SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) — The Keto diet craze. Is it all that it’s cracked up to be? The high fat, low carb and moderate protein diet has quickly become the most popular weight loss plan in America.
Intermountain Healthcare has one of the only dietitians in Utah who is a keto expert. Tara Finnerty is a registered dietitian who works for Intermountain and works at Primary Children’s Hospital.
For years she’s used the keto diet for children who suffer epileptic seizures at Primary Children’s Hospital. When done right, she says, the keto diet can help people with diabetes, obesity, and who are insulin resistant.
“The Ketogenic diet is unlike any diet ever existed,” said Finnerty.
Keto expert Tara Finnerty says by reducing carbs and sugar you force the body to burn fat.
“Just like you can drive up to a gas station and you can choose regular or high octane fuel. Honestly, our cells have that capability to do that as well.”
Finnerty is an early adopter of the keto diet which calls for under 50 grams of carbohydrates a day.
“It allows the body to tap into a new fuel source that being ketones or fat,” said Finnerty.
She says people make common mistakes and become over-restrictive.
“Instead of low carbs, they’ll go no carb. Probably the biggest mistake is that they take away carbs and say well I’m hungry and increase protein. When actually Keto, by definition, you take away the carb and replace it with fat,” said Finnerty.
Finnerty said that doesn’t mean adding bacon.
“When I help clients do keto correctly I tell them to eat plenty of vegetables, eat quality protein and healthy fats. Minimize simple sugar and processed food, simple carbs, refined foods.”
There is no one size fits all. Within the keto diet, there are variations and you make adjustments that work for you, she says.
“As long as people are nourished and eating the right food it’s a very healthy diet.”
Experts warn like any diet, if not done properly, it can lead to health issues and hurt your metabolism.
Finnerty said the diet is sustainable once it becomes a habit.
She said people give up too early. It takes planning and time to prepare your meals and not to just grab processed foods.