Photo by Tom Sharrow/

The good news for prospective keto dieters is that as the diet has skyrocketed in popularity in recent years, so too has the amount of research being produced to back up the remarkably fast weight loss evident in keto success stories. That means that for every nutritional concern, every panicky moment you have about whether keto is preventing you from consuming the right amount of X or Y in your diet, there’s credible, contemporary research and professional advice to talk you off the cliff (the “giving up on keto” cliff, that is).

Of course, all of that work is being done by nutritional scientists and doctors whose research happens to coincide with the world of keto. Among them is Elizabeth Parks, a nutritional biochemist at the University of Missouri whose work on the liver, weight loss, and insulin resistance is a good reminder of some of the common-sense solutions offered by the keto diet.

Elizabeth Parks’ work with weight loss

Parks’ primary focus is in the area of liver metabolism, and how insulin resistance and being overweight impacts liver function. During a five-year weight loss study, Parks’ team found that “the best predictor of fat being built up in the liver is how much dietary sugar people consume.”

“So the cookies and the cakes and the sodas and all those processed carbohydrates tend to really set up susceptible people to gaining fatty liver and become insulin resistant,” she said. After limiting each subject’s sugar intake for six months, Parks found that fat levels in the liver had returned to normal, inflammation was down, and the scarring and fibrosis associated with fatty liver disease had likewise disappeared.1

In addition to specific studies like these, Parks has offered some simple explanations for why cutting out sugars, particularly fructose, is a great idea for weight loss and has pushed back against some of the concerns raised by keto detractors. One of the big problems with fructose, she said, is that the liver takes the sugar molecules apart “like tinker toys,” and reassembles them to build fats, encouraging whatever food is eaten next to be stored instead of burned.2

Keto’s biggest hurdle? The “social standpoint”

As for the keto diet, Parks has said that the common critiques are often simply inaccurate. “We know that people can do this forever,” she said of low-carb diets in general. “From the metabolism standpoint, it is sustainable. It’s the social standpoint that can be harder. You’re removing carbs, the primary food in the American diet.”3

It’s true, the hardest part of keto can be wrapping your head around it, and convincing your friends that no, you don’t have to throw in five dollars on a pizza, and no you’re not insane. Well, that and finding a good avocado dealer. Despite this, you can be confident in the knowledge that each year scientists are discovering more and more evidence to support the large-scale keto revolution underway.


The content on this website should not be taken as medical advice and you should ALWAYS consult with your doctor before starting any diet or exercise program. We provide nutritional data for our recipes as a courtesy to our readers. We use Total Keto Diet app software to calculate the nutrition and we remove fiber and sugar alcohols, like erythritol, from the total carbohydrate count to get to the net carb count, as they do not affect your blood glucose levels. You should independently calculate nutritional information on your own and not rely on our data. The website or content herein is not intended to cure, prevent, diagnose or treat any disease. This website shall not be liable for adverse reactions or any other outcome resulting from the use of recipes or recommendations on the Website or actions you take as a result. Any action you take is strictly at your own risk.

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