The Ketogenic Diet: What You Need to Know

When it comes to resolutions, the new year is an exciting time – especially in regard to our health. Through a balanced eating pattern, there are endless ways to achieve our wellness goals. But there are also endless voices promoting the perceived benefits of diets that embrace some foods and limit (or eliminate) others. As many of us focus on our goal to eat healthier, trendy diets may seem more enticing than developing lifelong, healthful eating habits. One diet that continues to gain a following is the ketogenic diet.

What Is It?

The ketogenic diet – also known as the keto diet – is a low-carb, high-fat diet that promises the fat-burning power of ketosis. It limits grains, legumes and fruit. Originally, it was developed as a treatment for those who suffer from seizures. But in recent years, it’s been embraced by celebrities and so-called experts who often tout a myriad of health benefits – ranging from weight loss to cancer prevention. 

Should I Follow It?

Is this the ideal diet for everyone? Should it be your road map to better health? Maybe not. There is little research on the long-term safety or health benefits and detriments of this diet as a weight-loss plan. Cutting back on certain foods often means missing out on essential nutrients.

It’s important to keep in mind that all food groups – dairy, fruits, vegetables, grains and protein-rich foods – are important to a healthy meal plan because each provides a variety of unique nutrients important for health and well-being. Dairy foods provide high-quality protein, calcium, vitamin D and potassium – nutrients we need and many Americans lack.

Will It Stick?

Research indicates that fad diets don’t work in the long term, and although many of these diets claim to be a healthy eating style, they simply don’t replace the balanced and proportioned eating patterns of MyPlate. Two other popular eating plans – the DASH Diet and the Mediterranean Diet – are also well-balanced. Plus, there’s research to show that adding a little more dairy can maximize the benefits of the Mediterranean Diet. All three of these styles take into account a variety of food groups, cultures and traditions. They are about nourishing your body and soul, not just deprivation. 

Start with a small step to improve your health – it can be as simple as eating more vegetables or getting three servings of dairy each day. Explore the health benefits of dairy or cook up one of our #DairyAmazing recipes at

By Katie McKee, MCN, RDN, LD

Katie has always loved teaching others about the power of nutrition. She has a background in journalism as a reporter, writer and editor and has been part of the Dairy MAX team since 2015. When she's not working, Katie enjoys cooking and spending time with her young son and family. Learn more about Katie

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