Keto factor: high-fat diet is not keto!

The road to hell is paved with good intentions and oftentimes this also happens in the scientific research. To avoid overgeneralization, let’s just stick to nutrition science. One of the emerging dilemmas is the question of how to assess the effects of high-fat vs. ketogenic diets. The problem is, high-fat is often simply confused with the ketogenic. Some of the authors define high-fat diet as a diet in which the fats represent up to 45% of daily energy intake. On top of that, any data revealing whether the subjects entered ketosis are missing (Kosinski et al., 2017).

This makes it hard for people to really understand the benefits of the ketogenic diet. This problem was noted by Dr. Zilberter, who published an interesting chart of diets, used in some of the research, on her researchgate.net profile. She used almost a century old Woodyatt’s »keto factor« (Woodyatt, 1921) and for the papers that revealed the macronutrients used in either control, high-fat or ketogenic nutrition plans, calculated the respective keto factors.

Keto factor = (0,9 F + 0,46 P) : (C + 0,58 P + 0,1 F)

F – grams of fat

P – grams of protein

C – grams of carbs

Keto factor below 1,5 reflects antiketogenic nutrition. The higher the factor the higher the likelihood of ketogenesis.

The graph below is a proof how high-fat diets (F) are not necessarily ketogenic diets and it’s wrong to interpret the results from high-fat nutrition as consequences of following ketogenic diet (Zilberter, 2017).

KOSINSKI, C. and JORNAYVAZ, F.R. 2017. Effects of Ketogenic Diets on Cardiovascular Risk Factors: Evidence from Animal and Human Studies. Nutrients, vol. 9, no. 5, pp.

WOODYATT, R.T. 1921. Objects and method of diet adjustment in diabetes. Archives of Internal Medicine, vol. 28, no. 2, pp. 125-141.

ZILBERTER, T. 2017. Classifications of diets labeled by the authors as normal controls, high-fat or ketogenic do not correlate with their metabolic traits predicted by calculation of their ketogenic ratios.

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