“As a full-spectrum family physician since 2004, luckily I stumbled on the wonderful low-carb community two years ago after my amazing wife was forced to make dietary changes after surgery. I’ve never looked back! After transforming my own health, with help from resources like Diet Doctor, Jimmy Moore, and Dr. Jason Fung, I’ve committed to bettering the lives of my patients with intensive dietary management through LCHF and intermittent fasting. Empowering patients to make these lifestyle changes has truly brought back the joy of medicine for me. I am so thankful to all who have inspired me along the way.”
In 2017, Drs. Kevin Hall and Juen Guo published what may be the first meta-analysis of controlled feeding studies that compared diets of equal calorie and protein content but differing in carbohydrate and fat content . They made sure only to include studies in which all of the food was provided by the researchers. With these criteria, Drs. Kevin Hall and Juen Guo were able to ensure that confounding variables like the thermic effect of protein and subjects self-reporting their calorie intake wouldn’t muddle up the findings.
Minerals/Electrolytes: Adopting a ketogenic diet will change the way your body uses (and loses) certain minerals. Not replacing these minerals can lead to symptoms of the “keto flu” such as lightheadedness, headaches, constipation, muscle cramps and fatigue. Refer to this article for tips on how to replace common minerals such as sodium, potassium, magnesium and calcium.
Bonnie J. Brehm, Randy J. Seeley, Stephen R. Daniels, and David A. D’Alessio, “A Randomized Trial Comparing a Very Low Carbohydrate Diet and a Calorie-Restricted Low Fat Diet on Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Healthy Women,” The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Vol 88, No 4; January 14, 2009. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2002-021480.
If you're doing everything else right but missing these elements, you'll stall your progress. Getting subpar sleep, not moving enough, and environmental toxins are among the factors that can stall weight loss even when you're vigilantly following a keto diet. What you eat matters, but how you live also dramatically affects weight loss. For many patients, dialing up sleep, reducing environmental and psychological stressors, and incorporating high-intensity burst training can be big needle movers to overcome plateaus.
The good news, however, is that following a well-formulated ketogenic diet should help increase HDL while lowering triglyceride levels. LDL will likely remain the same or potentially increase in order to efficiently transport triglycerides to cells to metabolize for energy. Again, LDL will likely become more of the pattern A type which is a highly beneficial shift.
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 weight loss program has 5 steps (Supplemental Fig. 1) and adheres to the most recent (2015) European Food Safety Authority guidelines on total carbohydrate intake (17). The first 3 steps consist of a VLCK diet (600 to 800 kcal/d), which is low in carbohydrates [< 50 g (26 to 30 g) per day from vegetables] and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high-biological-value proteins range from 0.8 to 1.2 g per kg of ideal body weight to ensure minimal body requirements are met and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients consumed high-biological-value protein preparations 5 times per day, and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, 1 of the protein servings was replaced by a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein replaced the second serving of biological protein. Throughout the ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations (18). These first 3 steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time, depending on the individual and the weight loss target.
“As an emergency medicine and weight-loss physician, I strive to support my patients’ long-term success in weight-loss and wellness. After losing 30 pounds myself using a low-carb, healthy-fat diet and intermittent fasting, I now feel compelled to share this lifestyle with others. In the ER, patients present with concerns and complications stemming from their dietary choices; I use this as an opportunity to educate them on dietary and lifestyle changes. In my weight-loss clinic, I recommend a personalized low-carb and intermittent fasting plan. The Diet Doctor website is an easy, effective, informative resource that complements my patient care.”
Several studies have investigated the potential of LCD or KD on weight loss. For example, Brinkworth et al. (2) compared one year of low-fat (LF) vs. LCD diet in adults with abdominal obesity. Subjects were randomly assigned and diets were isocaloric, with moderate energy restriction. Both groups realized significant weight loss, however, there was no significant difference between groups, suggesting that a LCD was equally effective as a LF diet.
In a fantastic online review of the study, Dr. Stephan Guyenet, a nutritional research expert, notes the study's thoroughness and that the results, at face value, support the researchers’ initial hypothesis that a ketogenic diet promoted greater fat loss. Compared with the higher carbohydrate diet, the keto diet coincided with increased energy expenditure, meaning the subjects appeared to burn more calories when their carbohydrate levels were cut, thought they were consuming the same amount of calories as they were on the high carbohydrate diet.
Increases in cholesterol levels need discussion too. We do see temporary increases in cholesterol levels often as individuals transition onto a ketogenic diet. However, when you examine lipid particle size (a more important way to look at the cardiovascular risks), the risk pattern doesn’t seem to increase with a ketogenic diet. Harvard Health has written about lipid particle size here before: http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/should-you-seek-advanced-cholesterol-testing-
I have been on a keto diet for over a year. I lost 60 pounds and got off five different meds and a shot in the stomach for the last 25 years. Fasting sugar under 150 was considered good control. A1C was usually around 7. Now sugars are rarely over 80 and A1C is 5.4. THEN I PLATEAUED AND EVEN GAINED BACK 10 pounds. Little did I know I have been shooting myself in the foot. It didn't help that I quit a job that required seven miles of vigorous walking each day, but I begin my day with a big glass of half and half. I didn't realize I was adding 16-20g hidden carbs over my 25g allotment. I am switching to making my own with heavy whip cream and almond milk. That drops carb count to 6.4g per cup.
In steps 4 or 5, the ketogenic phases were ended by the physician in charge of the patient based on the amount of weight lost, and the patient started a low-calorie diet (800–1500 kcal/day). At this point, the patients underwent a progressive incorporation of different food groups and participated in a program of alimentary re-education to guarantee the long-term maintenance of the weight loss. The maintenance diet consisted of an eating plan balanced in carbohydrates, protein, and fat. Depending on the individual, the calories consumed ranged between 1500 and 2000 kcal/day, and the target was to maintain the weight lost and promote a healthy lifestyle.