Nearly 25 years after the release of 311’s hit song “Down,” frontman Nick Hexum is still touring and making music with his original bandmates — and he’s just as fit as he was in the ’90s.
What’s the 49-year-old’s secret? The Ketogenic diet.
“I figured I could just eat as much as I want and have more energy,” says Hexum, who is gearing up for the release of 311’s 13th studio album Voyager on July 12. “Once you get through that little Keto bump and get adapted, you have much more sustained energy,” he tells PEOPLE. “It’s not up and down like it is on a carb-rich diet.”
While the trendy eating plan has a lengthy list of restrictions — including fruit, grains and sweets — the “Down” singer says Keto is sustainable for him.
“Most of the year I just eat a lot of eggs, salmon, I love macadamia nuts, stuff like that,” says the father of three. “I eat out plenty. I don’t feel like I’m depriving myself. Some people try to eat too clean on [keto]. I’m like, ‘Just go crazy with the fats: butter, cheese, bacon.’ Let it be fun!”
Hexum doesn’t take part in full-blown cheat days — especially now, when he’s on tour — but the Oklahoma-native does indulge with his “amazing homemade pizza” every once in awhile.
“I don’t like to be too strict,” Hexum says. “I don’t want to take the fun out of it and completely deprive myself.”
In addition to his low-carb diet, the singer also stays trim by experimenting with various workout routines, including surfing, basketball, weight-lifting and his latest obsession: 45-minute interval training.
“Musically, I like to try a lot of different things, and physically, I try a lot of different things too,” Hexum says. “When I’m in shape and I’m on stage, I feel very comfortable and focused.”
Hexum isn’t the only celebrity who swears by Keto.
Last month, Kourtney Kardashian revealed she’s back on the diet after “treating” herself for the last few months because it proved successful for her a few years ago.
“We wait all year for summer, and when it finally rolls around, I want to look and feel my best,” the 40-year-old reality star wrote on her lifestyle website Poosh. “… I’ve been treating myself lately and really want to get back on track, so I’ve committed myself to keto for the next month.”
“My body never looked better than when I did the keto diet two and half years ago, when I did it for two months,” she said. “In my experience, I’ve found the best method to train my body to curb sugar cravings, burn fat, and kick-start weight loss is by sticking to a keto diet.”
But eliminating carbohydrates altogether is controversial and could even be dangerous, according to doctor of integrative medicine and bestselling author Andrew Weil.
“I think it’s a fad, I don’t think it will last and I don’t think it’s a healthy way to eat for a length of time,” Dr. Weil, Director and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine, told PEOPLE in June. “You’re eliminating carbohydrates — it’s not a good idea to cut out a whole macronutrient. I think there’s a risk of getting serious deficiencies.”
While ketosis is a natural process that occurs when the body burns fat because there is no glucose to burn for energy, Dr. Weil called it “an abnormal state; it’s a starvation state.”
“It represents a misunderstanding,” he added. “There are good and bad carbs. There are a lot of carbs that people eat that are going to promote weight gain and reduce insulin sensitivity and you want to learn the differences in kinds of carbohydrates so you limit the [bad carbs] that you eat but you don’t eliminate them totally.”
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