver Smith


The Ketogenic diet, or keto as it’s commonly called is getting a huge amount of traction these days, with many celebrities joining the bandwagon including Kim Kardashian, Mick Jagger, LeBron James, Halle Berry, Tom Jones... to name just a few. Unlike other fad diets, there has been substantial research carried out on the ketogenic diet and it has been around for nearly a hundred years! 


I first came across the ketogenic diet 14 years ago, when my son was diagnosed with epilepsy. Initially, my preconception that fats are bad deterred us from trying it out. However, after witnessing how heavy doses of anti-convulsing drugs were affecting his development, I revisited the diet six years ago. After doing extensive research and experimenting with the diet myself, I discovered that it not only benefits people with epilepsy but everything from type II diabetes, arthritis, to skin conditions. After discovering the powerful effects of this diet, I have included it in my weight loss program alongside kinesiology treatments and exercise, which has not only helped clients lose weight, but has greatly improved their general state of health.


Here are a few commonly asked questions regarding the ketogenic diet and my program:


Could you describe briefly what is the Ketogenic Diet?

Typically, it’s referred to a high fat, moderate protein and very low carbohydrate diet. Nowadays, it’s quite far from the original version, which was extremely high in fats, and calorie restricted. What we call keto now is any dietary approach that will turn the body into burning fats as its primary fuel source.


Can this diet be harmful?

Any dietary changes must be dealt with caution. Children with epilepsy are generally put on the diet for 3 years, and so far, no adverse effects on health have been shown. Temporary side effects may occur during the initial adaptation period, mainly due to the loss of sodium, but increasing salt intake and other electrolytes usually does the trick. A well formulated keto diet is very nutrient dense and shouldn’t lead to any deficiency.


Fruit and vegetables aren’t fatty, does that mean they are not part of the diet?

Vegetables are essential as they are packed with vitamins, minerals and fibers, but starchy ones should be avoided because of their high carb content. Most fruits are high in fructose, a sugar that triggers fat storage, and should be avoided. However low carb fruits such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lemons can be consumed with moderation.


Can anyone be on this diet?

Most people do very well on this diet, but people with the following conditions should avoid a low carb diet: porphyria, pyruvate carboxylase deficiency, genetic disorder of fat metabolism. If you are under any medications, you should consult with your primary care physician first.


Is the diet difficult to implement?

Not really, but there’s a learning curve. It should be a lifestyle rather than a diet. It can take up to 6 months to really wrap your head around it, enabling you to eat outside easily.


How will it help me lose weight?

Fats are very satiating, making you less hungry throughout the day. By stabilizing insulin levels, consuming fats and training your body to use that as a primary fuel source, actually prevents lipogenesis (fat storage) and promotes lipolysis (fat burning)(Dashti and al, 2004, JAMA, 2018).


Should I avoid saturated fats?

Until recently, saturated fats have been vilified , but the amount of evidence showing their safety and their importance is now overwhelming (Annals of Internal Medicine 2014, The Lancet 2017). Just like monounsaturated fats (e.g. olive oil) and Omega-3 oils (from oily fish), saturated fats (e.g. butter, coconut oil) should be opted for! On the other hand, polyunsaturated oils such as canola(Domenico Praticò and al, 2017), corn, grape seed oils should be kept to a minimum as they are highly inflammatory (Calder, 2006).


Is this diet suitable for athletes?

Studies of low carb diets and its positive effects on sports performance have also been revisited. While the body is able to store about 2000 Kcal in the form of sugar and glycogen, it can store more than 40,000 Kcal in the form of fat! This spikes interest among many sportspeople, especially endurance athletes(Volek and al, 2015, McSwiney and al, 2017)


If I stop this diet, will I regain all the weight I have lost?

Everybody has heard about the yoyo effect. You go on a diet, lose weight, stop, and regain everything back and usually more. This is common with every diet, if you go back to your old habits. Therefore, a successful diet requires a change of lifestyle, which is a lifetime commitment. After the weight loss phase, it can be relaxed to a maintenance phase where only monitoring and fine tuning is required to sustain your weight.


What type of exercise will be most complementary?

Exercising is crucial to ensure muscle mass is maintained or increased during weight loss. Lots of the recent research in sports science show High Intensity Interval Training to be the most effective for weight loss and overall health(Boutcher et Al, 2010).


How does kinesiology fit into this intervention?

Stress is an incredible obstacle for weight loss and achieving good health in general. Emotional blockages, negative beliefs, poor self-esteem are very powerful forces that can sabotage one's weight loss journey. Kinesiology works very well on dealing with these mental issues while also addressing gastrointestinal stress, poor thyroid function, nutritional deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, that generally prevent weight loss.


Oliver runs a successful Keto program at Kinesiology Asia in partnership with Eatology. Hundreds of clients have already experienced the Ketogenic health benefits in their life. Read more about the program at