Brief History of the Ketogenic Diet

Published: 2 months ago

Brief History of the Ketogenic Diet

Many people are suspicious of even just hearing the word ‘diet’ nowadays. So much nonsense and lousy advice have been pushed down our throats that it can be hard to put faith into anything related to the term. However, we hope to use a brief history of the Ketogenic diet to convince you of the fact that it is legitimately good for you! 

Noticing the trend 

Since intermittent fasting forces your body to produce ketone from your stored fat to make up for the lack of sugar in your system, its health benefits were relatively easy to spot early on in human history. Even Ancient Greek records of fasting being used to treat diseases, and Hippocrates even put it down as the only known treatment for epilepsy in his time. Something that would not be confirmed by more ‘modern’ medicine for an embarrassingly long period. It was only in the 1920s that this was once more used to battle epilepsy as a widespread method.

The original

It is impossible to cover the brief history of the Ketogenic diet without mentioning the first time it was actually suggested as such. Typically, this act is credited to one doctor Harvey, treating a local undertaker, William Banting, for extreme obesity. The good doctor prescribed a low carbohydrate diet focused on fatty meats, alongside small amounts of fruit and the occasional piece of toast to the patient. Interestingly, this would also be the first attempt to combine exercise with keto, though it was not known at the time since Banting was also directed to exercise. The popularity of the Ketogenic diet exploded from here on out. In large part because Banting did, in fact, successfully lose over fifty pounds of weight.

A fish meal

Note that fish is not, in fact, a good replacement for fatty meats.

Medical advantages

Interestingly, the Ancient Greeks had a pretty good grasp of the effects of the Ketogenic diet. We must mention this in the brief history of the Ketogenic diet to show how far back it goes. Modern medicine remained skeptical of its effects until it was proven to help with various medical conditions in the 1900s. The diet was used to battle type one and type two diabetes even before it was used to battle epilepsy by ‘modern’ medicine. Before then, it was widely considered helpful to one’s health to refrain from eating certain foods. Or, in other words, fasting when suffering from various conditions. Although anything taken to excess is, naturally, harmful. The medical advantages of the Ketogenic diet could not be denied even when official medical practices ignored it.

Explosion of popularity

It wasn’t until the growing popularity of bodybuilding swept over the world that the Ketogenic diet got to shine, however. In the late 1930s and 1940s, weight lifting was finally recognized as a sport in its own right, rather than being something ‘base’ and ‘shameful .’It was also around this time that the pursuit of a muscular form was normalized. More and more people, though at the time predominantly men, grew interested in the diet as more than treatment. Two figures spread the effectiveness of the diet by recommending it as part of their routines. Namely, Rheo H. Blair and Vince Gironda. Their successes and the obvious example of the integrity of their words finally made the world accept just how beneficial the diet can be if appropriately introduced.

Building muscle, an important part of the history of the Ketogenic diet

Building muscle is easier while on this diet.

How the diet works

The whole point of the Ketogenic diet is to restrict your intake of carbohydrates and protein. All while consuming food high in fat. Now, note this is extremely important. Since most ‘modern’ and ‘popular’ diets would have you eat nothing or nutritiously useless foods instead. It is this balance between lacking protein and carbs that forces your body to convert its own body’s fat into ketones in a bid to make up for lacking glucose reserves. And why is this so good for us? Well, ketones have a variety of positive effects on one’s body. To the point that they can even slow down cognitive decline and memory loss. It is the whole reason why the keto diet is great for your health!

Meat and eggs

This diet requires the consumption of meat and eggs.

Changes over time

The basic premise of the diet holds throughout the history of the Ketogenic diet. Namely, striking the right balance between fat, protein, and carbs, people have played around with the exact percentages. The ‘original’ version of the diet roughly boils down to fat, making up ninety percent. Protein makes up six, and carbs are four percent of one’s diet. Some versions of the diet dial up the protein to thirty percent and carbs to as much as ten percent of the diet, with fat making up only sixty percent. Does this mean the effectiveness of the diet has suffered? No. Some versions of the diet were introduced to help people get started before switching to the ‘original.’ Or are more effective for certain body types. As long as you stay healthy and know how to pack food, and have the right containers to prevent spoilage, the diet will do you good.

Modern applications

The final part of our brief history of the Ketogenic diet pays its due respects to the present. In the past, the major emphasis of the diet was on the health benefits. Nowadays, it’s mostly a way to regulate one’s weight, with the health benefits being secondary. Of course, this hardly means they are not appreciated. In a world that’s been swamped by fake and genuinely harmful diets, wanting to get on the Keto diet is without a doubt the best choice.  Rare is the diet that can genuinely do something good for your health while also making your waistline look amazing!

Final Word

Now that you understand the brief history of the Ketogenic diet, you should also understand that keto is a legitimate diet. A lot of history and medical theory back up both its effectiveness and usefulness. So, you don’t need to be afraid to get on it!

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