Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
But all those studies were very small, and not all research on the keto diet is 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.
“I follow and recommend a low-carb or keto lifestyle, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients whether or not they have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I do this because of the health benefits to anyone who follows them, but also because of the science behind them and the impressive clinical results I have seen in my patients. I have recommended the Diet Doctor website for the past 5-6 years as a first-stop to find completely trustworthy information, delicious recipes, great visuals and excellent videos.”
Health experts think that the first law is relevant to why we get fat because they say to themselves and then to us, as the The New York Times did, “Those who consume more calories than they expend in energy will gain weight.” This is true. It has to be. To get fatter and heavier, we have to overeat. We have to consume more calories than we expend. That’s a given. But thermodynamics tells us nothing about why this happens, why we consume more calories than we expend. It only says that if we do, we will get heavier, and if we get heavier, then we did.

Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
If you do try the diet outside of medical supervision, Kizer says it’s important to test your urine with urinalysis ketone test strips to ensure your ketone levels don’t become dangerously high. Ketone urine test strips are also used by people with diabetes to determine if they’re at risk for ketoacidosis (DKA), a life-threatening complication that occurs when an individual doesn’t have enough insulin in their body. (Healthy ketosis is considered 0.5 to 3.0 mM blood ketones.)
The Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Going Keto: Thinking about giving the ketogenic diet a try? People are using it not only to lose weight, but to feel more energized, sleep better, and improve their mental focus. It’s not hype. The keto diet is a top health trend because it works. But before you go all in, here are the top 10 things you should know.

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 [3]. A similar diet was advocated by Dr. Frederick Allen of the same era [4].


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.
“As an ophthalmologist, I use a low-carb, high-fat diet approach with intermittent fasting to treat and prevent vision loss associated with diabetic retinopathy in my patients. In addition to my ophthalmology practice, I also treat patients with obesity and metabolic diseases with positive results. I recommend the Diet Doctor website to all my patients so that they get a deep understanding of the low-carb, high-fat approach. It has all the valuable resources they need for a successful ketogenic lifestyle.”
“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.”
Functional medicine M.D. Sara Gottfried contributes frequently to goop on the topic of weight-loss resistance. She’s spent the past two years rigorously studying the ketogenic diet—high-fat, low-carb, moderate-protein. Named for ketones, which Gottfried explains are “the energy source made by the body when there’s not enough carbohydrates to be burned for energy demand,” the goal of the diet is to get the body to burn fat instead of sugar.
“I’m a family physician and obesity medicine specialist who has been tailoring ketogenic diets for my patients since 2004. I love and live the ketogenic lifestyle. My staff and I have helped reverse hundreds of cases of diabetes and metabolic syndrome over the last 15 years with this simple, effective, long-term lifestyle change. Diet Doctor has been a “go-to” website for thousands of my patients over the years as my patients and I have made this life-saving and health-changing journey.”
In summary, the LCKD had positive effects on body weight, waist measurement, serum triglycerides, and glycemic control in a cohort of 21 participants with type 2 diabetes. Most impressive is that improvement in hemoglobin A1c was observed despite a small sample size and short duration of follow-up, and this improvement in glycemic control occurred while diabetes medications were reduced substantially in many participants. Future research must further examine the optimal medication adjustments, particularly for diabetes and diuretic agents, in order to avoid possible complications of hypoglycemia and dehydration. Because the LCKD can be very effective at lowering blood glucose, patients on diabetes medication who use this diet should be under close medical supervision or capable of adjusting their medication.

A popular keto supplement are exogenous ketones (popularly called “keto diet pills”) that may help you achieve results earlier as well as remain in that state. (Don’t confuse exogenous ketones with raspberry ketones, as the latter don’t raise ketone levels in the body or mimic endogenous ketones, so you wouldn’t use raspberry ketones in your regimen.)


