1. Aragon AA, Schoenfeld BJ, Wildman R, Kleiner S, VanDusseldorp T, Taylor L, Earnest CP, Arciero PJ, Wilborn C, Kalman DS, Stout JR, Willoughby DS, Campbell B, Arent SM, Bannock L, Smith-Ryan AE, and Antonio J. International Society of Sports Nutritionists Position Stand: Diets and body composition. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 14:16, 2017.
“I discovered the low-carb lifestyle after struggling myself with my obesity for many years. I was unsuccessful losing weight with the traditional low-fat diet plans that I used to recommend to patients. I researched and reviewed the studies of low-carb/keto eating and I lost weight, becoming a much healthier doctor. I am now passing on that experience onto my patients! When I counsel patients not familiar with low-carb living, I refer them to the Diet Doctor site for testimonials, recipes, and much more.”
In 1921, Rollin Turner Woodyatt reviewed the research on diet and diabetes. He reported that three water-soluble compounds, β-hydroxybutyrate, acetoacetate, and acetone (known collectively as ketone bodies), were produced by the liver in otherwise healthy people when they were starved or if they consumed a very low-carbohydrate, high-fat diet. Dr. Russell Morse Wilder, at the Mayo Clinic, built on this research and coined the term "ketogenic diet" to describe a diet that produced a high level of ketone bodies in the blood (ketonemia) through an excess of fat and lack of carbohydrate. Wilder hoped to obtain the benefits of fasting in a dietary therapy that could be maintained indefinitely. His trial on a few epilepsy patients in 1921 was the first use of the ketogenic diet as a treatment for epilepsy.
I won't be staying with keto for the long term—I really can't eat that much bacon anymore—but I do expect I'll return to it several times a year. If nothing else, the strict diet works well for me as a reset after a long splurge (hello, holidays!), and my month-long experiment helped me break my dependency on some of my biggest food crutches (sugar, pasta, crackers).
Are you tracking your calorie intake? Healthy fats also have higher calories and can put you at or over your bodies calorie requirement. Calculate the calories that you have been eating over the past while and then check how many calories you should actually be taking in. If you want to lose weight you have to be in calorie deficit regardless of whether you are in ketosis or not.
You eat a ton of good fats on keto, and fat is satiating, helping you you feel full for longer. Fat also keeps your blood sugar stable, so you don’t experience energy highs and lows. When your body runs on ketones for fuel, it has a steady supply of energy in the form of body fat. When your body relies on glucose, it needs a regular hit of carbs to keep it going. Think of how you feel after eating a white bread sandwich and kettle chips for lunch. You’re ready to raid the fridge a couple of hours later. When you instead eat some grass-fed steak with butter-drenched steamed vegetables, you’ll power through your afternoon minus any distracting cravings.
Your glycogen stores can still be refilled while on a ketogenic diet. A keto diet is an excellent way to build muscle, but protein intake is crucial here. It’s suggested that if you are looking to gain mass, you should be taking in about 1.0 – 1.2g protein per lean pound of body mass. Putting muscle on may be slower on a ketogenic diet, but that’s because your total body fat is not increasing as much.5Note that in the beginning of a ketogenic diet, both endurance athletes and obese individuals see a physical performance for the first week of transition.
When you’re on keto, you’re less hungry. Ketones help control hormones that influence appetite. They suppress ghrelin, your “hunger hormone,” and at the same time they boost cholecystokinin (CCK) — the hormone that keeps you feeling full. You won’t want to snack as regularly, making it easier to go longer without food. Your body will then reach into its fat stores for energy. The result? More weight loss. Learn more here about how the keto diet suppresses appetite.
This work was supported by grants from the Fondo de Investigacion Sanitaria, (PI14/01012 and PI17/01167) research projects and CIBERobn (CB06/003), from the Instituto de Salud Carlos III (ISCIII), Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional (FEDER) Spanish. DGA is grateful to the Colombian Department of Science, Technology and Innovation—COLCIENCIAS as a recipient of their pre-doctoral scholarship to support his work. Ana B Crujeiras is funded by a research contract “Miguel Servet” (CP17/00088) from the ISCIII.
