In general, cholesterol is traditionally misunderstood. I am going to show why high cholesterol is not inherently bad, and how to lookout for some real warning signs that you are in an inflammatory state. Knowing how cholesterol works in the body and how to interpret your cholesterol numbers will empower you to move forward on your ketogenic journey with confidence.
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.
Hi Maya. I LOVE your site!! Interesting, informative with fab recipes and ideas. Hubby and I have just started eating low carb and I have to say, we are not finding it too difficult and I already feel sooo much better!! I find the hardest part is choosing low carb veg, I feel as if we are not eating enough. Any suggestions on how to get more veggies into our diet?
Depending on how you choose your fats, the keto diet can contain an abundance of saturated fat, which raises levels of dangerous LDL cholesterol and causes atherosclerosis, the buildup of fats and cholesterol in the arteries. If you decide to go keto, have a doctor monitor your cholesterol levels monthly to ensure you remain within a healthy range.
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.
Hence, the 2 main objectives of this study were to assess the changes in body composition and muscle strength promoted by a VLCK diet in the treatment of obese patients and to compare different methodologies used to evaluate body composition. To achieve this, body composition was evaluated by 3 potent and well-validated techniques: dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA), multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis (MF-BIA), and air displacement plethysmography (ADP) at different stages during the weight reduction process induced by a VLCK diet.
Weight loss often means feeling hungrier and fighting off more cravings, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case when you go keto. People report less hunger and a diminished desire to eat after adopting a ketogenic diet, according to an analysis of 26 studies. Experts don’t fully understand why, but it’s thought that very low carb diets could suppress the production of hunger hormones like ghrelin.
“I follow and recommend a low-carb or keto lifestyle, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients whether or not they have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I do this because of the health benefits to anyone who follows them, but also because of the science behind them and the impressive clinical results I have seen in my patients. I have recommended the Diet Doctor website for the past 5-6 years as a first-stop to find completely trustworthy information, delicious recipes, great visuals and excellent videos.”
High-fat dairy also contains high-quality protein, vitamins, minerals, and conjugated linoleic acid (one of the few fatty acids that have been found to promote fat loss). The combination of these nutrients is essential for maintaining strength and function as we age. By adding just 7 ounces of ricotta cheese to their daily diet, for example, the older participants of a recent study were able to increase their muscle mass and muscle strength. In other words, ask for extra cheese, please.
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.
The benefits above are the most common ones. But there are others that are potentially even more surprising and – at least for some people – life changing. Did you know that a keto diet can help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, may help control migraine, might help with certain mental health issues and could have a few other potential benefits?
Many unhealthy foods easily meet keto’s low-carb, high-fat criteria. However, that doesn’t mean you can or should eat them freely. “A huge benefit to following the keto diet is that the vast majority of processed food is removed with the removal of grains,” Santo says. “Unfortunately, poor-quality dairy, meat, and veggies may fill the gap.” Look for healthier sources of protein and fat, such as grass-fed meats, and limit processed dairy (think cheese singles) as much as possible.
Protein can turn into carbohydrates via a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis (making new carbs) and will do in people at varying degrees. Protein turning into carbohydrates means you’re not in ketosis. However, this is generally an overblown statement that only happens at the extreme cases when you are drinking a lot of liquid protein shakes. 

“I prescribe and monitor low-carbohydrate diets because they are evidence-based and actionable. Diet Doctor provides great resources for my patients, most of whom present with joint and tendon problems, related to excess mechanical load (overweight) and inflammation. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to change their lifestyle at a time when deterioration in health is early and minimal. As one of my patients with diabetes remarked, “At least the turning point is happening because of my sore knee and not a stroke or a heart attack.” I couldn’t have summed up the rewarding nature of this work any better.”


