At this summer’s Burning Man festival, Jackson Heights resident Nina Ho stumbled upon an almost miragelike scene: a congregation of lean, beautiful men drinking sugar-free margaritas.
The desert gathering was part of Kamp Keto, a workshop bringing together devotees of what’s known as the ketogenic diet, a high-fat weight-loss craze that’s reached critical mass among everyone from anti-aging Silicon Valley biohackers to NYC residents struggling to fit into their skinny jeans.
“My mind was blown,” says Ho, a 31-year-old graphic designer, who had dropped 10 pounds on the diet before heading to the festival for her wedding. “I was proud to see that [Kamp Keto] existed.”
Though ketogenic eating has been around in some form since the 1920s, when it was found to curb symptoms of epilepsy in kids, the diet’s Burning Man presence is just the latest sign of its trending status. Celebs such as Kim Kardashian, Gwyneth Paltrow and LeBron James are reportedly fans. A Reddit community devoted to ketogenic eating recently soared to over 400,000 users. Prepackaged foods such as snack bars and “keto pizzas” are now hitting supermarkets en masse.
The diet centers on fatty foods such as bacon, butter, coconut and avocado. All told, they should compose 65 to 75 percent of a person’s daily intake, says nutrition guru and former performance athlete Mark Sisson, author of the new best-seller “The Keto Reset Diet” (Harmony Books). In theory, filling up on fat gives the body little choice but to burn its own stored fat, a state known as “ketosis.”
As for the rest of the diet, protein sources such as steak and salmon account for 15 to 25 percent, while carbs are capped at 10 percent — mostly in the form of low-starch veggies such as broccoli and kale. You can forget pretty much everything else:…