• By Ian Roth

Mayo Clinic Minute: Why the keto diet is more hype than help for most people

October 17, 2018

Most people could stand to drop a few pounds, but it's always harder to get the weight off than people expect. So when you hear about people losing a ton of weight over a short period of time on the latest low-carb diet craze, the keto diet, it sounds like the magic formula.

"People want to believe," says Dr. Donald Hensrud, author of The Mayo Clinic Diet Book. "They want an easy way out. They want the magic panacea."

But Dr. Hensrud says the keto diet isn't new, and it's not the magic formula people think it is.

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"We've known for a long period of time that when you decrease carbohydrate intake markedly, the body starts to use fat," Dr. Hensrud says. "And when you burn fat, you produce ketones, and the body goes into ketosis."

He says it will help you drop weight. The problem is what happens after most people lose the initial weight.

"Long term, it's hard," Dr. Hensrud says. "People miss some fruits, different vegetables, grains. It's hard. It becomes a very restrictive diet. So although people lose weight initially, maintaining it and keep it off long term is a real challenge on a keto diet."

Instead, Dr. Hensrud recommends focusing on a healthier lifestyle with exercise; portion control; and a diet with more fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You might not lose weight quite as quickly, but it will be healthier for your body long term.

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