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 11:19 PM
Updated: Sep 17, 2018 11:19 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.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 665285

Reported Deaths: 12697
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion910581653
Lake48637887
Allen36050641
Hamilton32231398
St. Joseph30243514
Elkhart25484420
Vanderburgh21315382
Tippecanoe20185205
Johnson16425361
Porter16053276
Hendricks15899301
Clark12032182
Madison11779321
Vigo11672231
Monroe10394164
Delaware9879179
LaPorte9821198
Howard9095199
Kosciusko8588111
Bartholomew7504147
Warrick7445153
Hancock7439134
Floyd7255172
Wayne6654192
Grant6453157
Boone611991
Morgan6118126
Dubois5933112
Dearborn550669
Cass5477100
Marshall5446105
Henry542695
Noble510978
Jackson465567
Shelby462591
Lawrence4193113
Gibson404985
Harrison402764
Clinton397053
Montgomery390584
DeKalb387178
Knox357885
Miami357863
Whitley350638
Huntington348377
Steuben339855
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Ripley327862
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White298052
Jefferson295974
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Greene262280
Posey261432
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Scott251450
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Clay241444
Randolph225877
Spencer219330
Jennings216344
Washington213027
Sullivan203639
Fountain202542
Starke189251
Owen183453
Fulton179637
Jay178528
Carroll176919
Perry173836
Orange171351
Rush165422
Vermillion161542
Franklin159735
Tipton149241
Parke140116
Pike128433
Blackford120627
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Newton96732
Brown95240
Benton92413
Crawford92113
Martin80314
Warren75914
Switzerland7558
Union67510
Ohio54111
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 976230

Reported Deaths: 17501
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1127971251
Cuyahoga966701881
Hamilton737981067
Montgomery47453923
Summit40562831
Butler35750531
Lucas35685720
Stark29548826
Warren22539275
Lorain22149424
Mahoning19556551
Lake18509332
Clermont18484205
Delaware16576121
Licking15063194
Fairfield14622188
Trumbull14397424
Greene13636221
Medina13484237
Clark12352256
Wood11633170
Portage11104172
Allen10815216
Richland10360188
Miami10055194
Muskingum8224117
Columbiana8165210
Pickaway8085111
Tuscarawas8065232
Marion8015127
Wayne7915199
Erie6948146
Ross6170132
Geauga6105142
Hancock6021121
Ashtabula5998154
Scioto599188
Lawrence527186
Union515641
Darke5046116
Belmont4990137
Huron4848108
Jefferson4831137
Sandusky4791112
Washington473696
Seneca4720111
Athens465849
Mercer459181
Auglaize456682
Shelby442579
Knox4053105
Putnam400393
Madison394755
Fulton382561
Ashland381983
Brown374352
Defiance373588
Crawford359598
Logan356973
Preble353887
Clinton342055
Highland328451
Ottawa325171
Williams303268
Jackson291246
Champaign290149
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Perry270748
Fayette269843
Morrow261137
Henry247361
Hardin246859
Holmes244097
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Van Wert230257
Gallia223538
Adams218139
Pike216728
Wyandot212050
Hocking194954
Carroll181743
Paulding160834
Meigs136031
Noble129233
Monroe117137
Morgan101620
Harrison100731
Vinton76613
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