Ketones are a very effective fuel for the brain—often a more efficient fuel than glucose. Your body is like a hybrid car when it comes to fuel. When you run out of carbohydrates to burn for fuel—say you’re fasting before a surgery or a religious holiday—your body seeks an alternative way to get more fuel. (If your body didn’t do this, you would die after a short fast.) So the body kicks into burning fat, which is the metabolic state of ketosis, or “keto.” Technically, your liver takes long-chain and medium-chain fatty acids from your fat tissue, and produces a major ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). BHB provides more energy per unit oxygen used than glucose, which benefits the brain.
The opposing viewpoint maintains that calories still count, but the type of food consumed has a trickle-down effect on the amount of energy expended, and what foods the body craves. It takes way more energy to process and store protein than it does carbohydrate or fat–this is called the thermic effect of food. Essentially, one burns more energy digesting protein because it requires more energy for the body to process. In one study, twice as much energy was expended after meals on a high-protein diet versus a high carbohydrate, low-fat diet.1

I can maintain 20g daily carbs and lose weight fast if I remain mostly sedentary. I get weak very fast when I try exercise and even though I get all the electrolytes I get muscle burn. I did this for 5 weeks..went from 248 to 217. Am starting a modified diet tomorrow with 1500 total cals/150 g protein/50 g carb. I hope to tolerate exercise better and the extra carbs will basically be burnt on exercise. If I still feel the carb level impedes my biking and walking will add 10 carbs until I feel comfortable exercising.

The ketogenic diet has grown to become extremely popular over the last few years. It’s ideal for those of you that are looking to lose a considerable amount of weight. This diet is essentially a very low carb, high fat diet. While it has many similarities to the Atkins diet when on the keto diet, your body mostly gets its calories from proteins and fat, not from carbohydrates. The video below will give you an idea of what you can expect when moving to a ketosis lifestyle.
Is there a possible middle ? Where I can still lose weight, eat low carb but without having to be paranoid about electrolytes  and feeling like I'm possessed by the spirit of keto doom ? Can I up my carbs to say 50 - I don't need rice, bread and stuff I do great with just veg and protein ... but Im supposed to feel great in keto ... though I really love the benefits I hate how it makes me feel 🤔  Would love your feedback !
“The low-carb, high-fat diet has re-energized my clinical interest in the treatment of diabetes, obesity, and other chronic conditions relating to insulin resistance. Guiding my patients on their journey to reclaiming their health, wellness, and vitality with the prescription of real food brings me the utmost joy. Witnessing the transformative impact of this lifestyle has given me hope for the future health of our patients and communities.”
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.
Our highly processed and high fat with high carbs diets and sedentary ways are going to kill off many of our kids. A study just done says this generation will probably be less healthy and die earlier than their parents. I did Atkins years ago and did splendidly. I went back to my foolish habits and suffered. I’m on a ketogenic diet which has already reaped many benefits in this 65 year old body. Better mood, less joint pain, less fatigue, and more energy. Loving it.
Dear Martina, I wasn’t sure how to contact you. I am a final year undergraduate Human Nutrition student. I was also a keto diet follower and your app and blogs were a great help. For my final year project I‘ve chosen to study the present awareness of the ketogenic diet. I would like to ask if you would be interested to present my questionnaire to your followers. I will of course send you the questionnaire personally first for your approval. Please let me know if you are interested. Thank you for your hard work. You are a great help for many of us.
Instead of making your own cereal, you can always have a low-carb alternative. Try out chia seed pudding, flax granola sprinkled into coconut or almond milk, salted caramel pork rind cereal, or just mix together toasted nuts that are crushed and crispy. It’s quite easy to find a crunchy alternative to cereal (or just a low-carb replacement in general) so keep on the lookout and experiment for yourself to see which you like best.
If this all sounds like way too much work, consider intermittent fasting. It is a simpler way to achieve cyclic ketosis and has many of the same benefits. Anecdotally, it has worked better for me for weight loss than nutritional ketosis, and has many of the same health benefits. I prefer a 16/8 or 18/6 protocol, where you confine your eating (with no change in calories) to a 6- to 8-hour window, then fast overnight. For instance, I finish eating by 6 p.m., then eat again at noon the next day. For weight loss, I recommend following this protocol two to seven days per week. [Stay tuned for more on goop.]

