The Keto Diet and Grass Fed Beef

The Keto craze continues. Millions of Americans are dropping off the pounds with this low-to-no carb diet, and they don’t show signs of stopping. It’s hard to say how many have put themselves on the keto weight-loss plan, but Google can give us some indication of its popularity: In 2018, it was the most ‘searched for’ diet on the internet.

Not to mention, it has spurred whole side industries of diet doctor blogs, how-to videos, cookbooks, and magazines, such as the inimitable The Keto Diet, which features such scrumptious recipes, you’ll forget you’re even on a diet.

The beef industry has, not surprisingly, put its muscle behind Keto in no small part by sponsoring studies promoting low carb diets (a.ka. the Shai-study, which had the financial backing of the pro-beef Atkins Foundation). But it’s impossible to know if beef has gotten a bump from the Keto diet. Are dieters eating more beef? Or are they simply cutting carbs?

The magic of the ketogenic diet lies in the way it tricks the body into thinking it’s fasting. By doing so, the body uses fat, not carbs, as its prime energy source. This process is ketogenesis. It drops ketones into the bloodstream, rather than glucose, to fuel the body.

But complications can arise from any diet, especially a rapid weight-loss diet like Keto, which is why grass-fed beef is going to be a far better option for dieters than grain-fed if dieters want to maintain good health. Here’s why:

A common problem for people first starting out on the ketogenic diet is coming down with the “keto flu,” which happens when electrolytes are flushed out of the system. Grass-fed beef, however, is rich with sodium, potassium, and magnesium — three key electrolytes — and can play an integral role in maintaining the delicate electrolyte balance during the initial weight loss phase.

Grass-fed also contains significantly higher levels of Vitamins A, K, D, E, and CLA, an Omega 6 which helps regulate metabolic rate and lower cholesterol. It’s also up to five times higher in Omega 3, a fatty acid responsible for heart health and cognitive function.

But it’s not just the beef, it’s the butter.  A component of the keto diet is butter, and grass-fed butter has all the vitamins and mineral content of grass-fed beef, not the nutrient-poor butter of grain-fed.

And something any dieter will be happy with: Grass-fed has an overall lower protein/fat ratio than its grain-fed cousin, which means fewer calorie-intake from the get-go, without having to cut portions.

The diet is not all that new — it’s seen many iterations, including the Atkins diet of the 1970s, and was originally formulated in the 19th Century as a treatment for diabetes. It has since been used to treat epilepsy in children, and more recently to help with neurological conditions, such as ALS, Alzheimer’s, and even depression.

Keto is attractive to dieters because it’s structured, pretty easy to follow, and you don’t feel like you’re denying yourself in the food department. You’re not nibbling on rice cakes and lettuce. Quite the contrary, you get to eat beef. And lots of it. It is primarily a meat and dairy diet, with only 50 carbs allowed per day (about what you’d get from eating two apples). But stick with grass-fed to keep the nutrients while dropping the weight.