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.
The premise of the ketogenic diet for weight loss is that if you deprive the body of glucose—the main source of energy for all cells in the body, which is obtained by eating carbohydrate foods—an alternative fuel called ketones is produced from stored fat (thus, the term “keto”-genic). The brain demands the most glucose in a steady supply, about 120 grams daily, because it cannot store glucose. During fasting, or when very little carbohydrate is eaten, the body first pulls stored glucose from the liver and temporarily breaks down muscle to release glucose. If this continues for 3-4 days and stored glucose is fully depleted, blood levels of a hormone called insulin decrease, and the body begins to use fat as its primary fuel. The liver produces ketone bodies from fat, which can be used in the absence of glucose. [1]

Much of the research into low-carbohydrate dieting has been of poor quality and studies which reported large effects have garnered disproportionate attention in comparison to those which are methodologically sound.[5] Higher quality studies tend to find no meaningful difference in outcome between low-fat and low-carbohydrate dieting.[5] Low-quality meta-analyses have tended to report favourably on the effect of low-carbohydrate diets: a systematic review found that 9 out of 10 meta-analyses with positive conclusions were affected by publication bias.[5]
.. it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. What is unhealthy about red meat. We should know that acrilamides, pyrroles in burnt meat (and veges) from BBQ and over-heated cooking inflames the colon. According to Clark H R, PhD ND an inflamed part allows easy entry for the cancer nucleus and cancer complex, to start and fuel a malignancy at that location.
Now, there’s even evidence that a low-carb, high-fat regimen (as the keto diet is) helps you live longer, compared to a low-fat diet. In a study by the medical journal The Lancet that studied more than 135,000 adults from 18 countries, high carbohydrate intake was associated with higher risk of total mortality, whereas total fat and individual types of fat were related to lower total mortality. Total fat and types of fat were not associated with cardiovascular disease, myocardial infarction or cardiovascular disease mortality.

Low-calorie diets leading to rapid weight loss can cause headaches -- especially if your carbohydrate intake is too low. A study published in 2011 in the "Nutrition Journal" reports that symptoms of ketosis, which occurs when there is a buildup of metabolic byproducts called ketones in the body after breaking down fat instead of carbs as fuel -- include headaches, bad breath, weakness and constipation. To reduce your chance of getting a headache during weight loss, eat at least 130 grams of carbohydrates -- which is the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA -- daily and avoid losing more than 2 pounds per week.
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


