The keto diet
An apple a day keeps the doctor away.
Now some say so does cheese.
by kelsey braun
After a long fight with his weight and health issues, Jim Reddy Jr. thought he was out of options until he found the Keto diet.
Stephen Morse was a former jock who struggled with his weight in the years following his college football career, then lost 66 pounds in four months on the high fat diet.
Brittini Jones tried her fair share of diets and was shocked at how rapidly she lost weight going Keto.
These are just three examples of the incredible success dieters have seen with today’s top trending diet that can increase your grocery bill and makes you sick if you do it right.
As a diet that was introduced nearly 100 years ago to help treat children with epilepsy, the Keto diet followed in the trendy footsteps of the Paleo and Atkins diets – low-carb, no sugar, with a list of what you can and can’t eat. The science behind it - as you restrict the body of
carbohydrates, blood sugar drops and the glucose that your body burns for fuel runs out. Your body then initiates the “ketosis” process by tapping into your fat reserves for energy, breaking fat down into ketones to burn for fuel instead.
Reddy Jr., 44, says that he has always been a bigger kid. In 2001, at 591 pounds, he had gastric bypass surgery. He lost about 300 pounds, got down to 295 and was really happy to be there. Then, in 2007, he was in a horrific car accident.
“My right leg was amputated. I had five surgeries to put it back on. Three-year recovery. I was in a bed for six months, in a wheelchair for a year,” Reddy Jr. said.
In those six months of being bed-ridden, he gained back 40 pounds. Over the next 10 years, he got back up to 381. Seeing recent pictures of himself made him realize he had to do something, but his lower body injuries made exercise nearly impossible.
His buddy turned him onto the Keto diet. The simplicity of the diet appealed to Reddy Jr., but he was skeptical. “I’ve tried other low-fat and calorie-counting diets and didn’t have very much success with them. The hardest thing for me - there weren’t any diets that you lost weight without exercise,"
Reddy Jr. and his wife made the lifestyle change. They sit down every week and plan out their meals and shopping lists. They avoid processed meats and cheeses, shopping for fresh food and going organic as often as possible. He warns that it can get expensive and his weekly grocery bill is up 30-35%. “It’s not one of these diets where you have to buy a whole lot of supplements and a whole lot of additives, vitamins, all this very, very specific stuff,” he says. He has had a lot of fun getting creative in the kitchen while staying in the parameters of the diet.
About ten days in, his buddy asked if he had gotten sick yet. Sure enough, Reddy Jr. woke up 14 days in feeling terrible. He was achy and described it as “all the other body aspects of the flu, not the coughing and stuff,” that lasted for three days. His buddy assured him, “one
you get it, that’s a great thing.”
To date, Reddy Jr. is down 62 pounds and 9 inches off his waist. He has a goal to lose 100
pounds by June 1 st and he is well on his way.
Jones, 29, also tried different diets with little luck. An all fruit and vegetable diet turned out to
be unrealistic. She feels she got mildly scammed when she tried Shakeology. “I tried a whole
bunch of things and I wasn’t losing weight. Someone told me that they lost a whole bunch of
weight really rapidly and they felt really good - they didn’t feel tired, they had more energy,
so I thought I’d give it a shot.”
She stuck to the Keto diet very strictly from July 2018 to July/August 2019. She didn’t find it
hard to adjust to as it was a bunch of foods that she already enjoyed. The hardest part, she
said “it was just self-control - for me to not eat chips and cookies. Well, chips and cookies
weren’t so bad for me but like pasta and pizza.” More than anything, she missed milk and fruit.
Since both have carbs, she really had to limit her intake, but she said, “If I’m going to have
carbs, I’m would rather eat it in a fruit or vegetable because complex carbs versus, like, sugar
carbs.” She says she would obsessively look at carbs in anything.
Jones said her grocery bills on and off the diet are comparable and that carbs are indeed less
expensive. “I could get mac and cheese for 39 cents and live off of that for a week.” She only
shops at Aldi, especially for their produce. She admitted to not really going shopping with much
of a plan but mastered making creative Keto-friendly meals with whatever food she had.
Jones said she really didn’t have a bad time with the Keto flu. She did admit to getting a little
cranky with the sugar withdraw. She also said, “I didn’t expect to be so satiated by everything.
I was like ‘I can’t just eat eggs and meat and be fine,’ but I really was.”
As the digestive system goes through such a change, hormonal imbalances can occur.
This can throw off a woman’s menstrual cycle. Jones said, “If it’s close, it will kickstart it
immediately.” Periods can be lighter when you’re in ketosis. Another adverse yet common
effect that Jones experienced after her run with the diet – she triggered some recessive
gluten intolerance after she started eating carbs again, a problem she never had before.
Jones lost 62 pounds while she was doing Keto, starting at 282 and getting down to about
220 pounds. Her run ended after she started waiting tables and was getting off work late at
night. A couple bad decisions interfered with her diet and they snowballed until she fell off
completely. “I definitely want to get back into it. I never felt as good as I did when I was super
strict on it. It’s definitely an obtainable thing. Everything I want, I can replace. It’s definitely a
Morse, 33, played football for Yale from 2004 to 2008. "Throughout my football years,
I would basically eat everything and anything,” he said. Between 2006 and 2007, he was
moved to the offensive line and needed to gain weight. Morse packed on over 50 pounds
in a matter of months. He admitted, “This probably reinforced bad eating habits.”
What Morse went through after college is all too common. Life got in the way of working out.
Age and the extra weight took a toll on his joints. He tried low-carb diets that weren’t as
effective. He went from working out for hours a day, to multiple times a week, “then dropped
off precipitously with a new job,” he said. “I remember walking up an escalator and
feeling like I was going to die. That definitely made me want to make a change.” He set a
goal to be healthier.
Morse realized that diet is key when it comes to weight loss. He said, “that was a good way to
jump start.” Along with opting for the Keto diet, he also did time-restricted eating with a
feeding window from noon to 8pm and a 5-day fast mimicking diet with a kit from Lurong.
He also stopped drinking alcohol. “This has helped in many ways; sleep, working out,
emotional eating,” he said. “If you are motivated enough, you will change your habits.”
To get through the Keto flu, Morse said MCT oil, Ketones, and possibly overeating in the
first week or so may help. He also said it gets most expensive when you don’t have time to
prepare. After four months, he said he burned himself out, but he did achieve his goal to
be healthier. “We often set goals with numbers which is wrong. It isn’t about the outcome; it is
about the process.”
While strict on the Keto diet, Morse lost 66 pounds, starting at 316 pounds in July 2019 and
ending at 250 pounds in October of that year. He lost 6 jacket and pant sizes. He was happy
to donate his clothes that were now too big, including some of his favorite clothing and a belt
that used to be too small. “Sometimes you have to burn those bridges to make sure you
There just isn’t enough long-term research about the Keto diet to accurately and honestly
know about its long-term effects. The diet isn’t necessarily recommended to be a lifelong
diet, but something that can be utilized to help people reach their weight-loss goals. Eating
foods high in fat can raise cholesterol levels. Some say that the Keto diet can reduce the risk
of certain cancers, help prevent seizures, and even combat acne problems. It is important to
do your research and consult your doctor when making a change like this to your diet and
Keywords: Diet, Keto, Weight, Carbs, Change, Eating, Lifestyle, Ketosis, Healthier
Kelsey Braun is a multimedia journalist and a Senior Journalism and Mass Communications student at Point Park University.
Reddy Jr. has mastered Keto culinary expertise, as
made obvious here with his Keto-friendly pizza crust
and his creation of a “Keto-za.”