Some people on a keto or low carb diet choose to count total carbs instead of net carbs. This makes it more difficult to fit in more leafy greens and low carb vegetables (which are filled with fiber), so you should only try that if you don’t get results with a net carb method. And, start with reducing sugar alcohols and low carb treats before deciding to do a “total carbs” method.
Prior to the advent of exogenous insulin for the treatment of diabetes mellitus in the 1920's, the mainstay of therapy was dietary modification. Diet recommendations in that era were aimed at controlling glycemia (actually, glycosuria) and were dramatically different from current low-fat, high-carbohydrate dietary recommendations for patients with diabetes [1,2]. For example, the Dr. Elliot Joslin Diabetic Diet in 1923 consisted of "meats, poultry, game, fish, clear soups, gelatin, eggs, butter, olive oil, coffee, tea" and contained approximately 5% of energy from carbohydrates, 20% from protein, and 75% from fat . A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era .
“As a physician, I see daily the tremendous impact that our pandemic of chronic nutritional disease is having on people and the health care system, despite our best conventional efforts over the last 40 years. I now focus my time and energy on counseling, supporting and guiding patients on the power of real food as medicine. Using the core principles of low-carb, high-fat eating and intermittent fasting, we see great improvements in diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, NAFLD and many more chronic diseases. Diet Doctor is a great resource for my patients to help them in their journey.”
“I am amazed at what a low-carbohydrate diet can do in real life and in my oncology practice. I see many cases of difficult to treat cancers, and know full-well the limitations of conventional chemotherapy. When patients ask about the ketogenic diet and cancer, I point out our recently concluded clinical trial that showed the ketogenic diet to be safe in advanced cancer patients and possibly beneficial in improving quality of life and survival. The diet, together with regular cancer treatment, could be a win-win combination. Diet Doctor is a fabulous website, chock full of information!”
BHB (Beta-hydroxybutyrate) is the first substrate that kicks the metabolic state of ketosis into action. If you take it, BHB is able to start processing in your body resulting in energy and greatly speed up weight loss by putting your body into ketosis. contains BHB, which forces the body into a constant state of Ketosis, helping you burn fat for energy instead of carbs.
The accurate measurement of body composition changes is relevant to assess the contribution of the diet intervention, not only to total body weight but to the changes produced in FM, FFM, visceral fat tissue, and total body water (25, 27). To obtain such information, multicompartmental models that integrate information obtained from a single measurement (body density, total mineral mass, total body water) may be used to reduce the number of assumptions made on the stability of body characteristics (28). These models are of limited application in clinical practice, because they do not provide immediate results, are expensive, and require advanced analytical expertise (29, 30). For such reasons the 3 more widely used body composition analysis techniques were used in the present work. DXA is the most validated and commonly used technique to analyze body composition in obese patients and is based on the attenuation of a low-energy X-ray beam, depending on the tissue density and chemical composition. DXA is considered the gold standard technique by most groups working with body composition and was used as the reference method in the present work. Bioelectrical impedance techniques are low cost and readily available and rely on the use of population-specific equations to assess intracellular and extracellular water distribution. The MF-BIA system used in this study is a recently developed version that is not based on statistical population data and is capable of accurately assessing subjects with different body shapes and also obese subjects. Finally, ADP measures body density and is used more easily than other more complex systems for measuring body density, such as underwater weighing, and provides comparable results for obese subjects. Therefore, the use of 3 validated methods that use different principles was relevant for evaluating patients in different stages of a body weight reduction program.
While body weight decreased significantly (-8.5 kg) in these 21 diabetic participants, the mean weight loss was less compared with what we observed in the LCKD participants of an earlier trial (-12.0 kg) . Given that the diabetic participants had a higher baseline mean weight than the LCKD participants of our previous trial (131 kg vs. 97 kg), this translates into an even more dramatic disparity in percent change in body weight (-6.6% vs. -12.9%). This lesser weight loss might result from several factors. First, in the current study, most of the participants were taking insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agents that are known to induce weight gain[20,21] Second, these same agents, particularly insulin, inhibit ketosis, which is strived for in the earliest phases of the LCKD; while it remains unclear whether ketones actually play a role in weight loss on the LCKD, previous research in non-diabetic patients has shown a positive correlation between level of ketonuria and weight loss success . Lastly, compared with our previous study the participants in the current study had more comorbid illness, lower socioeconomic status, and a shorter duration of follow-up (16 weeks versus 24 weeks), all of which are associated with reduced success on any weight loss program .
