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The keto craze is hitting the mainstream

Keto is blowing up.The ketogenic diet is a strict regimen of low-carb, high-fat foods that forces the...

Posted: Sep 17, 2018 10:19 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2018 10:19 PM

Keto is blowing up.

The ketogenic diet is a strict regimen of low-carb, high-fat foods that forces the body into a state of ketosis — when you burn fat, instead of carbohydrates, for energy.

With the help of social media and word of mouth, demand for keto-friendly products have gone through the roof.

Like Whole30, where dieters cut out sugar, grains, dairy and legumes for 30 days, and paleo, modeled after eating habits in the paleolithic era, keto has become trendy.

But interest in keto has far outpaced interest in other fad diets. A Google Trends chart over the past year shows searches for "keto" have dwarfed searches for "paleo" "Whole 30" and "intermittent fasting."

On Instagram, dieters share their progress. Accounts with tens of thousands of followers show before and after weight loss photos and snaps of keto-friendly meals. Often, users put their weight loss in their bios.

"Probably our first six months of sales were through people talking about us on Instagram," said Brian Hemmert, chief marketing officer for Fat Snax, which sells low-carb, high-fat cookies and matcha tea blends.

Because keto is is so strict, snacks and meal replacements are especially helpful to those trying to maintain the diet.

Hemmert said that demand for Fat Snax products, which are available online, has been growing rapidly. In the next few months Fat Snax will be sold at a national chain.

"There's been such a groundswell on this," said Anthony Gustin, founder and CEO of Perfect Keto, which sells protein powders and other keto-friendly products and shares information on how to maintain the diet.

"Growth has been pretty wild." Gustin said that Perfect Keto averaged 20% growth each month in the last year.

Ted Tieken, founder of Keto and Company, which makes keto meal shake powders, said that he's noticed a change in awareness around the diet.

About "six months ago, I stopped having to explain what keto was to the average person," he said. And in the last several weeks, "people get offended when I explain."

Tieken is launching a meal-replacement shake, Sated, which is compatible with a keto diet. He used a Kickstarter campaign to gauge interest in the product. So far, hundreds of backers have pledged more than $172,000 dollars.

Tieken said that he plans to produce somewhere between 1.5 million and 3 million bottles based on demand for the shake, a sweet, filling meal replacement.

He estimates that right now, Keto and Company has about 5,000 customers per month. But he noted that "demand has been increasing consistently."

Critics say the taxing diet is unrealistic. When people adjust to a lack of carbohydrates, they often feel fatigue and light-headedness. When US News and World Report ranked the 40 most popular diets this year, it put keto — and the similar Dukan diet — last. The panel of experts that created the list said the keto diet is difficult to maintain and that the high-fat intake could be dangerous for some.

But Keto fans say there are a number of health benefits to the diet, like more energy, better focus and, notably, weight loss.

The US diet sector is growing overall. According to Euromonitor, the meal replacement product category grew by 12% from 2012 to 2017. In that same period, the supplement nutrition drink category grew by 23%.

And people outside the niche keto community are paying attention.

Vincent Kitirattragarn, founder and CEO of Dang Foods, didn't set out to make foods that fit a keto diet. He started Dang six years ago to sell modern Asian snacks that are healthy.

About a year ago, Dang started developing FATBAR, a keto-friendly snack bar.

"It's very, very clear to us, after interviewing people and doing market research, that there was a huge demand for keto products and that demand was not being met by the market," he said.

FATBAR will be available online this fall and in Whole Foods stores in early 2019.

— CNN's Sandee LaMotte contributed to this report.

Clarification: This story has been updated to clarify Gustin's role at Perfect Keto and the company's reported period of growth.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 501097

Reported Deaths: 9990
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison34338538
DeSoto32117403
Hinds31939628
Jackson24494382
Rankin21995390
Lee15543235
Madison14581280
Jones13851242
Forrest13453251
Lauderdale11991317
Lowndes11050188
Lamar10521135
Pearl River9533237
Lafayette8550140
Hancock7732127
Washington7438158
Oktibbeha7146131
Monroe6777177
Warren6694176
Pontotoc6664102
Neshoba6637206
Panola6531131
Marshall6467134
Bolivar6317148
Union602894
Pike5820152
Alcorn5669101
Lincoln5436135
George496879
Scott472898
Tippah469281
Prentiss467281
Leflore4658144
Itawamba4636105
Tate4588111
Adams4587119
Copiah448592
Simpson4446116
Yazoo444187
Wayne439772
Covington428894
Sunflower4239105
Marion4226108
Coahoma4160105
Leake408288
Newton381779
Grenada3707108
Stone360364
Tishomingo359792
Attala331589
Jasper329965
Winston314291
Clay308076
Chickasaw300367
Clarke292494
Calhoun279446
Holmes267987
Smith264050
Yalobusha234047
Tallahatchie228051
Greene219348
Walthall218763
Lawrence212940
Perry205556
Amite205156
Webster202946
Noxubee186740
Montgomery179656
Jefferson Davis171743
Carroll169138
Tunica159839
Benton148838
Kemper141941
Choctaw133426
Claiborne132737
Humphreys129538
Franklin120228
Quitman106428
Wilkinson105139
Jefferson94534
Sharkey64120
Issaquena1937
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 819597

Reported Deaths: 15406
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1147901924
Mobile725791338
Madison52306697
Shelby37597350
Baldwin37245552
Tuscaloosa35101612
Montgomery34106740
Lee23526246
Calhoun22225488
Morgan20941378
Etowah19825500
Marshall18361304
Houston17384412
St. Clair16054339
Cullman15443293
Limestone15343199
Elmore15241286
Lauderdale14302295
Talladega13836283
DeKalb12649261
Walker11202370
Blount10192176
Autauga10043148
Jackson9871184
Coffee9210191
Dale8897185
Colbert8860201
Tallapoosa7084198
Escambia6772134
Covington6712183
Chilton6641162
Russell636659
Franklin5959105
Chambers5607142
Marion5005127
Dallas4973200
Pike4795106
Clarke475584
Geneva4571127
Winston4516103
Lawrence4321117
Bibb425186
Barbour357776
Marengo338090
Monroe331464
Randolph329764
Butler326396
Pickens316284
Henry312666
Hale311388
Cherokee302860
Fayette292880
Washington251551
Cleburne247760
Crenshaw245275
Clay243368
Macon234663
Lamar224147
Conecuh186153
Coosa180240
Lowndes175164
Wilcox168839
Bullock151644
Perry138840
Sumter133038
Greene126744
Choctaw88527
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