This is because the triglycerides from those fat cells are metabolized for energy while the cholesterol is not. The cholesterol is simply released into the blood where it will remain until removed by the liver, making it appear that our cholesterol has suddenly skyrocketed. Many people are quick to assume that this is due to an increase in dietary fat and cholesterol intake.
Formulating the diet properly: The ketogenic diet allows for a lot of flexibility when it comes to the types of fats you consume. However, if most of your calories are coming from beef and bacon, fibre is left in the lurch. And when fibre is left in the lurch, your gut suffers. Don’t care about gut health? You should. An unhealthy gut is a major obstacle to fat loss. Supplement with probiotics to ensure your gut stays in good shape.
Body composition was first measured by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA; GE Healthcare Lunar, Madison, WI, USA). Daily quality control scans were acquired during the study period. No hardware or software changes were made during the trial. Subjects were scanned using standard imaging and positioning protocols, while wearing only light clothing. For this study, the values of bone mineral density, lean body mass, and FM were directly measured by the GE Lunar Body Composition Software option. Some derivative values, such as bone mineral content, regional lean mass, FFM, fat mass percentage (FM%), and visceral fat mass, were also calculated.
If any of your numbers are significantly different from what is listed, there may be deeper underlying health issues to be addressed. These are things that can be great to work on with a functional medicine or nutrition practitioner to find the root of your issues. You can get a comprehensive idea of your cholesterol and inflammation levels with our Complete Thyroid Report.
About 20% of children on the ketogenic diet achieve freedom from seizures, and many are able to reduce the use of anticonvulsant drugs or eliminate them altogether. Commonly, at around two years on the diet, or after six months of being seizure-free, the diet may be gradually discontinued over two or three months. This is done by lowering the ketogenic ratio until urinary ketosis is no longer detected, and then lifting all calorie restrictions. This timing and method of discontinuation mimics that of anticonvulsant drug therapy in children, where the child has become seizure-free. When the diet is required to treat certain metabolic diseases, the duration will be longer. The total diet duration is up to the treating ketogenic diet team and parents; durations up to 12 years have been studied and found beneficial.
The keto diet also appears to help induce autophagy, which helps clear damaged cells from the body, including senescent cells that serve no functional purpose but still linger inside tissues and organs. In animal studies when rats are put on the ketogenic diet, autophagic pathways are created that reduce brain injury during and after seizures. (21)
Moreover, two recent meta-analyses sought to investigate the effect of LCD on weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk. Sackner-Bernstein et al. (19) compared LCD to LF, among overweight and obese men and women. The authors found a significantly greater effect of weight loss in the LCD vs. the LF diets (-8.2 kg vs. -5.9 kg). The impact of diet on cardiovascular risk factors was split, with LCD resulting in significantly greater improvements in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while the LF resulted in significantly greater improvements in LDL and total cholesterol. From this the authors concluded that LCD were a viable alternative to LF diets and recommended “dietary recommendations for weight loss should be revisited to consider this additional evidence of the benefits of [low] CHO diets.” A significant limitation of this meta-analysis, however, was the authors’ definition of low-carbohydrate as a daily CHO consumption less than 120 grams. This value, while well below the standard recommendation of daily CHO consumption, still far exceeds the strict recommendation of KD (≤50 g/day), therefore the results of this meta-analysis must be approached with caution.
I have also been doing 16:8, but not everyday. If You eat too few calories for too long you may lower your basic metabolic rate which you don’t really want to do. I eat something around 10 or 11 in the morning such as 3 deviled eggs, then a decent size meal at about 12:30 and my last meal at about 6. This seems to work well for me. I also use my fitness pal( free app), which is awesome and tracks all your macro ratios. It is important to keep it as Keto as you can. 70%fat, 5%carb, and 25% protein. I found at first that I just wasn’t eating enough fat, and my protein levels were too high. I think most people run into that same trap at first. Good luck!
Dr. Jockers, thank you so much for this clear and detailed article! I began a keto-style diet around August 2019. By late November, I had fallen from 197 lbs. to under 175 lbs., dropped from 28% to 18% body fat, and anecdotally felt much better in all aspects of my health. All of this occurred exclusively due to diet, I believe– I had almost no exercise routine to speak of, and my desk-based job is pretty sedentary. My family practice doc was surprised and happy with the results as well when I met with him in January… until my blood work came back showing total cholesterol at 257, triglycerides at 236, LDL-C at 162, and HDL at 50.
Over the long-term the KD poses possible risks as well, although the evidence remains unclear on this topic. Consumption of a high fat diet, particularly saturated fat, is associated with increased cardiovascular risk (23) and consumption of saturated fat has been shown to acutely induce insulin resistance and raise blood triglyceride levels (12). Nevertheless, many KD studies have documented improvements in markers of cardiovascular risk, including improvements in vascular function (24) reduction in inflammatory markers (10), and other markers of cardiovascular health (13,20). Methodological issues, such as clear definitions of dietary interventions, may play a significant role in obscuring the underlying principles, however, it is clear that more targeted research is warranted.
