If you can say one thing about Hollywood, it’s that actors are always testing out the diet du jour, given the industry’s demanding expectations for physical beauty and svelte bodies. One of the latest diets trends celebrities have jumped on in the past couple of years to keep their fit figures is the ketogenic diet. The ketogenic diet, or the keto diet, is a low-carb food plan rich in fats and moderate proteins where your body burns fat to ketones for energy instead of sugar. And the number of celebrities on keto diet plans just keep rising.
With so many celebrity endorsements surfacing, the keto diet has become extremely popular! According to Google Trends, the number of people searching “keto” has at least tripled in the last year and only began to decline in the last month. However, you won’t just see actors and actresses endorsing this diet. Athletes to news anchors are also turning to this diet to shed pounds, kill hunger pains, reverse diabetes, gain energy, and look amazing.
Keen On Keto
So why are there so many celebrities on keto diet plans? “The keto diet, which keeps the dietary carbohydrate to a minimum, allows the body to use fat as fuel, and if there is extra fat weight on the body, the fat burns its own fat first, reducing the caloric intake,” says Eric Westman, M.D., director of Duke Lifestyle Medicine Clinic. “So, the keto diet reduces hunger and leads to weight loss.” And this weight loss often happens quickly. The celebrities that will be mentioned below reportedly saw significant body changes in just a couple of months or less.
While weight loss is a large draw to the ketogenic diet, other benefits such as mental clarity, reduced risk of cardiovascular problems, potential protection from age-related diseases, regulated blood sugar, and clearer skin makes it enticing for A-listers. Despite the criticism and controversy over whether keto is healthy or whether it really works, research is piling up in support of this diet for certain people — and not only research. Celebrities on keto diet plans are sharing their progress, and their results are matching research; here are six.
6 Celebrities On Keto Diet Plans:
1. Halle Berry, Actress
Halle Berry, Academy Award winning-actress, self-proclaimed fitness guru, and diabetic, has been a keto fan long before it became a “fad diet.” Incidentally, our founder Maryam Henein worked on Catwoman as assistant to the director and got to see Berry in motion.
Berry writes on her Instagram that she’s been following the low-carb, high-fat food plan for several years and that it has helped “reverse” her Type 2 diabetes. This is mainly due to research that suggests diets high in good fats may actually help balance blood sugar. When we consume a lot of sugar or carbohydrates, which also breaks down into sugar, our blood glucose spikes, and our bodies try to keep up by producing insulin and storing the glucose somewhere safe (in our fat cells). During this process, some people produce too much insulin, which can lead to insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.
On top of that, research shows that the keto diet may also improve glycemia and reduce the need for medication use for Type 2 diabetes patients. Berry has been using the keto diet to promote balanced glucose levels and has successfully combated her Type 2 diabetes symptoms for years!
Berry goes on to list several additional benefits she’s experienced while living the keto lifestyle, including better mental performance, appetite control, and getting rid of her post-baby belly.
She encourages others with similar struggles to give keto a try, and to think of it as a commitment:“I hate the word ‘diet’ so while you’ll see the word diet, just know I encourage you to think of it as a lifestyle change NOT A DIET!”
2. Vinny Guadagnino, Reality Star
Jersey Shore cast member, Vinny Guadagnino, is a huge advocate of the keto diet. The “Keto Guido” credits his weight loss and overall health transformation to the diet and intends to stay on it. He even has an Instagram account dedicated to the keto diet with the tagline, “Not a medical expert. Just a guido who went Keto and never felt better.” He shares his meals, tips, and results to help people who want to learn more about the diet.
“When I was on sugars and grains, I was 50 pounds heavier and looked 10 years older,” he wrote in one post, and claimed in another that he’d found the “fountain of youth.” He could be right, according to researchers from the Gladstone Institute, who claim that a ketogenic diet has the potential to help delay the effects of aging. Senior author Eric Verdin, MD, and his team examined the role of a “ketone body” and found that it can protect cells from oxidative stress, a major contributor to the aging process.
Guaganino also says that if he stays consistent, the keto diet won’t make him gain weight, even if he doesn’t have time to exercise. Westman agrees and says you “don’t have to exercise or ‘workout’ to lose weight. But that’s true for any effective dietary approach — including the keto diet.” For this “Keto Guido,” the diet has become a lifestyle that he continues to document on his Instagram profile.
3. Vanessa Hudgens, Actress
Former High School Musical star, Vanessa Hudgens, used the ketogenic diet to get back to her slender figure after gaining 20 pounds for a role as a pregnant and homeless teenager in Gimme Shelter. In an interview on The Rachael Ray Show in 2017, Hudgens claimed she cut out refined sugar, carbs, and dairy and stuck to a high-fat regimen to lose weight.
“I think that we’ve been brainwashed to think that fat is bad, but really, it’s what’s going to make you feel fuller longer,” she says. Ketosis reduces hunger, primarily due to the stabilization of glucose levels and the satiety resulting from foods rich in protein and fats. Hudgens also says that your body burns those healthy fats and uses them as “fuel.”
A 2018 review in Current Nutrition Reports concluded that humans can use ketones for fuel, promoting the breakdown of excess fat stores. Those results translated for Hudgens who lost 10 pounds in one month on the Keto Diet.
4. Alicia Vikander, Actress
Actress Alicia Vikander was challenged with the task of playing Lara Croft, a strong, Indiana Jones-like character, in the 2018 revival of Tomb Raider. Vikander’s trainer, Magnus Lygdback, told POPSUGAR that Vikander put on 12 pounds of lean muscle for the role. She shredded fat and put on muscle by practicing intense strength training and weight lifting while consuming fewer than 25 grams of carbs per day and healthy fats such as MCT oil, avocado, and coconut oil on the keto diet. In one study, researchers found that participants who consumed a very low-carb, ketogenic diet experienced an increase in lean body mass and fat loss, similar to the changes Vikander saw in her body. Further, a separate review found that even some bodybuilders use the ketogenic diet in preparation for competitions.