Bans or puts restrictive limits on certain food groups. Some people simply don’t like banning entire food groups, and the keto diet requires you to give up all forms of sugar (no more candy, ice cream, and donuts), and popular carbs such as bread, rice, and pasta (no more pizza and burgers). Keto also limits most fruits due to the fructose content, as well as starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn. The good news is that as your body becomes keto-adapted, your sugar cravings will dramatically fall or disappear altogether.


The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate diet that in medicine is used primarily to treat difficult-to-control (refractory) epilepsy in children. The diet forces the body to burn fats rather than carbohydrates. Normally, the carbohydrates contained in food are converted into glucose, which is then transported around the body and is particularly important in fueling brain function. However, if little carbohydrate remains in the diet, the liver converts fat into fatty acids and ketone bodies. The ketone bodies pass into the brain and replace glucose as an energy source. An elevated level of ketone bodies in the blood, a state known as ketosis, leads to a reduction in the frequency of epileptic seizures.[1] Around half of children and young people with epilepsy who have tried some form of this diet saw the number of seizures drop by at least half, and the effect persists even after discontinuing the diet.[2] Some evidence indicates that adults with epilepsy may benefit from the diet, and that a less strict regimen, such as a modified Atkins diet, is similarly effective.[1] Potential side effects may include constipation, high cholesterol, growth slowing, acidosis, and kidney stones.[3]
“I have been a UK family doctor since 1990, and discovered the low-carb and keto ways of life in 2014. Until then, I had never seen a way of eating that resulted in normal weight and improvements in other health problems like diabetes, epilepsy, arthritis, and asthma. When I discovered Diet Doctor I was very impressed, and loved the recipes. I now run low-carb courses for the public and health care professionals.”
“I am a hospitalist/primary care doctor and also a specialist in obesity. As I see it, nutrition and other lifestyle factors are at the root of most of the diseases I treat. My own health issues corrected with LCHF. I went on to recommend LCHF to my patients, who have since experienced a wide variety of improved outcomes. Face-to-face time with patients is frustratingly short so simply writing “DietDoctor.com” on slip of paper and handing it to patients is a great way to set them in the direction of trustworthy diet information.”
The keto diet is notorious for delivering a quick initial slim down. That’s because carbs hold on to more water than protein or fat, says Becky Kerkenbush, RD, a clinical dietitian at Watertown Regional Medical Center. So when you stop eating them, all that extra H2O gets released through urination. As a result, the scale might read a few pounds lower, and you may look a bit leaner.

Participants completed take-home food records (4 consecutive days, including a weekend) collected at baseline and at weeks 2, 8, and 16 during the study. Participants were given handouts with examples of how to complete the records. A registered dietician analyzed the food records using a nutrition software program (Food Processor SQL, ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, OR).

Cutting back on protein is one of the largest challenges to the diet. Because high levels of protein in the diet can turn into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis, the keto theory says too much protein in the diet can mean too much glucose, whisking you out of ketosis. That’s why bacon, which has a ton of fat but not a lot of protein is a preferred food over chicken breast, which is high in protein with very little fat.


“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.”

Lazy keto diet: Last but not least, the Lazy keto diet often gets confused with dirty keto … but they’re different, as the “lazy” refers to simply not carefully tracking the fat and protein macros (or calories, for that matter). Meanwhile, the one aspect that remains strict? Not eating over 20 net carb grams per day. Some people find this version less intimidating to start with or end with … but I will caution that your results will be less impressive.

Dinner: In a small sauce pan bring 2-3 cups of water to the boil. Cook a large egg in rolling boil for 5 minutes, then transfer to ice bath (a bowl with cold water and ice cubes in it). Wash and spin dry butter lettuce, top with sliced avocado and hemp seed. Serve soft boiled egg with cherry tomatoes, butter lettuce salad and mayonnaise as dressing. 