Being constantly stressed keeps your sugar-boosting hormone cortisol jacked up, which not only elevates your blood sugar but also short-circuits fat loss. And let's be honest: When you're stressed out, you're more likely to nose-dive into keto-unfriendly foods, like comfort carbs. Find ways to dial down stress levels. I find even five minutes of shutting my eyes and taking deep, diaphragmatic breaths can give me a renewed focus and take stress down a few notches.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
Keep eating low carb to continue losing weight, feeling good and becoming healthier!Try making any of our hundreds of recipes available on the site. We make sure each and every recipe is delicious, nutritious and will keep you under your daily carb limit, even if you go for seconds. In addition, we provide step-by-step instructions to make the process as easy as possible. If you ever run into any issues or have any questions, be sure to leave a comment or contact us directly! We’re always happy to help.
–As with most of our recipes, you can alter them to fit your tastes. Don’t like cheddar? Use mozzarella, or feta, or even brie! Feel free to use turkey bacon, salami or perhaps even mushrooms for a vegetarian spin. These Bacon Egg & Cheese Cups are so versatile!And, since we know people are going to ask – yes, you can make 1 giant Bacon, Egg & Cheese Cup in the form of a pie! Just lay that bacon along the bottom of your pan, prebake it a bit in the oven and assemble one giant cup! Use a pie pan, cheesecake pan or small casserole dish (note: depending on your bakeware, you may need to double the ingredients)!Tasteaholics
“In my psychiatric practice, the high rate of obesity and metabolic disorders among my patients prompted me to develop an integrative therapeutic response, especially to address frequent patterns of impulsivity/compulsivity, low energy/lethargy, mood instability, mental fog, poor concentration and cognitive deterioration. A real-food, low-carb, healthy-fat, often ketogenic lifestyle, combined with intermittent fasting, stress management, rest, and movement — and appropriate pharmacotherapy as needed — results in improved general health, cognitive function, mood management, and quality of life. Diet Doctor, especially the new Spanish site, is a great tool for my patients.”
To drill down further, there are some genetic enzyme defects that cause problems with ketosis. Here are a few of note: carnitine deficiency (primary), carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) I or II deficiency, carnitine translocase deficiency, beta-oxidation defects—mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase (mHMGS) deficiency, medium-chain acyl dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD).

It’s estimated that over 50% of people are deficient in Vitamin D worldwide[*]. Although Vitamin D doesn’t play a major role in whether or not you are in ketosis, it is responsible for regulating immunity, inflammation, hormones and helping with electrolyte absorption[*][*] — all factors important for weight loss and overall health. Additionally, studies support the direct benefits of vitamin D for weight loss[*][*][*]. You can check your Vitamin D levels with a simple blood test and then supplement accordingly. When supplementing, choose Vitamin D3 as it is the form that’s best absorbed by your body[*][*].
At the first visit, participants were instructed how to follow the LCKD as individuals or in small groups, with an initial goal of ≤20 g carbohydrate per day. Participants were taught the specific types and amounts of foods they could eat, as well as foods to avoid. Initially, participants were allowed unlimited amounts of meats, poultry, fish, shellfish, and eggs; 2 cups of salad vegetables per day; 1 cup of low-carbohydrate vegetables per day; 4 ounces of hard cheese; and limited amounts of cream, avocado, olives, and lemon juice. Fats and oils were not restricted except that intake of trans fats was to be minimized. Participants were provided a 3-page handout and a handbook [11] detailing these recommendations. Participants prepared or bought all of their own meals and snacks following these guidelines.
In conclusion, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that exhaustively assessed food and alcohol cravings and changes in well-being determinants, such as sexual function, physical activity, and sleep abnormalities and QoL, during the weight-reduction process induced by a VLCK diet. The severe weight loss induced by the VLCK diet-PNK method was concomitant with a decrease in food and alcohol cravings, increases in physical activity, reduction of sleep abnormalities, and improvement in sexual functioning. Overall, these psychobiological parameters were translated to an enhancement in general QoL for the dieters. Relevantly, this is the first study able to distinguish the effect of ketosis per se independently of the weight-loss magnitude because the strongest effect was evidenced at highly ketosis-mild weight reduction, rather than at nonketosis-strong (mean 20 kg) weight reduction. Therefore, the results of this study evidenced that the rapid and sustained weight and FM loss induced by VLCK-diet are associated with good food control and improvements in the psychological well-being parameters in obese subjects that could be reinforced by the effect of ketosis. This effect could contribute to long-term success of this therapy and further reinforce the suitability of a VLCK-diet as a viable and valuable treatment option for obesity.
Supporting these results, Naude et al. (15) found a similar outcome in obese adults with and without type 2 diabetes. This meta-analysis of 19 randomized, controlled trials compared dietary interventions using standard CHO recommendation (i.e., 45 – 65%), low-carbohydrate/high protein (LCHP) and low-carbohydrate/high fat (this group, although not specifically stated, met the criteria for KD). Results demonstrated significant weight loss among all groups in the short-term (3 – 6 months) and long-term (1 – 2 years), with no significant difference among dietary interventions. The authors concluded that weight loss interventions using CHO restriction are equally effective as isocaloric diets of standard CHO recommendation.
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.

Clinical improvement was observed in Alzheimer’s patients fed a ketogenic diet, and this was marked by improved mitochondrial function. (15) In fact, a European Journal of Clinical Nutrition study pointed to emerging data that suggested the therapeutic use of ketogenic diets for multiple neurological disorders beyond epilepsy and Alzheimer’s, including headaches, neurotrauma, Parkinson’s disease, sleep disorders, brain cancer, autism and multiple sclerosis. (16)


Everyone responds to different levels of carbs, fat, and protein differently. It’s not enough to just eat what you think is a low amount of carbohydrates. Your metabolic history, daily activities, or any other factor may mean you can only tolerate 25 grams of carbs per day before getting kicked out of ketosis whereas someone else can tolerate up to 100 grams of carbs per day.

I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
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