Vikander used the keto diet to shred fat, but rumor has it that she ultimately incorporated more complex carbs into her diet during filming. This brings up an important point: the ketogenic diet can be different for women. Holistic Health Practitioner Melissa Nohr explains in her article, “Keto & Carb Cycling for Women and Hormonal Health,” that for some women, staying on a strictly low-carb diet for a long period of time works. For other women, remaining low-carb for too long can cause symptoms such as mental lethargy, constipation, lower energy, hair loss, and more. However, carb cycling, or alternating periods of higher and lower carb content in your diet, can help optimize your body’s metabolic needs. “Some women want to do keto for too long without carb cycling, and it can affect their thyroid, adrenals, and other hormones. So carb cycling keeps people from experiencing those negatives,” Nohr says. She recommends that women who want to implement carb cycling do so after their bodies are keto-adapted (approximately 2-3 weeks).
Once you’re keto-adapted, your body is more likely to be metabolically flexible and adapt to adding carbs. I would recommend adding in healthy complex carbs like sweet potatoes every fourth day, and depending on where you are in your cycle either 50-80g or 80-100g.
Further, Nohr explains in her article that syncing carb cycling with their menstrual cycles can maximize the effectiveness of keto for women. “The female hormones estrogen and progesterone are elevated at different points during the menstrual cycle. These important hormones impact insulin sensitivity and carbohydrate metabolism,” she writes. Nohr advises women to eat more carbohydrates during the follicular phase (day 1-14) of the menstrual cycle, when estrogen levels tend to be more dominant, and eating less carbohydrates during the luteal phase (day 15-28, after ovulation), when progesterone levels are higher.
5. Katie Couric, TV Journalist
Katie Couric, 61-year-old journalist and former Today show anchor, recently revealed via Instagram that she is “doing the keto thing.” She mentioned she felt “shaky and headachy” in the first few days. Those initial symptoms, also known as the keto flu, are normal when your body transitions to ketosis. The keto diet “requires the fortitude to make it through the dip,” says certified personal trainer, author, and 40+ Fitness Podcast host Allan Misner, who has practiced the keto diet with many of his clients. “Since we’ve been sugar burners for so long, adjusting to being a fat burner and using ketones as a primary fuel takes time,” Misner said. It’s called becoming “fat-adaptive”.
Misner added that headaches and fatigue are common as our bodies adjust and that this adjustment “usually takes 3-7 days.” Couric experienced her symptoms for a few days but said she felt better after one week. Couric now appears to be focusing on cutting carbs by eating “mostly protein and some cheese” and adding in extra fats by putting half-and-half in her iced coffee, which she describes as “damn good”.
However, Couric’s journey won’t be successful if she adds just any type of extra fat to her diet. The quality of fats you consume on keto is important. Therefore, Couric will want to stay away from processed trans fats and polyunsaturated fats such as hydrogenated oils (commonly found in margarine and commercially baked goods) and processed vegetable oils like canola, sunflower, or safflower oils. Instead, she will want to stick to organic, unprocessed products that contain saturated, monounsaturated, polyunsaturated, and trans fats from natural sources such as grass-fed meat and dairy, cocoa butter, avocado oil, and fish.
6. Tim Tebow, Professional Athlete
Former NFL quarterback and current professional baseball player, Tim Tebow, has used the ketogenic diet to help him stay in tip-top shape, according to an interview with GQ. He explained that he incorporates eggs, steak, asparagus, Chilean sea bass, and A LOT of avocados into his “high fat, moderate protein, low carb, low sugar” eating routine. Avocados contain more than 75 percent of unsaturated fats of which 12 percent are polyunsaturated.
A recent study provided a closer look into how various types of fats can positively and negatively impact blood sugar and concluded that unsaturated fats, specifically polyunsaturated fats, had the most favorable benefits. However, many experts question how beneficial the keto diet is for athletes. A study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that low-carb diets — including keto — can compromise high-intensity aerobic exercises. A separate panel review also concluded that current research says carbohydrates are an “indispensable energy source for high-intensity performance.” Despite these stats, the keto diet has worked for Tebow. “For me, it’s more than just trying to stay in shape for sports, it’s a way of life, of trying to be healthy,” he told GQ.
Take Caution When Choosing To Follow The Keto Diet
Remember, just because these celebrities on keto diet plans have had success doesn’t mean it will be the right food plan for you. Always consult your physician before making large changes in your diet, because everyone is different. Eat for your goals, gut, and/or condition.
In addition, many critics claim there isn’t enough research on the diet’s long-term effects on overall health and weight management, and that it’s difficult to sustain. So understand the personal roadblocks that get in your way and choose a diet that can become a way of life. “Like any diet that restricts what or how much you can eat, the restriction itself can be hard to overcome. We are creatures of habit and will revert to our normal eating patterns if we aren’t mindful,” Misner said. However, paleoanthropologists can trace back the diet’s sustainability hundreds of years. A 2011 study found that the carbohydrate content in the diets of 229 hunter-gatherer groups throughout the world varied, but a higher-fat, lower-carb diet was common.
Despite criticism, these celebrities on keto diet plans have benefited greatly from their lifestyle changes, as have many others (e.g. Megan Fox, Lebron James, Sharon Osbourne, Tim McGraw, Kourtney Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian West, to name a few). “Most people continue to eat a low carbohydrate, keto diet because simply put–they feel better,” Westman says.