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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.
Effect of the nutritional intervention with a very low-calorie-ketogenic diet on physical activity pattern (A) and sleep disturbances (B). Data represent mean ± standard error of changes from baseline. (ƚ) Denotes statistically significant differences through the intervention (p for trend < 0.05) evaluated by means of repeated-measures ANOVA. (*) Denotes statistically significant differences (p < 0.05) from baseline after post-hoc pairwise comparisons employing the Tukey’s adjustment for multiple comparisons. IPQA, International Physical Activity Questionnaire.
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.
The ketosis produced by fasting or limiting carbohydrate intake does not have negative effects for most people once the body has adapted to that state. The ketosis caused by diet has been referred to as dietary ketosis, physiological ketosis, benign dietary ketosis (Atkins), and, most recently, nutritional ketosis (Phinney and Volek), in an attempt to clear up possible confusion with diabetic ketoacidosis.
Insulin is a hormone that lets your body use or store sugar as fuel. Ketogenic diets make you burn through this fuel quickly, so you don’t need to store it. This means your body needs -- and makes -- less insulin. Those lower levels may help protect you against some kinds of cancer or even slow the growth of cancer cells. More research is needed on this, though.
In general, you want to eat the minimum amount of protein to preserve lean body mass and not overtax your kidneys. If you eat too much protein, the excess converts to glucose through a process called gluconeogenesis. You don’t want that to occur in ketosis. Instead, eat anti-inflammatory protein—at the minimum amount to preserve or build lean body mass. My favorite sources are wild-caught fish, grass-fed and -finished beef and wild meats (elk, bison, etc.), pasture-raised poultry, nuts, and seeds. Make sure fish has more selenium (which helps protect the brain) than mercury, to mitigate heavy metal toxicity. Good sources that have a safe selenium/mercury ratio include: tuna, opah, wahoo, spearfish, swordfish.

A final guideline: Even if you’re keto, portions of fat still matter, says Jill Keene, RDN, in White Plains, New York. “How much you specifically eat depends on your calorie needs and goals, but overconsuming fat can cause weight gain,” she says. Also, considering fat is your body’s main fuel source on a keto diet, she advises spreading out your fats evenly throughout the day.
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.
“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.”
I thought that eating this amount of protein would leave me a withered and emaciated little boy, but this is a belief I held for years of being beating over the head with jugs of protein powder and bro-science. It turns out, you (or, at least I) don’t need as much protein as once thought. However, eating very FEW grams of protein is not smart either. 

“I have been applying low carb solutions to metabolic problems since the moment I closed the cover of Good Calories, Bad Calories. I share with my low-carb colleagues the wonderful experience of offering effective advice and seeing real results. In addition to metabolic and hormonal problems, I have more recently focused on flexible low-carb approaches for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions. I greatly enjoy the lively online low-carb community and rely on Diet Doctor as a resource for myself and my patients.”
A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year. The ketogenic diet provided about 980 calories with 12% carbohydrate, 36% protein, and 52% fat, while the Mediterranean diet provided about 1800 calories with 58% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 27% fat. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were compliant with the entire regimen. [12] It is noted that the ketogenic diet used in this study was lower in fat and slightly higher in carbohydrate and protein than the average ketogenic diet that provides 70% or greater calories from fat and less than 20% protein.
Don’t stick to chicken and steak just because you’re comfortable cooking them. Make dinner time the place where you can try new meats and recipes that increase your keto recipe resources. “At lunch and dinner, you can be creative and experiment,” Weaver says. “Just focus on cooking meat—pork, chicken, lamb, beef, or seafood. Meat is rich in iron and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Use only organic oils, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.” Read up on these things you have to know before starting the keto diet.
a) Why do I need to eat dietary fat during the keto diet if I have plenty of adipose tissue (as is currently the case) that can equally well be used as a source of energy? In your article you simply say that dietary fat is necessary for the keto diet to work, by I can’t see any explanation for that. Eating fat while I already have plenty of it available seems a bit counterintuitive.