The Bulletproof Diet (download the roadmap for free here) counters these side effects by keeping protein levels even lower. It is a cyclical ketogenic diet, which means you eat keto for 5-6 days a week and then do a weekly protein fast, which lowers inflammation and kickstarts fat-burning. This is much better for your body and spurs weight loss even more. The Bulletproof Diet also involves a carb re-feed day, where you eat slightly more carbs than usual. Since keto diets mimic starvation, you want to make sure your body knows that food isn’t scarce (this is especially important for women trying to conceive).
The importance of dietary CHO is so well ingrained that the concept is taken for granted. In fact, basic macronutrient guidelines are predicated upon the idea that the central nervous system (CNS) requires a minimum of ~130 grams (~520 kcal) per day to function properly (i.e., to maintain optimal cognitive function). As a result, the minimum recommended daily intake of CHO reflects this idea (7). Similarly, most contemporary texts on sports nutrition emphasize the outsized role of CHO in optimizing both athletic performance and recovery (9). Frequently referred to as the “master fuel,” recommendations range from 3 – 12 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, per day. As an example, the recommended daily intake for a 180-lb athlete would be 246 – 982 grams, with a caloric equivalent of 984 – 3,928 calories. In marked contrast, the KD would recommend a maximum of just 50 grams (~ 200 calories) per day for the same individual.
“I started gaining weight in college. Too Much Beer. And it didn't stop, sitting at a desk job all day, going out to dinner ever night. I packed on the pounds. I knew something had to change. My friend recommened to me. I suddenly had energy again! I started taking the stairs at work. Biking on the weekend. I've been using it for 18 months now - and let me tell you - I'm back baby! ” - Carlos Thomas
Previous studies have shown that ketogenic diets preferably reduce the total FM in obese patients (10–13). However, the precise distribution of these losses has not been determined. In this study we confirmed that the diet reduces total FM and specifically visceral adipose tissue, which has a greater impact in predicting cardiometabolic complications associated with obesity than does the total volume of body adiposity (2, 31).
“I have been applying low carb solutions to metabolic problems since the moment I closed the cover of Good Calories, Bad Calories. I share with my low-carb colleagues the wonderful experience of offering effective advice and seeing real results. In addition to metabolic and hormonal problems, I have more recently focused on flexible low-carb approaches for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions. I greatly enjoy the lively online low-carb community and rely on Diet Doctor as a resource for myself and my patients.”
What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Low-carbohydrate diet advocates including Gary Taubes and David Ludwig have proposed a "carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis" in which carbohydrate is said to be uniquely fattening because it raises insulin levels and so causes fat to accumulate unduly. The hypothesis appears to run counter to known human biology whereby there is no good evidence of any such association between the actions of insulin and fat accumulation and obesity. The hypothesis predicted that low-carbohydrate dieting would offer a "metabolic advantage" of increased energy expenditure equivalent to 400-600 kcal/day, in accord with the promise of the Atkin's diet: a "high calorie way to stay thin forever".
Your dietary needs change dramatically with keto. Sodium becomes a critical nutrient, as do magnesium and potassium. “At least in the initial stages of being on the keto diet, you will urinate more. One of the key electrolytes lost through urination is magnesium,” says Carolyn Dean, MD, ND, a health and nutrition expert and author of The Magnesium Miracle. “Magnesium is an energy mineral, which will help you burn fat and lose weight.”
But according to the International Society of Sports Nutrition, it won’t. Two groups of resistance-trained and semi-fit men were put on the same training schedule. Half of them followed a 'Western diet' (55% carbs, 25% fat, 20% protein), and the other half followed a keto diet (5% carbs, 75% fat, 20% protein). Both groups consumed the same number of calories. After 11 weeks, not only did participants in the keto group lose more body fat, they also gained more lean muscle mass.
Sleep enough – for most people at least seven hours per night on average – and keep stress under control. Sleep deprivation and stress hormones raise blood sugar levels, slowing ketosis and weight loss a bit. Plus they might make it harder to stick to a keto diet, and resist temptations. So while handling sleep and stress will not get you into ketosis on it’s own, it’s still worth thinking about.
