Tech & Science dictionary

keto

What does keto mean?

Keto is short for ketogenic, referring to a diet that is low in carbohydrates but high in protein.

While originating as a medical diet, it's popularly associated with weight loss.

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Examples of keto
I haven’t watched Homecoming yet because I don’t want to be inspired. I’m trying to have another week of post-book laziness and I don’t want to be out here keto-vegan, working out, setting goals...
@Basseyworld, April, 2019
... as a general weight-loss plan, keto is more controversial. Some health experts warn against it entirely, citing unpleasant side effects, health risks, and the diet’s unsustainable nature. Even many keto proponents admit that, if the diet’s not done “the right way,” it can be the opposite of healthy.
Amanda MacMillan, Health, October, 2018
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Where does keto come from?
Best Food Facts

All protein and fat, all the time. That’s essentially the idea of the keto, or ketogenic, diet.

Ketogenic is the adjective of ketogenesis, a Greek-based word dating back to 1910–15 and literally meaning “producing ketone bodies.”

To put it simply, the keto diet has the body get energy from fat (which the liver converts into fatty acids and ketone bodies) rather than carbohydrates (broken down and stored as glucose). This diet dates to the 1920s; it was originally prescribed to help treat epilepsy.

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The classic keto diet is medical and therapeutic, carried out in consultation with doctors and dietitians. It declined throughout the 20th century, but saw a revival after Hollywood director Jim Abrahams saw success with it in the 1990s in treating his son’s epilepsy.

In the health and wellness boom in the 2000s, keto has come to refer to a popular diet approach that’s low in carbs and high in fats and proteins. Leanne Vogelfor instance, published her popular cookbook, The Keto Diet, in 2017.

Who uses keto?

Keto can refers to the traditional diet as well as foods, recipes, and dietary approaches that are inspired by its general low-carb, high-fat/protein principles.

Outside of medical applications, mainstream followers of keto-inspired diets love it for weight loss. Others have criticized it as a fad—and some medical publications warn that it can cause problems if not properly applied. Always consult your physician, folks.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of keto like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of keto that will help our users expand their word mastery.