Keto can promote fat loss—in the right person. For people who are sugar burners and can’t kick their sugar cravings, keto can be very helpful, because the increased fat is satisfying and curbs sugar cravings, and people eat less overall compared to their baseline diet. So, I occasionally prescribe it for weight (fat) loss, and for help with specific hormone imbalances involving insulin and stubborn fat gain because it improves insulin sensitivity. This includes patients struggling with: obesity, weight-loss resistance (assuming the thyroid is healthy), and PCOS with insulin resistance and weight gain.
Some previous studies have suggested that very-low-calorie ketogenic (VLCK) diets may be effective tools to manage overweight and obesity (10, 11, 13). VLCK diets are a nutritional intervention that emulate fasting by restricting carbohydrates and fat with a relative increase in protein intake (6). The increased protein content may be partially responsible for the muscle mass preservation (12–14). Importantly, the weight-reducing action of these diets is rapid, and despite the fact that the ketosis state lasts only 60 to 90 days at the start of treatment, the weight reduction remains for up to 2 years (13). Therefore, VLCK diets operate by potent mechanisms to induce weight loss, and various body compartments might be altered. To the best of our knowledge, no studies have exhaustively assessed the changes in body composition associated with this type of diet, and variations in muscle strength have been only assessed in athletes (15).
Another study compared the effects of three diets differing in macronutrient (carb, fat, protein) composition on energy expenditure during weight loss maintenance. Weight loss causes resting energy expenditure (metabolic rate) to go down, which predisposes to weight regain. Results of the study showed that the very low-carb (and highest protein) diet had the LEAST effect on reducing resting energy expenditure following weight loss.2
Dr. Campos, it is unfortunate that you retain the medical community’s negative stance on the ketogenic diet, probably picked up in medical school when you studied ketoacidosis, in the midst of an obesity and type II diabetes epidemic that is growing every year, especially among populations who will never see the Harvard Health Letter. The medical community has failed in reversing this trend, especially among children, and the public is picking up the tab, in the form of higher health insurance premiums to treat chronic metabolic diseases which doctors cannot cure. The ketogenic diet does not bid its adherents to eat unhealthy processed meats, and the green leafy vegetables that it emphasizes are important in a number of nutritional deficiencies. People lose weight on the ketogenic diet, they lose their craving for sugar, they feel more satiety, they may become less depressed, their insulin receptors sensitivity is improved, and these are all the good outcomes you fail to mention. There is a growing body of research which demonstrates the neuroprotective effects of the ketogenic diet to slow cancer progression, as well as diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, for which there are no effective medical treatments. Please respect your patients by providing them with evidence-based medical outcomes, not opinions.
If you’re looking to get a jump start on your health and fitness goals this year, you may be thinking about trying the ketogenic diet. Maybe you’ve heard the phrase before — it’s a huge diet buzzword — but aren’t sure what it means. Here’s a primer: The ketogenic diet is an eating plan that drives your body into ketosis, a state where the body uses fat as a primary fuel source (instead of carbohydrates), says Stacey Mattinson, RDN, who is based in Austin, Texas.
I don't know what you've read, but you will not lose weight on any diet if you're consuming more calories than you burn. You must eat less calories than you burn for your body to start dipping into it's fat stores for energy. The point of keto is two-fold. One, a high fat diet makes your body more efficient at using stored fat for energy by the production of keytones. That way you can maintain a calorie deficit without loosing energy. Secondly, it makes it easier to maintain a calorie deficit because fat and protein are more filling than carbs.
After reading the FAQ (which is really great, btw), one of the things I'm wondering about is whether the low calorie approach works well in conjunction with Keto. I like the general idea, but with my weight, I'm thinking I would like to try to keep my overall calorie intake low, in addition to cutting carbs, refined sugars, etc. out of my diet. It doesn't seem to be expressly forbidden, but it doesn't seem to be what many people do, based on what i've read so far. Basically, I think in addition to this approach to nutrition, I'd also like to keep my calorie deficient high. I think both would go a long way towards helping me be healthier.
The remaining calories in the keto diet come from protein — about 1 gram (g) per kilogram of body weight, so a 140-pound woman would need about 64 g of protein total. As for carbs: “Every body is different, but most people maintain ketosis with between 20 and 50 g of net carbs per day,” says Mattinson. Total carbohydrates minus fiber equals net carbs, she explains.
Twenty participants were tasked with following a very-low-calorie keto (VLCK) diet consisting of 600 to 800 calories. They took supplemental docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. DHA is an important structural component of the human brain, which was added to participants’ diets to ensure their body had enough of the component during fat loss. They took vitamins and minerals to make up for the nutrients lost from carb-containing foods. Meanwhile, they also followed a “formal exercise program.” The program was not defined in the study paper, and the study authors were not available for comment by this story’s publication.
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).