As keto grows in popularity, I see more women struggle with it. My anecdotal observation in my medical office and working with people online is that younger men seem to perform best, and better than women of all ages in nutritional ketosis. My female patients, myself included, may have more problems on keto, with their stress hormones (i.e. producing too much cortisol), thyroid function, and may even develop menstrual irregularities. Some women do fine, others may feel worse, suffer from mood issues, and can even gain weight. We are still learning more about why men fare better than women (it may be related to their higher muscle mass). Additionally, there are at least ten genes that may make a person less likely to benefit from keto.
You've selected an efficient, well-designed meal substitute system. The technology of meal substitute demands continuous and careful monitoring from experts. It can be unsafe to do this on your own, although it won't be practical to get your own personal doctor either. The best solution is to join a meal substitute program that offers an extensive solution-from providing advised items, to helping your acquire healthier habits, to aiding your persistence for a fit, energetic and healthier lifestyle.
I’m discouraged to see that nowhere in the article nor in the comments is there a mention of a diet’s best fit to genetics. Consider if someone is an APOE E2 carrier and/or has certain polymorphisms of the APO5 gene. These are quite rare in Okinawa but much more prevalent in the USA (12% of the population). According to a number of well-designed studies, these genetic characteristics point to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet as beneficial and even a “moderate” carb diet as problematic.
During this study, the patients followed the different steps of the method until they reached the target weight or up to a maximum of 4 months of follow-up, although patients remained under medical supervision for the following months. Patients visited the research team every 15 ± 2 days to control adherence and evaluate potential side effects. Complete anthropometric, body composition, biochemical and phycological assessments were performed at four of the visits which were made according to the evolution of each patient through the steps of ketosis and weight loss: Visit 1 (baseline), visit 2 (maximum ketosis), visit 3 (reduced ketosis) and visit 4 (Endpoint).
“I first began recommending a low-carbohydrate approach to diet and lifestyle in 2017 after discovering personal success with this way of eating. Since then, I’ve helped many patients adopt a LCHF diet and seen substantial clinical improvements — particularly with insulin resistance and diabetes — with this approach. Eating whole, nutritious food is good for everyone and results in the remission of disease and restoration of both physical and mental health.”

As keto grows in popularity, I see more women struggle with it. My anecdotal observation in my medical office and working with people online is that younger men seem to perform best, and better than women of all ages in nutritional ketosis. My female patients, myself included, may have more problems on keto, with their stress hormones (i.e. producing too much cortisol), thyroid function, and may even develop menstrual irregularities. Some women do fine, others may feel worse, suffer from mood issues, and can even gain weight. We are still learning more about why men fare better than women (it may be related to their higher muscle mass). Additionally, there are at least ten genes that may make a person less likely to benefit from keto.


I have been on keto for past 7 months. Triglycerides improved from 117 to 86 and HDL from 53 to 55, VLDL from 23 to 17 compared to last year. My problem is, LDL has been increasing by an average of 20 points every year for past 5 years, it was 130 in 2014, My metabolic panel is normal. Below is my lipid panel done a couple of days ago. Could you please advise me on how to improve my LDL level?
And good news for coffee addicts: you can still have your morning cup of joe. You’ll just need to adjust what you stir into it. Switch out flavored creamer for the real deal—full-fat heavy whipping cream, which has only 1 gram of carbs per tablespoon. If you want to give your java a jolt of sweet, stir in a low-carb sweetener that uses sugar alcohols. But if you can skip the sweet, even better. In time, you’ll retrain your palate to not crave a sugary start to the day. This is what everyone gets wrong about the keto diet. 

Make things yourself. While it’s extremely convenient to buy most things pre-made or pre-cooked, it always adds to the price per pound on items. Try prepping veggies ahead of time instead of buying pre-cut ones. Try making your stew meat from a chuck roast. Or, simply try to make your mayo and salad dressings at home. The simplest of things can work to cut down on your overall grocery shopping.
Although the KD has shown promise as an alternative dietary strategy for weight management, it should be approached with caution. Acutely, the KD causes physiological changes which may manifest as the “keto flu,” a set of symptoms which commonly includes headache, nausea, gastrointestinal upset and fatigue. A recent study by Urbain et al. (22) illustrates this point, as they state, “Consistent with other studies, our subjects complained about headache, gastrointestinal symptoms, and general weakness mainly during the 1-week metabolic adaptation phase to a KD.” While these symptoms typically resolve within the first one to two weeks, this may present an unpleasant barrier for many individuals to overcome.
Fats: When it comes to types of fat to consume, anything goes. It’s recommended that you consume a mixture of saturated and monounsaturated fats. Things like coconut oil, which contains medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) help keep ketone levels high. So long as you’re keeping your carbs in check, if you want to go as far as swigging bacon grease to get your fat in, you won’t be the first.
But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.