My point here is that the warnings about the ketogenic principles are well taken and well documented. My concern is implications that this is a fad. I don’t use the word diet with my patients and I’m concerned that the principles behind the label and the real results that these readers have commented on might get minimized. I have found it best to encourage patients to read authors like: Stephen Phinney, Jeff Volek, Patricia Daly, and Charles Gant and the be partners with their doctors and check blood work as they move along. I am not for or against the article. If ketogenic principles offer people enduring, satisfying, and cohesive change then why not read about its potential and flexilbity?
“Each person’s journey is different, and therefore each person deserves a highly-specialized and individualized treatment plan to help them reach their optimal health. I recommend low-carb and ketogenic lifestyles to my patients and find ways to make them reasonable and sustainable for each person. Diet Doctor is a wonderful resource for my patients and provides wonderful recipes and invaluable information.”
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]
The most common and relatively minor short-term side effects of ketogenic diet include a collection of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, headache, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, difficulty in exercise tolerance, and constipation, sometimes referred to as keto flu. These symptoms resolve in a few days to few weeks. Ensuring adequate fluid and electrolyte intake can help counter some of these symptoms. Long-term adverse effects include hepatic steatosis, hypoproteinemia, kidney stones, and vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Measuring blood ketones is the most reliable method. There is a home blood test you can use, but the strips can be very expensive. An alternative is to measure ketones in the urine with a dipstick test, which is much more accessible and inexpensive. However, this method is much less reliable and as time goes on and the body adapts to ketosis, it becomes even less reliable.
“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.”
But your heart health might depend on what you actually eat. Research published in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests that low-carb diets based mostly on plant sources of fat and protein (like avocados or nuts) can lower heart disease risk by 30 percent. But those benefits didn’t hold for people who ate mostly animal-based proteins and fats. (Think: bacon, butter, and steak.)
A ketogenic diet could be an interesting alternative to treat certain conditions, and may accelerate weight loss. But it is hard to follow and it can be heavy on red meat and other fatty, processed, and salty foods that are notoriously unhealthy. We also do not know much about its long-term effects, probably because it’s so hard to stick with that people can’t eat this way for a long time. It is also important to remember that “yo-yo diets” that lead to rapid weight loss fluctuation are associated with increased mortality. Instead of engaging in the next popular diet that would last only a few weeks to months (for most people that includes a ketogenic diet), try to embrace change that is sustainable over the long term. A balanced, unprocessed diet, rich in very colorful fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, whole grains, nuts, seeds, olive oil, and lots of water seems to have the best evidence for a long, healthier, vibrant life.
10. Crujeiras A.B., Morcillo S., Diaz-Lagares A., Sandoval J., Castellano-Castillo D., Torres E., Hervas D., Moran S., Esteller M., Macias-Gonzalez M., et al. Identification of an episignature of human colorectal cancer associated with obesity by genome-wide DNA methylation analysis. Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 2018 doi: 10.1038/s41366-018-0065-6. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Infants and patients fed via a gastrostomy tube can also be given a ketogenic diet. Parents make up a prescribed powdered formula, such as KetoCal, into a liquid feed.[19] Gastrostomy feeding avoids any issues with palatability, and bottle-fed infants readily accept the ketogenic formula.[31] Some studies have found this liquid feed to be more efficacious and associated with lower total cholesterol than a solid ketogenic diet.[18] KetoCal is a nutritionally complete food containing milk protein and is supplemented with amino acids, fat, carbohydrate, vitamins, minerals and trace elements. It is used to administer the 4:1 ratio classic ketogenic diet in children over one year. The formula is available in both 3:1 and 4:1 ratios, either unflavoured or in an artificially sweetened vanilla flavour and is suitable for tube or oral feeding.[51] Other formula products include KetoVolve[52] and Ketonia.[53] Alternatively, a liquid ketogenic diet may be produced by combining Ross Carbohydrate Free soy formula with Microlipid and Polycose.[53]
Essential fatty acids (the omegas) provide core functions to the human body, but they are often times out of balance when on a standard diet. On keto, with a little bit of preparation, your omega fatty acids are easily manageable. If you want to know more about essential fatty acids, omegas, and how they interact with our body on a ketogenic diet, you can read more here >
Weight loss is a common target for disease management, as well as health promotion. The prevalence of obesity remains high among U.S. adults (36.5%) (5), as well as children and adolescents (17%) (6). Importantly, obesity is a significant contributor to increased morbidity and mortality, as well as being a primary driver of increasing medical expenses (4). Despite much effort and cost, there has been little success on this front and obesity remains a public health crisis.
