fad | fad | noun
an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities; a craze.
In his now famous TED talk, Simon Sinek asks us an important question:
"Why is it that Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright Brothers will be remembered for all of time, while everyone else won’t?"
The secret, he says, is in this simple drawing:
The most successful start right in the center, the why, and communicate out. They start with their reason for existence, their Raison D’etre. It begins with the mission and what they believe deep down inside.
Now look at everyone else. They start with the what. Any company or person can explain what they do. Heck, some can explain how they do it.
But most of us have no clue why we do what we do.
What does this have to do with diets? More than you think.
Take any fad diet out there. The Mediterranean Diet. Whole 30. Paleo. All of these start out with The Rules. The do’s and don’ts. Eat this, but gosh darnit don’t eat that!
They give you the tools. The shopping list. A daily meal plan. Maybe some recipes or some instructional videos.
This is the what and then the how. But why should we follow these diets?? Most have no answer, other than of course to lose weight.
The Keto Diet – or Keto Lifestyle as we’d say – is different. It’s the only one that starts with the why.
Eating keto induces a metabolic pathway in which your body runs off ketones instead of glucose. That's it.
You are starving the brain of glucose and inducing a survival energy mechanism. It’s same process that kicks in when we fast or starve ourselves. Pretty cool, eh?
You are not “on the diet” because you ate this or didn’t eat that. You are either in ketosis or you are not. This is defined by your body’s production of ketones at a concentration above .5 mMol.
Once you reach ketosis, you are changing your blood chemistry. This is the science behind keto’s reported benefits: weight control, increased energy levels, heightened mental focus, just to name a few.
The Ketogenic lifestyle changes lives and there is a ton of evidence to support it.
Okay, we get it. But so do many other diets. Why does Keto really exist?
For that, let’s turn to evolution.
When you and I were roaming the plains in ancient times, we had one goal. FOOD. Okay, sex too, but you get the point.
We often went 3, 4, 5 days between meals. Starvation was a natural state.
But now think what it took to get a hearty meal. Say… A Wooly Mammoth (YUM).
Humans weren't all that fast. We certainly weren't stronger than our prey. We didn't have bazookas back then. We had to be smarter.
We had to set traps. Build tools. And when that moment for the kill came, we needed laser focus. Else… STOMP… our genes are erased for all of time.
But how could a glucose-starved brain take down a Mammoth? Remember it’s been 5 days since our last meal.
The secret is Ketosis.
By evolving the ability to harvest our fat for fuel, our energy-hog brains stayed sharp for days on end.
The ones who could do this best got the kill. They stayed alive and reproduced. And so on until this very day.
Think about that the next time you read an article by someone denouncing the Keto Diet is “unsafe” and “unnatural.” We wouldn’t exist without it!
We may not be hunting Wooly Mammoths these days, but Ketosis is no artifact.
Each of us spends our first few months of life on Ketosis (keto critics included!)
It’s no coincidence that this happens when our brains are adapting at a crazy rate. Keto is the developing human's natural state.
So that’s the why. Now for the how. The good news is we don’t have to starve ourselves for days on end.
A diet that restricts carbs to <25g per day and maintains a 70/20 calorie ratio of fat to protein will get most people into ketosis within a couple days.
Now what you eat, well, it is very restrictive. You can’t have bread, apples, or potatoes. No sugar of any kind. No beans. Not even hummus!
Trust us, it’s a hard diet to follow. But it’s more than worth it.
Now back to those fad diets. They all have something in common – they’re all arbitrary. Remember, they lack the why behind them. They certainly don’t have the most powerful force in the universe – evolution – to back them up.
Let's take a closer look at what makes a fad diet.
There are three types of fad diets:
1) The I Ate Like This for Thirty Days and it Was Amazing and Now You Should too Diet.
This diet starts with a personal experiment. The creator is trying to lose weight or supercharge their life in some way. Maybe they have a nutrition background. Maybe not.
The creator blogs about how the experiment changed their lives and they had to share it with the world. It goes viral. They get rich. And we all hope to get their same results.
The problem of course is it is based on a single person’s experience. It’s N=1. Our individual biochemistry is very different person-to-person and we can never be sure of all the factors that contributed to their success.
The Whole30 diet is the latest popular diet that fits in this category.
2) The Let’s Look at What Some Civilizations Did a Thousand Years Ago and Eat Like They Did Diet
Paleo tells you to eat like a caveman did. Its inventors astutely noted that ancient populations had almost no incidence of cancer, heart disease, stroke, or neurodegenerative disease.
These are the big killers today – you are 80% likely to die from one of these four.
They also astutely noted that caveman were generally fit and athletic, and we are generally fat slobs today.
So they thought, it must be their diet. Those damn grains are to blame!
The problem here is it attempts causality through correlation. Maybe caveman were fit because they walked an average of 12 miles per day back then. Maybe they avoided those diseases by just dying too early...
3) The It Was Created by a Doctor So it Must Be Good Diet
This one comes from someone credentialed in the field, be it a doctor or dietician. It may be based on rigorous clinical studies or just their general knowledge and experience.
The South Beach Diet, for example, was developed in the mid-1990s by celebrity doctor Arthur Agatston with the assistance of Marie Almon, the former chief dietitian at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach, Florida. And per Wikipedia: Like other fad diets, it may have elements which are generally recognized as sensible, but it promises benefits not backed by supporting evidence or sound science.
The Atkins diet is another famous example. The low-carb diet founded in 1972 by Dr. Robert Atkins is a curious one – it has stood the test of time and is still popular after all those decades. Here’s a little secret… it’s at its core a ketogenic diet.
These all feel pretty arbitrary don’t they?
Every diet defines itself then really by one thing: what you can and can’t eat. Paleo: eat meat, but don’t touch that milk. Whole30: eat “real food”, but absolutely no booze. Why? BECAUSE WE SAID SO.
The truth is many diets are actually pretty good. Many people do lose weight on them. But once the “objective” is complete, what do they do? Yep, go right back to old habits. That’s why all diets become fads in the end.
Keto may not be for everyone. It’s hard to follow and restrictive. And we only have a few studies on the long-term use of the diet.
But there is no denying the science. From weight loss to epilepsy cure to Type-II diabetes reversal, keto continues to prove the power of diet.
Keto has completely changed the way we look at diet and nutrition. It’s taught us that fats can be good. That we’ve been looking at carbs the wrong way. It’s shown us that diet can sometimes be more effective than drugs in curing diseases.
Keto has taught us that in a world of overabundance, living the fasted state is good for the mind and body.
The Bottom Line
Keto is no fad. It’s a complete scientific breakthrough.
And that’s why it’s here to stay.
At Earthside Farms, we believe Keto isn't a diet.
It’s a lifestyle.
To your health,
Ben & Brandon
Disclaimer: This website provides general information and discussions about health, nutrition and related subjects. The information and other content provided in this blog, or in any linked materials, are not intended and should not be construed as medical advice, nor is the information a substitute for professional medical expertise or treatment. If you or any other person has a medical concern, you should consult with your health care provider or seek other professional medical treatment. Ben & Brandon are not doctors, registered dieticians or registered nutritionists.