In many developing countries, the ketogenic diet is expensive because dairy fats and meat are more expensive than grain, fruit and vegetables. The modified Atkins diet has been proposed as a lower-cost alternative for those countries; the slightly more expensive food bill can be offset by a reduction in pharmaceutical costs if the diet is successful. The modified Atkins diet is less complex to explain and prepare and requires less support from a dietitian.[55]
While there are delicious-looking ketogenic recipes and meal plans online, experts like Weaver warn that you’ll want to avoid relying too much on artificial sweeteners and unhealthy foods for your keto diet menu. Make sure your grocery list includes healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil. This is what really happens to your body on the keto diet.
Providing additional support Paoli et al. (17) examined the effect of a modified KD diet (~55% fat, 41% protein, and 4.5% CHO) on performance and body composition in gymnasts. In a crossover design, researchers compared independent 30-day dietary regimens consisting of “normal diet” (WD; 46.8% CHO, 38.5% fat, and 14.7% protein) and modified KD in nine elite male gymnasts. There were no significant changes from pre to post during either dietary intervention for measures of physical performance, indicating the absence of significant dietary CHO did not negatively impact physical ability. The post-KD measurements, however, saw a significant decrease in fat mass (pre: 5.3; post:
First, don’t mistake a ketogenic diet (or the upgraded Bulletproof Diet) for the Atkins Diet. Whereas the Atkins Diet is extremely high in protein, a keto diet contains moderate amounts of protein. On a keto diet, large amounts of protein can turn into glucose in a process called gluconeogenesis, thus taking you out of ketosis. That’s why fatty cuts of meat are better than, say, chicken breast, which is high in protein and low in fat. Vast amounts of protein also tax the liver and lead to inflammation. By contrast, a ketogenic diet is anti-inflammatory; burning fat for fuel creates far less inflammation than burning sugar does[2], and ketones themselves turn off inflammatory pathways[3]. Because of this, ketogenic diets may in fact help prevent chronic diseases that are caused by inflammation. (Fun fact: The ketogenic diet is used to keep epileptic patients from having seizures.)
The results of the Bland-Altman approach in regard to the FM% are shown in Fig. 4. MF-BIA underestimates the FM% during all visits, although with increasing body fat there is a trend toward better agreement [Fig. 4(A)]. This negative slope was significant in visits C2 (P = 0.015), C3 (P = 0.003), and C4 (P = 0.005). Importantly, MF-BIA had a consistent variability of about 5% in determining FM% when compared with DXA. However, the concordance between DXA and ADP is shown in Fig. 4(B). In visits C1 (P = 0.005), C2 (P = 0.010), and C3 (P = 0.004) significant negative slopes were observed, indicating underestimation of ADP at lower levels of FM%, but ADP seemed to overestimate FM% with increasing body fat. During visit C-4, a similar pattern was observed, although the slope did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.093). During all visits there was a high variability in the FM% determined by ADP, reaching values of up to 20% in comparison with DXA.

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].
All of the patients followed a VLCK diet according to a commercial weight loss program (PNK Method), which includes lifestyle and behavioral modification support. The intervention included an evaluation by the specialist physician conducting the study and assessment by an expert dietician. All patients underwent a structured program of physical exercise with external supervision (16). This method is based on high-biological-value protein preparations obtained from cow milk, soya, avian eggs, green peas, and cereals. Each preparation contained 15 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, and 50 mg docosahexaenoic acid, and provided 90 to 100 kcal (16).
“I encourage my patients to do fasting coupled with a very-low-carbohydrate, whole-foods diet because of the astounding biochemical and clinical improvements these interventions provide, in terms of managing chronic metabolic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, and obesity. I invite my patients to go to Diet Doctor because it is a very reliable source of information for people following a low-carbohydrate diet.”
Most low-carb diet authors don't recommend bothering with it. Even many of those who think a ketogenic diet is a good thing just assume that a very-low-carbohydrate diet (under about 50 net grams of carbohydrate) is ketogenic. On the other hand, many people have found that monitoring their ketones, at least for a while, provides valuable information.
Don’t stick to chicken and steak just because you’re comfortable cooking them. Make dinner time the place where you can try new meats and recipes that increase your keto recipe resources. “At lunch and dinner, you can be creative and experiment,” Weaver says. “Just focus on cooking meat—pork, chicken, lamb, beef, or seafood. Meat is rich in iron and fish contains omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. Use only organic oils, such as avocado oil, coconut oil, and olive oil.” Read up on these things you have to know before starting the keto diet.
Total body composition was first measured by iDXA (GE Healthcare Lunar, Madison, WI). Daily quality control scans were acquired during the study period. No hardware or software changes were made during the course of the trial. Subjects were scanned using standard imaging and positioning protocols, while wearing only light clothing. For the current study, bone mineral density, lean body mass, and FM values, which are directly measured by the GE Lunar Body Composition Software (GE Healthcare), were used. Some derivative values, such as bone mineral content, regional lean mass, ALM, FFM, and FM percentage (FM%), as well as android and gynoid fat (%), were also calculated. The android/gynoid ratio was automatically generated and analyzed using enCORE software, version 13.6 (GE Healthcare). For measuring android fat, a region of interest was automatically defined as the caudal limit placed at the top of the iliac crest, and its high was set to 20% of the distance from the top of the iliac crest to the base of the skull to define the cephalic limit of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue. The scanner was calibrated daily against the calibration block supplied by the manufacturer.