As you will see, simple keto meals begins with the healthy fat consideration first, making sure plenty of low-starch veggies surround the fat along with a moderate protein source. Wild-caught salmon, as a high-fat fish, is a perfect keto choice, and easy keto meals can be a fatty cut of healthy protein like salmon or lamb served with plenty of green veggies.
A survey in 2005 of 88 paediatric neurologists in the US found that 36% regularly prescribed the diet after three or more drugs had failed, 24% occasionally prescribed the diet as a last resort, 24% had only prescribed the diet in a few rare cases, and 16% had never prescribed the diet. Several possible explanations exist for this gap between evidence and clinical practice.[34] One major factor may be the lack of adequately trained dietitians, who are needed to administer a ketogenic diet programme.[31]
In order to transition and remain in this state, aiming for about 30–50 net grams is typically the recommended amount of total carbs to start with. This is considered a more moderate or flexible approach but can be less overwhelming to begin with. Once you’re more accustomed to “eating keto,” you can choose to lower carbs even more if you’d like (perhaps only from time to time), down to about 20 grams of net carbs daily. This is considered the standard, “strict” amount that many keto dieters aim to adhere to for best results, but remember that everyone is a bit different.
“As a board certified physician practicing internal and obesity medicine, I reclaimed my health and lost over 150 pounds by ignoring conventional medical advice. I now focus on diabetes, hypertension and lipid management through lifestyle and dietary modifications whenever possible. As well as seeing patients in my clinic, I provide remote consultations via tele-medicine software and equipment, utilizing remotely-tracked bio-impedance scales, blood pressure cuffs and continuous glucose monitoring devices.”
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.
Recently, many of my patients have been asking about a ketogenic diet. Is a ketogenic diet safe? Would you recommend it? Despite the recent hype, a ketogenic diet is not something new. In medicine, we have been using it for almost 100 years to treat drug-resistant epilepsy, especially in children. In the 1970s, Dr. Atkins popularized his very-low-carbohydrate diet for weight loss that began with a very strict two-week ketogenic phase. Over the years, other fad diets incorporated a similar approach for weight loss.
As of 2016 it was unclear whether low-carbohydrate dieting had any beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, though such diets can cause high LDL cholesterol levels, which carry a risk of atherosclerosis in the long term.[9] Potential favorable changes in triglyceride and HDL cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in LDL and total cholesterol values.[31]
In the 1960s, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) were found to produce more ketone bodies per unit of energy than normal dietary fats (which are mostly long-chain triglycerides).[15] MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system.[16] The severe carbohydrate restrictions of the classic ketogenic diet made it difficult for parents to produce palatable meals that their children would tolerate. In 1971, Peter Huttenlocher devised a ketogenic diet where about 60% of the calories came from the MCT oil, and this allowed more protein and up to three times as much carbohydrate as the classic ketogenic diet. The oil was mixed with at least twice its volume of skimmed milk, chilled, and sipped during the meal or incorporated into food. He tested it on 12 children and adolescents with intractable seizures. Most children improved in both seizure control and alertness, results that were similar to the classic ketogenic diet. Gastrointestinal upset was a problem, which led one patient to abandon the diet, but meals were easier to prepare and better accepted by the children.[15] The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.[10]
Twenty obese patients followed a VLCK diet for 4 months. Body composition assessment was performed by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), multifrequency bioelectrical impedance (MF-BIA), and air displacement plethysmography (ADP) techniques. Muscular strength was also assessed. Measurements were performed at 4 points matched with the ketotic phases (basal, maximum ketosis, ketosis declining, and out of ketosis).
Much of the research into low-carbohydrate dieting has been of poor quality and studies which reported large effects have garnered disproportionate attention in comparison to those which are methodologically sound.[5] Higher quality studies tend to find no meaningful difference in outcome between low-fat and low-carbohydrate dieting.[5] Low-quality meta-analyses have tended to report favourably on the effect of low-carbohydrate diets: a systematic review found that 9 out of 10 meta-analyses with positive conclusions were affected by publication bias.[5]
In 1863, William Banting, a formerly obese English undertaker and coffin maker, published "Letter on Corpulence Addressed to the Public", in which he described a diet for weight control giving up bread, butter, milk, sugar, beer, and potatoes.[46] His booklet was widely read, so much so that some people used the term "Banting" for the activity usually called "dieting".[47]

