Now that I’m no longer grinding away on a speech or film project, I pulled a couple of books on ketogenic diets off my bookshelf and read them. One of them was EZ Keto 123 by Jamie Caporosso. As the title suggests, it’s a quick-and-easy introduction to ketogenic diets.
I like books that keep it simple. I also like books that take me on a deep-dive once a subject has caught my interest, but I like to get started with something simple. That’s why when people ask me to suggest a book on economics, I always mention Henry Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson. You can read the whole thing in an afternoon. If you find you enjoyed the appetizer, you can move on to books by Thomas Sowell for the seven-course meal.
EZ Keto 123 is just 61 pages, and it definitely passes what I call my “Aunt Martha” test: your Aunt Martha could read the book and understand it without having to grab a medical dictionary or biology textbook. In fact, if your Aunt Martha (or co-worker Martha) has noticed you’re slimmer and healthier since switching to ketogenic diet and wants to know what you eat and why the diet works, this the book to give her as a gift.
The first few pages recount Caporosso’s own discovery of how a ketogenic diet improved his weight and health. Despite being a competitive powerlifter and working out like a fiend, he ballooned up to 250 pounds some years ago because of his eat anything not nailed down diet. After a stern warning from his doctor, Caporosso tried losing weight on the diet most of us have tried at least once, if not several times — low-fat, low-calorie, low-satisfaction, high frustration.
After a sympathetic friend handed him a copy of Neanderthin by Ray Audette, he began taking a serious look at the paleo diet, then paleo versions of the ketogenic diet. And the rest is history. He found that a ketogenic diet allowed him to lose the fat while continuing to train hard with weights and recover more quickly than before. (If you’ve heard that people can’t build or maintain muscle mass on a ketogenic diet, I’d suggest you watch the video below. That’s Caporosso.)
Chapter One of EZ Keto 123 is the how-to. You’ll learn about macronutrients and how to adjust them to enter ketosis, of course, but there’s also some good advice about weight loss. And when I say good advice, I mean Caporosso doesn’t make any too-good-to-be-true claims about how you can stuff yourself with all the fat you want and still lose weight. He provides some formulas for calculating your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and also mentions some apps that will do the calculations for you. Using the example of a woman who burns around 1,551 calories per day, he writes this:
The next step is to take a slight deficit from her daily caloric needs. I’ve been successful with the range of 5-10%. What that usually does is give you some nice, slow and steady weight loss, and doesn’t really push your body into a “starvation preservation” mod where it may start slowing your metabolism down because it thinks you are in a famine situation.
Bingo. Slow and steady wins the race. After calculating how much the fictional woman should be eating in a day, Caporosso demonstrates how she can put together meals that fit the ketogenic ratio. In addition to writing the book, Caporosso produced an app for iPhone and Android called KetoCheck that takes the guesswork out of it. Just enter the foods and portion sizes for what you’re eating.
Chapter Two is about dialing it in. There’s a section on using ketone strips, ketone meters and ketone breath strips, tips on avoiding the “keto flu,” and advice on overcoming weight-loss stalls. One example: for some people, too much dairy food causes a stall, even if their food ratios are ketogenic.
Chapter Three consists of common questions and answers. I like this one:
What if I don’t want to do all that math and macro counting? Then don’t. If you want, throw all the calculations to the wind. You could possibly be very successful if every time you were hungry, you just ate meat and green veggies. Unless I’m training for a specific competition, i.e. powerlifting or CrossFit, this is pretty much how I eat.
I like this one too:
Is a ketogenic diet for everyone? No, of course not. No single diet is right for everyone …. A standard paleo diet with a scheduled treat meal may be more realistic for your lifestyle. You can always circle back around and try it again.
The final section includes links to resources and even a few recipes. Quite a lot of information for a 61-page book.
I know Christmas is only a week away, but if you have friends or relatives who have expressed an interest in ketogenic diets but haven’t quite pulled the trigger, this quick-and-easy book would make a nice addition to those presents sitting under the tree. I’d suggest opening it after the pumpkin pie is gone, however.