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What's the Skinny on the Keto Diet?

Uptick is a periodic feature that investigates fads, follies and fetishes new and old that are spurring conversation.

The hype: veal shanks and blue cheese would kick up much of a fuss? Kidding! With a nudge from Hollywood and Silicon Valley influencers, the explosively popular ketogenic diet (better known as keto) is the latest low-carb regimen (see Atkins, Paleo, South Beach) to promise a beach-worthy physique with a side order of bacon

Up or down: Trending up, way up.

Elevator pitch: Think of it as streamlined Atkins. That low-carb diet, developed by Dr. Robert Atkins in the 1970s, urged followers to gorge on steak and eggs until they achieved ketosis: a state in which the body theoretically burns fat for energy.

But it was anything but simple. Devotees had to follow four calibrated stages, starting with quitting car cold, before methodically adding back the apples and brown rice (later variations are less structured).

According to Craig Clarke, a keto evangelist and author, the keto diet cuts out of the phases but never on the carbs, limiting them to a more 5 percent of a person's daily calorie intake (compared to the 50 to 65 percent in the typical American diet. In theory, this hard-line approach turns the body into fat-burning furnace that can smolder for years.

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