7. Raygan, F., Bahmani, F., Kouchaki, E., Aghadavod, E., Sharifi, S., Akbari, E., . . . Asemi, Z. (2016). Comparative effects of carbohydrate versus fat restriction on metabolic profiles, biomarkers of inflammation and oxidative stress in overweight patients with Type 2 diabetic and coronary heart disease: A randomized clinical trial. PMID: 28607566
The ketogenic diet reduces seizure frequency by more than 50% in half of the patients who try it and by more than 90% in a third of patients.[18] Three-quarters of children who respond do so within two weeks, though experts recommend a trial of at least three months before assuming it has been ineffective.[9] Children with refractory epilepsy are more likely to benefit from the ketogenic diet than from trying another anticonvulsant drug.[1] Some evidence indicates that adolescents and adults may also benefit from the diet.[9]
There are vegetables that are high in carbs and others low in carbs. The keto diet recommends sticking to the ones low on carbs but encourages you to eat a lot of them. Best vegetables are all green ones to make it easy. And vegetables that grow above the ground (e.g. lettuce) are always better than the ones that grow below the ground (e.g. potatoes)
On a ketogenic diet, your entire body switches its fuel supply to run mostly on fat, burning fat 24-7. When insulin levels become very low, fat burning can increase dramatically. It becomes easier to access your fat stores to burn them off. This is great if you’re trying to lose weight, but there are also other less obvious benefits, such as less hunger and a steady supply of energy. This may help keep you alert and focused.
This work demonstrates that a VLCK diet following the PNK method induces a severe body weight reduction concomitantly with a decrease in food craving and improvements in psychological well-being measured by physical activity, sleep quality, female sexual function, and quality of life scores. The effect in food craving and psychological well-being could be relevant factors to guarantee the success of this kind of nutritional treatment. Moreover, this effect is added to the beneficial effects previously observed regarding body composition, energy metabolism, and biochemical parameters [4,7,18,35].
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.
It seems obvious that the type of food consumed can affect energy expenditure and fat loss. Staying away from processed foods made with refined starches and added sugar is, “the road map to reducing the obesity epidemic in the United States,” said Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University.
“As a psychiatrist who practices traditional and holistic (integrative) psychiatry, I find my patients are always looking for non-pharmacological ways to improve both their psychological and physical health. Diet Doctor has proven to be an excellent and reliable resource to help my patients develop and maintain healthy lifestyle choices with low-carb and ketogenic diets. My patients are thrilled with the extensive variety of recipe options that are easy to prepare as well as the informative videos on relevant health issues. I am equally thrilled with the positive benefits in my patients’ mood, anxiety, and cognitive clarity.”
This work was supported by the PronoKal Group® and by grants from the Fondo de Investigacion Sanitaria (PE13/00024 and PI14/01012 research projects) and CIBERobn (CB06/003), Instituto de Salud Carlos III–Subdireccion General de Evaluacion y Fomento de la Investigación; Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional, and the Health Department of the Xunta de Galicia, Spain. D.G.A. is grateful to the Colombian Department of Science, Technology and Innovation – COLCIENCIAS as a recipient of their predoctoral scholarship to support his work. The funding sources had no involvement in the study design, recruitment of patients, study interventions, data collection, or interpretation of the results. A PronoKal representative (I.S.) was involved in the study design and revised the final version of the manuscript, without intervention in the analysis of data, statistical evaluation, or final interpretation of the results of this study.
Here’s encouragement…it’s not all about weight in the beginning. As you ween off of sugar (which is really poison to your body), your body has to start getting rebooted. I had a solid week or more of serious detox. I knew that getting the poison out of my body was going to be significant, and it was. Don’t be discouraged. It’s well worth it to truly rid your gut and body of cancer-causing poison, not to mention your ability to fight disease. The acid level will change. Your arthritis (joints) will improve. Stick with it and don’t give up. Your family is worth it!

Hence, the 2 main objectives of this study were to assess the changes in body composition and muscle strength promoted by a VLCK diet in the treatment of obese patients and to compare different methodologies used to evaluate body composition. To achieve this, body composition was evaluated by 3 potent and well-validated techniques: dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (MF-BIA), and air displacement plethysmography (ADP) at different stages during the weight reduction process induced by a VLCK diet.
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