But it has its share of critics as well. The keto diet is sometimes referred to as “the bacon and butter diet” because it calls for 75% of daily calories to come from fat. Keto followers are gobbling up bacon, steak, sausage, and chicken (skin and all). They’re adding butter to their morning coffee. They’re drowning their salads with ranch dressing.
Instead of thinking about the total carbs you’re eating, assess what those carbs provide to you. Do the majority of your carbs come from fruit and vegetables, with a payload of fiber and disease-fighting antioxidants? Fantastic. Or are you consuming them in the form of added sugars (cookies, candy, soda) or refined flour? If you are, you know what to do.
Bulk buy and cook. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this is the best of both worlds. Buying your food at bulk (specifically from wholesalers) can reduce the cost per pound tremendously. Plus, you can make ahead food (bulk cook chicken thighs for pre-made meat, or cook entire meals) that are used as leftovers, so you spend less time cooking.
“I discovered the low-carb, ketogenic diet some four years ago and saw huge improvements in my own health. After establishing that it is based on sound scientific principles I felt compelled to offer it to my patients. We recommend the Diet Doctor website as it offers an unbiased, contemporary source of reliable low-carb ketogenic advice. It is easy to use and you can rely on its integrity.”
As keto grows in popularity, I see more women struggle with it. My anecdotal observation in my medical office and working with people online is that younger men seem to perform best, and better than women of all ages in nutritional ketosis. My female patients, myself included, may have more problems on keto, with their stress hormones (i.e. producing too much cortisol), thyroid function, and may even develop menstrual irregularities. Some women do fine, others may feel worse, suffer from mood issues, and can even gain weight. We are still learning more about why men fare better than women (it may be related to their higher muscle mass). Additionally, there are at least ten genes that may make a person less likely to benefit from keto.
Melinda – I’m afraid there’s no getting around the fact that one of the Keto requirements is to *calculate your macros,* based on the amount of calories you need to consume each day, in order to (a) maintain your current weight level, or (b) lose weight. Go to an online Keto macro calculator – there’s one linked to a good one on this site, further up the thread. They are generally very easy to use. Then stick to your calculated results, with trust and patience. It may be slow, but you will absolutely see results. I did – and I’ve tried absolutely everything. I barely have time to exercise, but I still lost at least a couple of dress sizes, and I feel absolutely amazing – no more brain fog, tons of energy – maybe too much energy! And best of all, I’m no longer miserable about food, because on Keto, everything is delicious! One final thing in the interest of full disclosure – I am an uber-clean-Keto advocate. I put in the work to eat only healthy fats and carbs from healthy sources. I’m pescatarian – no meats except seafood. I also carefully limit my saturated fat intake to 10% of total calories (the recommended daily allowance), to keep my genetically problematic cholesterol level from skyrocketing, as it did when I first began. This is all working well for me so far – I was able to cut 40 points from my abnormally high LDL (bad cholesterol) level within three months, And hope to get it down to normal levels in three more months. You do want to make sure you get your regular physical exams and monitor your blood work whenever you change your nutritional lifestyle. I wish you the best!
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). MCTs are more efficiently absorbed and are rapidly transported to the liver via the hepatic portal system rather than the lymphatic system. 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. The MCT diet replaced the classic ketogenic diet in many hospitals, though some devised diets that were a combination of the two.
Adequate food records were available for analysis in a proportion of participants at each of the 4 timepoints (Table (Table2).2). Participants completed food records at a mean of 2.5 and a median of 3 timepoints. In general, comparing baseline to subsequent timepoints, mean carbohydrate intake decreased substantially and energy intake decreased moderately while protein and fat intake remained fairly constant.
The first signs of ketosis are known as the “keto flu” where headaches, brain fogginess, fatigue, and the like can really rile your body up. Make sure that you’re drinking plenty of waterand eating plenty of salt. The ketogenic diet is a natural diuretic and you’ll be peeing more than normal. Take into account that you’re peeing out electrolytes, and you can guess that you’ll be having a thumping headache in no time. Keeping your salt intake and water intake high enough is very important, allowing your body to re-hydrate and re-supply your electrolytes. Doing this will help with the headaches, if not get rid of them completely.