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Celebs Over 40 Are Obsessed With The Keto Diet. Here’s Everything You Need To Know Before Trying It.

There was once a time when low-fat cookies, chips, and peanut butter were considered “healthy choices.” Oh, how times have changed!

Ever since studies began surfacing showing that low-carb, high-fat diets can be more effective for weight loss than low-fat plans, more and more health-conscious folks have fully embraced fat. Sales of whole-fat milk and yogurt have soared in recent years, and most nutritionists now tell their clients to incorporate fatty foods like fish, avocado, and olive oil into their diets. The reemergence of all this creamy goodness has led to a century-old diet making a major comeback: the ketogenic diet. Celebrities including Gwyneth Paltrow and Mick Jagger are both rumored to have taken the plan for a test drive.

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Those following the keto diet plan eat a lot of fat and just a few carbohydrates. More specifically, 80% of the diet is comprised of fat, 15% is protein, and a mere 5% of calories come from carbohydrates. For someone on a 1,500-calorie diet, that translates to 19 grams of carbohydrates per day, which is less than what you find in a cup of green peas. (For some context, most people’s diets contain 55% carbohydrates, 30% fat, and 15% protein.) The idea is that if you deplete yourself of carbohydrates, the brain’s preferred fuel source, your body will start breaking down fat for energy. When this occurs, the body goes into a state of ketosis.

But does this really fuel weight loss or make us healthier? According to one Spanish study of 20 obese adults, the answer is yes. For the study, participants were put on a low-calorie keto diet and lost an average of 40 pounds over four months. Another small experiment had a similar outcome. In a six-month Experimental Clinical Cardiology study of 83 obese adults, those on the keto diet lost an average of 33 pounds, while lowering their bad (LDL) cholesterol levels and increasing their good (HDL) cholesterol.

MORE: Exactly What One Woman Ate To Get Off Her Cholesterol Meds

But not all studies on the keto diet are as promising. One American Society for Clinical Nutrition study of 20 participants found that those on the diet didn’t lose more weight than those on a non-keto diet. But they did have fouler moods and higher levels of inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

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Since research on the keto diet is fairly limited and inconclusive, it’s important to educate yourself about the potential risks before trying it. Here, five things you should know before going keto:

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