A low-carbohydrate diet gives slightly better control of glucose metabolism than a low-fat diet in type 2 diabetes.[12][34] A 2018 report on type 2 diabetes by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) found that a low-carbohydrate diet may not be as good as a Mediterranean diet at improving glycemic control, and that although having a healthy body weight is important, "there is no single ratio of carbohydrate, proteins, and fat intake that is optimal for every person with type 2 diabetes".[35]


“I am an anesthesiologist who managed to lose weight and reverse my pre-diabetes a few years back. I now advocate the low-carb diet and lifestyle to all patients, colleagues and friends. Diet Doctor is a comprehensive one-stop resource which I highly recommend. Almost every patient I anesthetize has metabolic issues, and the situation is difficult as the diet in India is primarily carbohydrate based. I have successfully helped friends and patients reverse their type 2 diabetes.”
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.
4. Gomez-Arbelaez D., Bellido D., Castro A.I., Ordonez-Mayan L., Carreira J., Galban C., Martinez-Olmos M.A., Crujeiras A.B., Sajoux I., Casanueva F.F. Body composition changes after very-low-calorie ketogenic diet in obesity evaluated by 3 standardized methods. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. 2017;102:488–498. doi: 10.1210/jc.2016-2385. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
“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!”
The transition period: In the first few weeks of the diet, you may feel like absolute crap. Scratch that, you most likely will. Your body won’t be used to using fat as its primary fuel source, leaving you with decreased performance and a lingering foggy-headed feeling. However, as your body adapts, your energy will increase. You might even find yourself feeling better than ever.
A lot of veggies are carb-heavy—they can’t fit into an ultra-low-carb diet. These include potatoes of course, but also yams, corn, peas, and carrots. The best options for keto dieters include asparagus, bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens, and zucchini. “What’s tough for many people to grasp when starting out on a ketogenic diet is that you can’t really eat a lot of [certain] vegetables,” Mancinelli says. “When you’re keeping carbs super low, you have to limit vegetables—which goes counter to everything you know about how to eat healthy and lose weight.”
From baseline to week 16, the mean body weight decreased significantly from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg, BMI decreased from 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2 to 39.4 ± 6.0 kg/m2, and waist circumference from 130.0 ± 10.5 cm to 123.3 ± 11.3 cm (Table ​(Table3).3). The percent change in body weight was -6.6%. The mean percent body fat decreased from 40.4 ± 5.8% to 37.0 ± 6.0%. Systolic and diastolic blood pressures did not change significantly over the 16 weeks. The mean heart rate decreased from 81.2 ± 12.9 beats per minute to 74.6 ± 14.0 beats per minute (p = 0.01).
In part, keto diet weight loss is a real thing because high-fat, low-carb diets can both help diminish hunger and boost weight loss through their hormonal effects. As described above, when we eat very little foods that supply us with carbohydrates, we release less insulin. With lower insulin levels, the body doesn’t store extra energy in the form of fat for later use, and instead is able to reach into existing fat stores for energy.
You’re transitioning. Your body is equipped to process a high intake of carbs and a lower intake of fat. Your body needs to create enzymes to be able to do this. In the transitional period, the brain may run low on energy which can lead to grogginess, nausea, and headaches. If you’re having a large problem with this, you can choose to reduce carb intake gradually.
Sleep quality was evaluated by determining sleep propensity and quality by means of the PSS and PSQI, respectively. Overall, participants showed a poor sleep condition with a total score >5 au (Table S1). Thus, a significant improvement in sleepiness (PSS) was observed when comparing the visit of reduced ketosis with baseline, a point that coincided with maximum loss of fat mass (Figure 3B). By contrast, no statistically significant effect was observed on sleep quality and duration (PSQI; Figure 3B). Accordingly, plasma levels of dopamine showed no statistically significant changes (data not shown).
The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake [22]. The first three steps consist of a VLCK diet (600–800 kcal/day), low in carbohydrates (<50 g daily from vegetables), and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high biological-value proteins ranged between 0.8 and 1.2 g per each kg of ideal body weight to ensure that patients were meeting their minimum body requirements and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients ate high-biological-value protein preparations five times a day and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, one of the protein servings was substituted with a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein was substituted for the second serving of biological protein preparation. Throughout these ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations [23]. These three steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time depending on the individual and the weight-loss target. The total ketosis state lasted for 60–90 days only.
Others consider the keto diet a short-term solution for weight loss. Tyler Drew, a 34-year-old real estate broker from Los Angeles, first read about the diet on Reddit and used it to lose 45 pounds in six months before returning to a traditional diet. While on the keto diet, Drew’s cholesterol levels improved, even though a typical day of eating involved bacon at both breakfast and dinner.
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.
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.)

“One of the best meal planning tips I’ve ever received is to structure breakfast and lunch so that you don’t have to think too much about it,” says Emily Bartlett, co-founder of Real Plans. “If you’re OK with repetition, it’s ideal to have a simple selection of recipes for breakfast—including some that can be taken on the go. For lunch, go ahead and use your leftovers with a fresh green salad, and be sure to include a dressing that you really love.” Before you make your keto diet menu, check out the 13 things doctors want you to know about the keto diet.


The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake [22]. The first three steps consist of a VLCK diet (600–800 kcal/day), low in carbohydrates (<50 g daily from vegetables), and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high biological-value proteins ranged between 0.8 and 1.2 g per each kg of ideal body weight to ensure that patients were meeting their minimum body requirements and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients ate high-biological-value protein preparations five times a day and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, one of the protein servings was substituted with a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein was substituted for the second serving of biological protein preparation. Throughout these ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations [23]. These three steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time depending on the individual and the weight-loss target. The total ketosis state lasted for 60–90 days only.
There are so many tricks, shortcuts, and gimmicks out there on achieving optimal ketosis – I’d suggest you don’t bother with any of that. Optimal ketosis can be accomplished through dietary nutrition alone (aka just eating food). You shouldn’t need a magic pill to do it. Just stay strict, remain vigilant, and be focused on recording what you eat (to make sure your carb and protein intake are correct).

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.
It’s also currently as trendy to the fitness world as kale and açaí are to the pseudo-hipsters who wear beanies, even in the dead-heat of summer. If you haven’t tried keto on for size, maybe give it a go (unless you’re a complete and utter carb bitch, and cramming yourself full of bagels and pancakes just makes your abs really pop - in which case, the rest of us hate you on the inside. Just a little.)
×