For patients who benefit, half achieve a seizure reduction within five days (if the diet starts with an initial fast of one to two days), three-quarters achieve a reduction within two weeks, and 90% achieve a reduction within 23 days. If the diet does not begin with a fast, the time for half of the patients to achieve an improvement is longer (two weeks), but the long-term seizure reduction rates are unaffected. Parents are encouraged to persist with the diet for at least three months before any final consideration is made regarding efficacy.
Wilder's colleague, paediatrician Mynie Gustav Peterman, later formulated the classic diet, with a ratio of one gram of protein per kilogram of body weight in children, 10–15 g of carbohydrate per day, and the remainder of calories from fat. Peterman's work in the 1920s established the techniques for induction and maintenance of the diet. Peterman documented positive effects (improved alertness, behaviour, and sleep) and adverse effects (nausea and vomiting due to excess ketosis). The diet proved to be very successful in children: Peterman reported in 1925 that 95% of 37 young patients had improved seizure control on the diet and 60% became seizure-free. By 1930, the diet had also been studied in 100 teenagers and adults. Clifford Joseph Barborka, Sr., also from the Mayo Clinic, reported that 56% of those older patients improved on the diet and 12% became seizure-free. Although the adult results are similar to modern studies of children, they did not compare as well to contemporary studies. Barborka concluded that adults were least likely to benefit from the diet, and the use of the ketogenic diet in adults was not studied again until 1999.
“I am a physician with type 1 diabetes. I have been using a low-carb, ketogenic diet to treat my own diabetes for the past 16 years. Evidence shows that low-carb diets are safe and effective. With the potential to reverse type 2 diabetes, control type 1 diabetes and even stop, slow down, or reverse complications, a low-carb diet can be life changing. Diet Doctor provides the most accurate and relevant materials for a healthy, easy and fun low-carb experience.”
Diet is the most important lifestyle factor for weight loss. In order to effect significant loss of weight it is necessary to create a consistent caloric deficit. This has the rather obvious side effect of leaving individuals feeling hungry and as though they are in a constant state of deprivation. Dieting is based upon this basic concept, which is the most likely reason why dieting is very likely to fail in the long-term. The ketogenic diet, while controversial and a highly polarizing subject, has demonstrated promise as an alternative dietary strategy for weight management. The KD may hold an advantage over traditional calorie-restricted diets, in that nutritional ketosis may enhance appetite control, and subsequently improve dietary adherence and long-term success. Nevertheless, the KD should be approached with caution, as there are both short- and long-term potential negative side effects. More research into this unique dietary strategy is warranted to fully investigate all potentially positive and negative aspects.
“I have been a UK family doctor since 1990, and discovered the low-carb and keto ways of life in 2014. Until then, I had never seen a way of eating that resulted in normal weight and improvements in other health problems like diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, and asthma. When I discovered Diet Doctor I was very impressed, and loved the recipes. I now run low-carb courses for the public and health care professionals.”
To maintain ketosis (where you burn fat rather than sugar for energy), you need to keep your carb intake to around 20 to 50 grams daily. Some of my patients have to go to the lower end to get those results. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate some carbs: You can fit plenty of green vegetables and low-sugar fruits like berries and avocado into even a 20-gram carb allotment.
Total body composition was first measured by iDXA (GE Healthcare Lunar, Madison, WI). Daily quality control scans were acquired during the study period. No hardware or software changes were made during the course of the trial. Subjects were scanned using standard imaging and positioning protocols, while wearing only light clothing. For the current study, bone mineral density, lean body mass, and FM values, which are directly measured by the GE Lunar Body Composition Software (GE Healthcare), were used. Some derivative values, such as bone mineral content, regional lean mass, ALM, FFM, and FM percentage (FM%), as well as android and gynoid fat (%), were also calculated. The android/gynoid ratio was automatically generated and analyzed using enCORE software, version 13.6 (GE Healthcare). For measuring android fat, a region of interest was automatically defined as the caudal limit placed at the top of the iliac crest, and its high was set to 20% of the distance from the top of the iliac crest to the base of the skull to define the cephalic limit of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. The scanner was calibrated daily against the calibration block supplied by the manufacturer.