These are all keto related questions that a person looking into the ketogenic diet for the first time will have, and I’ve put together a comprehensive list of answers to these questions and more in my 3 Day Keto Kickstart Plan & Keto frequently asked questions linked to below.  If you’re new to keto I recommend starting there, and if you use that Keto Kickstart meal plan as written, I am confident that you will get into ketosis and be losing weight within 3 days of starting.  I’m excited for you!!!!
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.
Regarding VLCK diets, there is still some distrust in their usage, despite the solid scientific evidence that supports the use of this kind of diet as a useful weight-loss therapy [13,14]. This type of diet is characterized by the restriction of carbohydrates and/or caloric intake to the point of inducing a shift in metabolism and the production of plasma ketone bodies [15,16,17]. However, it was evidenced that a VLCK diet is safe because it does not modify the acid-base equilibrium [18]. In fact, it has been proposed that the ketone body, β-hydroxy-butyrate (β-OHB) has several beneficial effects on metabolism [19] and psychological functions [20,21]. Nevertheless, a scarcity of studies has evaluated the effect of a VLCK diet combined with physical activity, on potential improvement in the psychological conditions and well-being of treated overweight/obese patients.
Although fat is the centerpiece of any keto diet, that doesn't mean you should be subsisting on butter-topped steaks, says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet. “A big misconception is that you should just put meat at the center of your plate and add more fat on top,” she says. You also shouldn't be relying on fatty meats to hit your fat quota, she adds.
In theory, a ketogenic diet that increases carbohydrate loads for cardio exercise seems perfect. However, the side effects of a ketogenic diet can include dehydration, malnutrition and constipation. According to the Mayo Clinic website, ketogenic plans also can lead to kidney stones. In addition, the ketogenic diet does not give you the nutrition you need to be healthy. Instead, try cutting portion sizes and counting calories; this also can force your body to burn fat while still providing you with balanced nutrition, including proteins, carbohydrates, fiber and fat. As with any diet, you should discuss a ketogenic diet with your doctor.

“I have been applying low carb solutions to metabolic problems since the moment I closed the cover of Good Calories, Bad Calories. I share with my low-carb colleagues the wonderful experience of offering effective advice and seeing real results. In addition to metabolic and hormonal problems, I have more recently focused on flexible low-carb approaches for Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative conditions. I greatly enjoy the lively online low-carb community and rely on Diet Doctor as a resource for myself and my patients.”
For breakfast, we are going to change it up a bit. Here’s where we introduce ketoproof coffee. Now, don’t get me wrong – I know some of you won’t like it. If you’re not a fan of coffee, then try it with tea. If you’re not a fan of the taste (which is very rare), then try making a mixture of the ingredients by themselves and eating it like that. So, why ketoproof coffee?
Specific fiber goals for every day will depend on your overall intake, current weight, and weight-loss intentions. Thankfully, some high-fat, low-carb foods are also loaded with fiber. These include nuts and seeds, avocado, and squash. “I see so many clients go for high protein, high saturated fat, and no carb,” says Sunny Brigham, MS, CNS, a board-certified nutrition specialist with a private clinic in North Texas. “They become constipated because they aren’t getting enough fiber.” And that’s just one of the 11 hidden dangers of the keto diet. 
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