“At the Duke Diet and Fitness Center, our residential clients can choose from three levels of carb intake that happen to be aligned with the Diet Doctor’s levels of liberal low-carb, moderate low-carb and keto low-carb. The alignment is not by chance, however. It’s because we have separately come to the same conclusions after carefully and objectively reviewing the evidence and gathering information from experienced clinicians and patients. The Diet Doctor website is very unique in that regard, and a great resource for our patients!”

The main limitations of our study are its small sample size, short duration, and lack of control group. That the main outcome, hemoglobin A1c, improved significantly despite the small sample size and short duration of follow-up speaks to the dramatic and consistent effect of the LCKD on glycemia. For other effects, however, such as the rises in serum LDL and HDL cholesterol, the small sample size might be the reason statistical significance was not reached. Future studies of larger samples and containing a control group are needed to better address questions about the effect of the LCKD on serum lipids in patients with type 2 diabetes.

We’re going full on fats with breakfast, just like we did last week. This time we’ll double the amount of ketoproof coffee (or tea) we drink, meaning we double the amount of coconut oil, butter, and heavy cream. It should come to quite a lot of calories, and should definitely keep us full all the way to dinner. Remember to continue drinking water like a fiend to make sure you’re staying hydrated.
Tallon, these suggestions are meant to be taken one at a time. If you’ve hit a plateau or are struggling with weight loss, you can try to cut back on your protein. If that doesn’t provide results than maybe that wasn’t the culprit..now try cutting back on dairy, see what happens with that. It’s all about finding what works for you. If you cut out everything at once, you’ll never know which one was causing the issue. Hope that makes sense.
In 1972, Robert Atkins published Dr. Atkins Diet Revolution, which advocated the low-carbohydrate diet he had successfully used in treating patients in the 1960s (having developed the diet from a 1963 article published in JAMA).[56] The book met with some success, but, was widely criticized by the mainstream medical community as being dangerous and misleading, thereby limiting its appeal at the time.[57]
Health Impact News has reported on many of the disease reversing results of the ketogenic (high fat-moderate protein-low carb) diet. Now, a new study is looking at the positive effects of gut bacteria among those following a ketogenic diet for epilepsy. Even though Johns Hopkins used a ketogenic diet for curing epilepsy over 80 years ago, when medical drugs did not help epilepsy effectively, mainstream medicine continues to rely on new and expensive toxic drugs for epileptic children. The “cocktail” combinations of pharmaceutical drugs prescribed often worsens childhood epilepsy. Health Impact News previously published a report on how a four year old child with refractory epilepsy (not treatable with pharmaceutical medications), was treated at the Rochester, Minnesota Mayo Clinic using a ketogenic diet. At first, the child was also kept on pharmaceuticals. The results were poor until he was taken off the medications; then he began healing completely. A new Chinese study on pediatric epileptic cases may even draw the attention of mainstream medical professionals, due to the results seen in children's gut microbiota structure when following a high-fat ketogenic diet.
^ Another publication of similar regimen was Hill LW, Eckman RS (1915). The Starvation Treatment of Diabetes with a series of graduated diets as used at the Massachusetts General Hospital. Boston: W.M. Leonard. This was so well received that it went into revised editions, eventually becomingThe Allen (Starvation) Treatment of Diabetes with a series of graduated diets (4th ed.). Boston. 1921. p. 140.
Measuring blood ketones is the most reliable method. There is a home blood test you can use, but the strips can be very expensive. An alternative is to measure ketones in the urine with a dipstick test, which is much more accessible and inexpensive. However, this method is much less reliable and as time goes on and the body adapts to ketosis, it becomes even less reliable.
Dieter beware: U.S. News & World Report, in its high-profile January cover story on "best diets," calls the DASH and Mediterranean diets tops for health, though these regimens represent the failed nutritional status quo of the last 50 years. It's clear that U.S. News — which employed an expert panel to rate 40 diets on various criteria — merely recapitulated questionable dietary advice that has gone by a succession of names since the 1970s — "low-fat," "DASH," "USDA-style," "plant-based." The basic set of recommendations have remained the same, emphasizing plant foods (grains, cereals, fruits and vegetables) over animal products (eggs, regular dairy, meat), and vegetable oils over natural animal fats such as butter. According to government data, Americans have largely followed these recommendations over the last 50 years, notably increasing their consumption of grains, vegetables and fruits and eating less whole milk, butter, meat and eggs. The outcome? In that time, rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes have skyrocketed. Something has gone terribly wrong. Why would 25 doctors, dietitians and nutritionists on the U.S. News panel choose a dietary philosophy that has — so far, at least — failed us?
You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
People claiming huge benefits of these supplements – despite the lack of solid scientific support – may sometimes have a financial reason to believe in the supplements. Some of these products are sold under a multi-level marketing arrangement, where sales people are paid based on commission. For example, the company Prüvit sells drinkable ketones, called KETO//OS with a multi-level marketing structure.
During the 1920s and 1930s, when the only anticonvulsant drugs were the sedative bromides (discovered 1857) and phenobarbital (1912), the ketogenic diet was widely used and studied. This changed in 1938 when H. Houston Merritt, Jr. and Tracy Putnam discovered phenytoin (Dilantin), and the focus of research shifted to discovering new drugs. With the introduction of sodium valproate in the 1970s, drugs were available to neurologists that were effective across a broad range of epileptic syndromes and seizure types. The use of the ketogenic diet, by this time restricted to difficult cases such as Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, declined further.[10]
Collagen is a type of protein that has been shown to suppress appetite[*], provide fullness compared to other proteins like whey, casein, or soy[*], help retain muscle mass[*] and even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite due to it’s ability to improve skin elasticity and thickness[*]. Refer to this article for more information on the benefits of collagen and the best way to supplement it in your diet.

