Ketogenic diets are all the rage right now. Even Mark Sisson who has routinely advised against ketogenic diets, is releasing a new book, The Keto Reset Diet.
Alternatively, high carb diets are also making a comeback. Rusty Moore is offering his High Carb Fat Loss course for just $17 if you'd like the lowdown on a high carb diet with many real-world examples, meal plans, etc.
Steve Cooksey, the Diabetes Warrior, is advocating a nearly all-meat diet using intermittent fasting a la The Snake Diet and seeing great results.
If I had to recommend one of these three approaches, it would be Rusty's High Carb Fat Loss. Here's why.
Many people struggle to lose weight and need a more structured diet. My Potato Hack has helped thousands of people lose weight over the past couple years...I know it works if you can stick to the protocol. But for a long-term weight loss or maintenance diet many people need more than the Potato Hack.
Simply cutting calories on whatever diet you are currently eating can have mixed results. SAD dieters are not eating quality foods, so just eating less crap (processed snack foods, fast food, etc...) does not have the desired effect. It makes you grumpy and hungry and unlikely to succeed.
A high fat diet, sometimes called a "keto" or "ketogenic" diet is, in my opinion, the worst diet plan ever devised. By all accounts, and even the keto-gurus agree, ketogenic diets take several weeks to implement to become a fat-adapted. During the phase-in period, you will get brain-fog, flu-like symptoms, and you will very likely develop breath that smells of ketones, often compared to cat urine.
The biggest drawback of the keto diet is that it's all-or-nothing. If you cheat, you lose your ability to burn fat and must spend several more weeks becoming fat-adapted, a time which make you extremely vulnerable to incipient weight regain. Mark Sisson's Primal Blueprint is a low carb, fairly sane way of eating that allows 20% "off-plan" eating...thousands and thousands of people have benefited from the Primal Blueprint over the past decade. Why Mark would abandon this tried-and-true whole food approach is beyond me.
Additionally, the keto diet is not guaranteed to show results. Jimmy Moore, the original keto guru, struggles with body fat and poor metabolic markers. Richard Nikoley at Free the Animal writes about Jimmy frequently, and even has a Facebook page devoted to the lunacy of keto dieting.
High Protein Diet
Steve Cooksey has been eating a carnivorous diet for much of the past year and reporting normal blood glucose readings despite his Type 2 Diabetes. He eats most of his meat cooked simply, very rare, and over a fire. He exercises like a mad-man, possibly even surpassing me in daily pull-ups!
There are no diet books for an all-meat diet. There are no studies describing the effects of meat-only. You just have to take a leap of faith like Steve did. Down deep I believe this diet will lead to kidney problems and gut issues, but secretly I'm rooting for Steve to succeed. His target audience is diabetics, and he's teaching them that the American Diabetes Association guidelines are not the best way to beat diabetes.
I don't know if an all-meat diet is "all-or-nothing" like the keto diet, but I assume that if one at very high levels of meat and cheated with SAD staples like French fries, cookies, and ice cream, then the results would be a disaster. And I have no idea what all-meat does to the gut...perhaps we can develop a gut flora that is protective of inflammation and produces a health immune system when eating lots of rare meat. Raw meat is full of glycogen, a form of animal fiber.
High Carb/Low Fat
The Potato Hack is a perfect example of a high carb/low fat diet. This type of diet can also be achieved using any starchy veggie as the base of your meals and augmenting with non-fatty fruit and veggies. You don't even need to shun meat, leaner cuts like chicken, turkey, and fish are complementary to High Carb/Low Fat.
The drawback is that many foods are off-the-table. Most dairy, fatty meat, oils, nuts, nut butters, and avocados for instance. The plus-side is that HC/LF is not all-or-nothing. One could cycle meals or days of HF/LC into their normal diet and see results. We are all adapted to burning carbs by default...no reprogramming needed, no cat-pee breath, and no keto-flu or brain-fog. Where one could get in trouble with HC/LF is when they are not truly LF. "L" in this instance means very low...like under 30g of fat per day...a handful of peanuts will blow it for you. Most of the foods you eat must have under 2-3g per serving, but preferably 0g.
I've spent the past week eating a HC/LF diet and I am surprised how easy it is. I absolutely love eating beans, rice, or potatoes at every meal and I haven't minded giving up the big servings of meat I've become accustomed to over the past several years. It's made me realize that I eat far too few fruits and veggies and way too much fat. Fat has been about 50% of my daily calories over the past several years. I think it would be easier to maintain a lower weight with less fat in my diet.
What I really love about HC/LF is the effects it has on the gut flora. A diet filled with grains, plants, and fruit is the gold-standard for developing a healthy gut.
If you are looking to shake things up in your life with a new diet...give High Carb/Low Fat a try for a couple weeks.
There are lots of diets out there. A whole food, wide variety is good, especially if you watch calories and exercise daily. But if you still struggle with weight loss, you are confronted with a plethora of diet strategies that make your head spin.
I would avoid the keto diet like the plague...despite it's selling power, it's a loser of a diet. If you want to emulate Steve Cooksey and eat nothing but meat, I cannot guarantee the results. If you are looking for a tried-and-true diet with lots of populations that ate exactly this way (and still do), then look no further than a diet filled with veggies, fruit, and lean meat.
In the end, just about ANY diet is better than the sugar, oil, and processed-grain-filled SAD diet. And bonus points go to those who have a good exercise routine as well!