Skip To Content

Yes, You Can Be Kosher And Keep The Keto Diet

In recent years, dietary fat has been vilified and classified as unhealthy, artery-clogging and disease-causing. As a result, “low-fat” labels are slapped onto products and they’re marketed with aggressive campaigns, touting them as healthier and better-for-you—even when that’s not actually true.

However, more and more emerging research has come to the same conclusion: eating fat does not make you fat. In fact, a diet high in healthy fats from sources like avocados, nuts, and seeds can actually come with a host of pretty impressive health benefits. Enter the ketogenic diet, an eating plan centered around trading empty carbs for ample amounts of fat and protein. This diet has been making headlines lately, and for good reason—it’s been shown to improve just about every aspect of health and wellbeing, from reducing the risk of chronic disease to catapulting you towards your weight loss goals.

Need more convincing? Here are a few of the top reasons that you should consider giving keto a try and eating more (healthy) fat in 2018.

1) It Ramps Up Weight Loss

If you’re like most people, dropping a few extra pounds was likely on your list of New Year’s resolutions. But if you’re finding that the scale won’t budge no matter how many times you hit the gym, a ketogenic diet may be right for you. In fact, a review in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those following a ketogenic diet were able to achieve better long-term weight management than those on a low-fat diet.

Additionally, healthy fats and proteins—the key components of a ketogenic diet—tend to be more filling and satisfying than a diet high in refined carbohydrates. Eating protein and fat has also been shown to result in a greater reduction in levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stimulates hunger, compared to carbohydrates.

2) It Protects Against Heart Disease

Although many people have the misconception that a high-fat diet is directly related to heart disease, there is a growing body of research showing that the ketogenic diet may actually be protective against heart disease by reducing several heart disease risk factors. One study out of Kuwait, for instance, found that following a ketogenic diet for 24 weeks resulted in lower levels of triglycerides, bad LDL cholesterol, and blood sugar, while also increasing beneficial HDL cholesterol in obese patients.

3) It Boosts Longevity

Filling up on the healthy fats isn’t just good for your health and waistline in the short term, but it may also help you live longer. A study in The Lancet looked at over 135,000 adults from 18 countries and found that a higher carbohydrate intake was associated with a higher risk of total mortality, while a higher intake of total fat (including different types of fat) was associated with a lower risk of total mortality.

Not only that, but the ketogenic diet has been shown to reduce the risk of several other types of chronic disease, such as heart disease and cancer, which can also help keep you healthy and extend your lifespan.

4) It Fights Off Cancer

Some studies have found that cancer cells feed off of refined sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, eliminating these nutrient-poor, pro-inflammatory foods from your diet and loading up on heart-healthy fats instead can help “starve” cancer cells and keep them from spreading. In fact, a review in the journal Redox Biology even suggested that a ketogenic diet may be effective as an adjuvant therapy for cancer, noting that a high-fat, low-carb diet could help selectively sensitize cancer cells to radiation and chemotherapy.

5) It Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, or sugar, in the bloodstream, causing blood sugar to rise and your pancreas to pump out insulin, which is the hormone responsible for the transport of sugar from the blood. A carbohydrate-rich diet keeps blood sugar levels high, forcing your body to produce more and more insulin to keep up with the constant demand. Eventually, this can lead to insulin resistance, a condition in which your body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, resulting in high blood sugar and even diabetes. Carbohydrates are restricted on the ketogenic diet, which can help maintain normal blood sugar and control the release of insulin. Multiple studies have actually shown that reducing your carbohydrate intake can prevent high blood sugar and even help reverse insulin resistance.

Transitioning to a Ketogenic Diet

When starting on a ketogenic diet, remember that everyone has a different “ideal” level of carbs for their body and lifestyle. While most people aim for 30-50 grams of net carbs per day to stay in ketosis, this number may vary. To find your carb limit, try experimenting by slowly adding 5 grams of complex carbs from fruits or vegetables into your diet and monitoring your ketone levels until you notice a drop.

If you find it difficult to stick to a low-carb diet or have a very active lifestyle, you may also want to consider carb cycling. This allows you to increase your carb intake 2-3 times per week — especially when you’re most active — while still taking advantage of the benefits of keto benefits.

Additionally, although the ketogenic diet is high in fat, that doesn’t mean that you should start filling your plate with greasy fast food. Instead, check out my keto diet food list and opt for healthy fats like olive oil, coconut oil, avocados, nuts and seeds.

Note that some people may experience “keto flu” symptoms like headaches, bad breath, and fatigue when transitioning to a ketogenic diet. Fortunately, these symptoms should subside within 1-2 weeks of starting the diet. To minimize those symptoms and maintain a healthy diet, be sure to drink plenty of water, avoid processed foods and synthetic ingredients, and include a good variety of non-starchy vegetables to help meet your micronutrient needs.

I hope you appreciated this article. Before you go, I’d like to ask you to please support the Forward’s award-winning, nonprofit journalism during this critical time.

Now more than ever, American Jews need independent news they can trust, with reporting driven by truth, not ideology. We serve you, not any ideological agenda.

At a time when other newsrooms are closing or cutting back, the Forward has removed its paywall and invested additional resources to report on the ground from Israel and around the U.S. on the impact of the war, rising antisemitism and the protests on college campuses.

Readers like you make it all possible. Support our work by becoming a Forward Member and connect with our journalism and your community.

Make a gift of any size and become a Forward member today. You’ll support our mission to tell the American Jewish story fully and fairly. 

— Rachel Fishman Feddersen, Publisher and CEO

Join our mission to tell the Jewish story fully and fairly.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.