Patients were invited to complete a battery of psychological tests to assess performance in the domains of food cravings, quality of life (QoL), daytime sleepiness and sleep quality, sexual functioning, and physical activity through the course of the nutritional intervention. The psychological tests were selected for availability of multiple test versions, well-stablished psychometric properties, and accepted clinical use.

“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!”
Participants were recruited from the Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) outpatient clinics. Inclusion criteria were age 35–75 years; body mass index (BMI) >25 kg/m2; and fasting serum glucose >125 mg/dL or hemoglobin A1c >6.5% without medications, or treatment with oral hypoglycemic agents (OHA) and/or insulin. Exclusion criteria were evidence of renal insufficiency, liver disease, or unstable cardiovascular disease by history, physical examination, and laboratory tests. All participants provided written informed consent approved by the institutional review board. No monetary incentives were provided.
Carbohydrate: Most of what determines how ketogenic a diet is will depend on how much carbohydrate is eaten, as well the individual's metabolism and activity level. A diet of less than 50 or 60 grams of net (effective) carbohydrate per day is generally ketogenic. Some sources say to consume no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates per day, while others cite up to 50 grams, and many recommend no more than 5 percent of calories from carbs. However, athletes and people with healthy metabolisms may be able to eat 100 or more grams of net carbohydrate in a day and maintain a desired level of ketosis. At the same time, an older sedentary person with Type 2 diabetes may have to eat less than 30 net grams to achieve the same level.
What this shows is that there is very little difference in heart disease risk relative to total cholesterol above and below 200. In fact, no significant increase in risk was measured until total cholesterol reached an excess of 240. There also seems to be a protective role that having a total cholesterol above 180 serves both for heart disease and healthy mental function.
HDL stands for high-density lipoprotein and its primary role in the body is actually to sweep up LDL particles and return them to the liver for recycling. This is because LDL is actually very susceptible to oxidation so it must be cleared from the blood efficiently. This means when LDL is exposed to chronic inflammation, it becomes damaged. The longer LDL remains in the blood stream and the higher your inflammation levels are, the higher your risk of heart disease.
Seasonings and sauces are a tricky part of ketogenic diet foods, but people use them on a regular basis to add flavor to their meals. The easiest way to remain strict here is to avoid processed foods. There are many low carb condiments and products on the market, and there’s no way to list them all. A handful of them are great, but the majority use high glycemic index sweeteners – which you want to avoid.
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.
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.
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