24. Watson N.A., Dyer K.A., Buckley J.D., Brinkworth G.D., Coates A.M., Parfitt G., Howe P.R.C., Noakes M., Dye L., Chadwick H., et al. A randomised trial comparing low-fat diets differing in carbohydrate and protein ratio, combined with regular moderate intensity exercise, on glycaemic control, cardiometabolic risk factors, food cravings, cognitive function and psychological wellbeing in adults with type 2 diabetes: Study protocol. Contemp. Clin. Trials. 2015;45:217–225. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
Dr. Campos, it is so discouraging to see that you disparage the ketogenic diet based on your assumption that it is very heavy in poor quality processed meats. No diet that relies on processed foods can be viewed as “healthy”. Become better informed by getting up to speed with what Jeff Volek, RD, PhD, calls a “well-formulated ketogenic diet.” Also, learn more about the potential of the diet to slow cancer progression (my specialty). You owe it to your patients who are depending on you for advice. Present them with facts, not opinions.
Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited. Most of the studies so far have had a small number of participants, were short-term (12 weeks or less), and did not include control groups. A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different. 
What a great post. I thought i would add about the selection of food you eat on keto and that everyone is different. Some food gives you energy and some doesnt, this varies person to person. I started and quit keto 3 times before i managed to find my balance. The first few times it made be poorly, from the shock of diet change. However, you can wean yourself into the diet which i did the last time when i had the most success.
When dietary CHO is of sufficient quantity the body has the ability to store small amounts for later use. Stored CHO is referred to as glycogen. Body reserves of glycogen, however, are limited, with relatively small amounts stored in the liver and skeletal muscle. As CHO is the “go to” energy source for the CNS, as well as an important energy source for other tissues, the body must maintain a stable supply of circulating blood glucose. While this is a complex process, the liver is primarily responsible for either breaking down stored glycogen or manufacturing small amounts of glucose in a process known as gluconeogenesis. In this manner the liver is able to maintain circulating blood glucose levels under most conditions. If the liver is unable to supply a sufficient amount of glucose, blood sugar levels will fall and result in hypoglycemia, a condition characterized by hunger, fatigue, headache, nausea and impairments in cognitive ability. In sporting terms hypoglycemia is referred to as “bonking” or “hitting the wall” and significantly affects athletic performance. Therefore, it is easy to understand the perceived need for dietary CHO; in the absence of sufficient blood glucose, physiological function is rapidly compromised.
“As a family physician in the most obese state in the USA, I see the devastation of type 2 diabetes and metabolic disease in almost every hospital patient I see. For six years, I have been using education and a low-carb lifestyle to help these patients get healthier, reduce meds, gain energy, and lose belly fat. They learn that this is a sustainable life plan filled with joy and good food. Every day I share the amazing resource of Diet Doctor in my practice. Together as a global community we can put these conditions in remission and prevent them all together.”
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures. Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet. Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective. Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.
A cyclic ketogenic diet (or carb-cycling) is a low-carbohydrate diet with intermittent periods of high or moderate carbohydrate consumption. This is a form of the general ketogenic diet that is used as a way to maximize fat loss while maintaining the ability to perform high-intensity exercise. A ketogenic diet limits the number of grams of carbohydrate the dieter may eat, which may be anywhere between 0 and 50g per day. The remainder of the caloric intake must come primarily from fat sources and protein sources in order to maintain ketosis (the condition in which the body burns fats and uses ketones instead of glucose for fuel).
Various mechanisms may explain the variations in body water. For example, glycogen depletion induced by VLCK diets could cause a marked increase in diuresis, given that glycogen is usually stored together with water (39, 40). Water loss might also be associated with ketonuria, because ketone bodies increase the renal sodium and water loss as a result (39, 41). These assumptions seem reasonable considering that the peak water loss coincides with the phase of maximum ketosis. However, the mechanisms explaining the diuresis observed with VLCK and with most hypocaloric diets are not known at present (30). Contrary to previous observations (42, 43), DXA analysis evidenced a maintenance in bone mineral density in the current study.
Adding heavy cream or half-and-half to your coffee is one way to get an additional source of fat into your day, says Keatley. Just realize that it is a source of saturated fat — and, given the small serving size, it’s easy to go overboard. According to the USDA, 1 tbsp has 51 calories, 5 g of fat (3.5 g saturated fat), and is just shy of ½ g of carbohydrate.
Alison Moodie is a health reporter based in Los Angeles. She has written for numerous outlets including Newsweek, Agence France-Presse, The Daily Mail and HuffPost. For years she covered sustainable business for The Guardian. She holds a master’s degree from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, where she majored in TV news. When she's not working she's doting on her two kids and whipping up Bulletproof-inspired dishes in her kitchen.