“At the Norwood Surgery in the North of England we have been offering a low-carb option for our patients with type 2 diabetes since 2013. We feel this makes perfect sense in a condition which could be seen as one where sugar is acting as a ‘metabolic poison’, remembering that starchy carbs like bread rice or breakfast cereals digest down into surprising amounts of sugar, as predicted for us by the glycemic index.”


Our bodies are incredibly adaptive to what you put into it – when you overload it with fats and take away carbohydrates, it will begin to burn ketones as the primary energy source. Optimal ketone levels offer many health, weight loss, physical and mental performance benefits.1There are scientifically-backed studies that show the advantage of a low-carb, ketogenic diet over a low-fat diet. One meta-analysis of low-carbohydrate diets showed a large advantage in weight loss. The New England Journal of Medicine study resulted in almost double the weight loss in a long-term study on ketone inducing diets.
WY conceived, designed, and coordinated the study; participated in data collection; performed statistical analysis; and drafted the manuscript. MF assisted with study design, performed data collection, and helped to draft the manuscript. AC analyzed the food records. MV assisted with study/intervention design and safety monitoring. EW participated in the conception and design of the study, and assisted with the statistical analysis. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.
To find out whether you have achieved ketosis, you can test your blood or urine for the presence of ketone bodies. Depending on your diet, your activity level, and your body type, it can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks to reach ketosis. Testing for ketosis is a personal preference. For some, it’s an added inconvenience; for others, it provides added incentive to stay on track.

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A lot of people on the keto diet tend to go absolutely overboard with the unhealthy food that they pack into their plan. Sure a bunch of cheese, mayonnaise and bacon will fit into a seventy-five percent fat allowance, however, for your health these foods are not always the best option. Your day to day seventy-five percent fat allowance is meant to be used for healthy sources of fat such as such avocados, coconut oil, whole eggs, nuts and fats found in unprocessed meats such as beef, salmon, chicken thighs, ground pork or turkey.
No diet plan fits all and not everybody can follow a very low-carb diet. Even Dr Volek and Dr Phinney noted that there is not enough evidence that a very low-carb diet (such as less than 20 g net carbs) is beneficial for those with preexisting thyroid or adrenal conditions. Dr. Broda Barnes, who spent over 50 years on thyroid research, suggested in his book “Hypothyroidism: The Unsuspected Illness”, that the minimum amount of carbohydrate intake for patients with hypothyroidism should be at least 30 grams of net carbs.
Ketogenesis results in the production of ketone bodies, a product of fatty acid catabolism performed primarily by the liver, in the absence of adequate CHO availability. Three primary ketone bodies are produced; acetone, acetoacetate and β-hydroxybutyrate. Even though trace amounts of ketones are always present in the blood, it is only during periods of inadequate CHO availability that significant ketone production will occur. This accumulation of ketone bodies in the blood is commonly referred to as ketosis.
Hwu believes risks of cardiovascular disease and diabetes — which are both associated with high blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol — may be reduced by following the ketogenic diet, based on research. A recent study from Johns Hopkins found a ketogenic diet was not only safe, but effective for adults who had certain severe forms of epilepsy, supporting previous research.
The findings below have been limited to research specific to the ketogenic diet: the studies listed contain about 70-80% fat, 10-20% protein, and 5-10% carbohydrate. Diets otherwise termed “low carbohydrate” may not include these specific ratios, allowing higher amounts of protein or carbohydrate. Therefore only diets that specified the terms “ketogenic” or “keto,” or followed the macronutrient ratios listed above were included in this list below. In addition, though extensive research exists on the use of the ketogenic diet for other medical conditions, only studies that examined ketogenic diets specific to obesity or overweight were included in this list. (This paragraph was added to provide additional clarity on 5.7.18.)

35. Crujeiras A.B., Gomez-Arbelaez D., Zulet M.A., Carreira M.C., Sajoux I., de Luis D., Castro A.I., Baltar J., Baamonde I., Sueiro A., et al. Plasma FGF21 levels in obese patients undergoing energy-restricted diets or bariatric surgery: A marker of metabolic stress? Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 2017;41:1570–1578. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.138. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]


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)
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