63. Seidelmann S.B., Claggett B., Cheng S., Henglin M., Shah A., Steffen L.M., Folsom A.R., Rimm E.B., Willett W.C., Solomon S.D. Dietary carbohydrate intake and mortality: A prospective cohort study and meta-analysis. Lancet Public Health. 2018;3:e419–e428. doi: 10.1016/S2468-2667(18)30135-X. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Fat: Most of the calories in a ketogenic diet come from fat, which is used for energy. The exact amount of fat a person needs to eat will depend on carbohydrate and protein intake, how many calories they use during the day, and whether they are losing weight (using their body fat for energy). Depending on these factors, somewhere in the range of 60 to 80 percent of calories will come from fats on a ketogenic diet (even up to 90 percent on, for example, the Ketogenic Diet for Epilepsy). People tend not to overeat on diets this high in fat, so calorie counting is rarely necessary.
Health Impact News has published many articles about the low-carb high-fat ketogenic diet, and its favorable influences on several diseases or dysfunctional health conditions. The ketogenic diet was originally developed at Johns Hopkins Hospital in the 1920s to stop seizures in children with epilepsy, when pharmaceutical drugs did not work. More recently, the ketogenic diet has been used successfully for neurological disorders such as Alzheimer's disease. Recently, there have been efforts by some researchers and medical practitioners to explore the potential of ameliorating schizophrenia, a major brain disorder that affects one out of a hundred, with the aid of the ketogenic diet.
Recently, four studies have re-examined the effect of carbohydrate restriction on type 2 diabetes. One outpatient study enrolled 54 participants with type 2 diabetes (out of 132 total participants) and found that hemoglobin A1c improved to a greater degree over one year with a low-carbohydrate diet compared with a low-fat, calorie-restricted diet [5,6]. Another study enrolled 8 men with type 2 diabetes in a 5-week crossover outpatient feeding study that tested similar diets . The participants had greater improvement in glycohemoglobin while on the low-carbohydrate diet than when on a eucaloric low-fat diet. The third study was an inpatient feeding study in 10 participants with type 2 diabetes . After only 14 days, hemoglobin A1c improved from 7.3% to 6.8%. In the fourth study, 16 participants with type 2 diabetes who followed a 20% carbohydrate diet had improvement of hemoglobin A1c from 8.0% to 6.6% over 24 weeks . Only these latter three studies targeted glycemic control as a goal, and two of these were intensely-monitored efficacy studies in which all food was provided to participants for the duration of the study [7,8]. Three of the studies [6,8,9] mentioned that diabetic medications were adjusted but only one of them provided detailed information regarding these adjustments . This information is critical for patients on medication for diabetes who initiate a low-carbohydrate diet because of the potential for adverse effects resulting from hypoglycemia.
36. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: A pooled analysis of 2416 population-based measurement studies in 128.9 million children, adolescents, and adults. Lancet. 2017;390:2627–2642. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32129-3. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
In the 1990s, Atkins published an update from his 1972 book, Dr. Atkins New Diet Revolution, and other doctors began to publish books based on the same principles. This has been said to be the beginning of what the mass media call the "low carb craze" in the United States. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, low-carbohydrate diets became some of the most popular diets in the US. By some accounts, up to 18% of the population was using one type of low-carbohydrate diet or another at the peak of their popularity. Food manufacturers and restaurant chains like Krispy Kreme noted the trend, as it affected their businesses. Parts of the mainstream medical community have denounced low-carbohydrate diets as being dangerous to health, such as the AHA in 2001 and the American Kidney Fund in 2002 Low-carbohydrate advocates did some adjustments of their own, increasingly advocating controlling fat and eliminating trans fat.
Excess fat mass (FM), especially visceral fat, is associated with a variety of pathological conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and even cancer (1–4), as well as an increase in overall and cardiovascular mortality (2, 5). Very-low-calorie diets are commonly used as obesity treatments; however, a primary concern in using such diets is the amount of fat-free mass (FFM; i.e., muscular tissue) that is lost together with the FM (6). This could produce so-called sarcopenic obesity, that is, the coexistence of an excess of FM and a decline in FFM that yields a near-normal body weight (7). Sarcopenic obesity constitutes a double impact on the health of patients, because the reduction in muscle mass and muscle strength is also a cause of cardiometabolic disorders, such as myocardial infarction and stroke, and other adverse health outcomes (5, 7–9). For these reasons, it is of primary interest to find weight loss strategies that promote preferential loss of FM and preservation of muscle mass and its functional status (i.e., muscle strength) (10–12).
The low glycaemic index treatment (LGIT) is an attempt to achieve the stable blood glucose levels seen in children on the classic ketogenic diet while using a much less restrictive regimen. The hypothesis is that stable blood glucose may be one of the mechanisms of action involved in the ketogenic diet, which occurs because the absorption of the limited carbohydrates is slowed by the high fat content. Although it is also a high-fat diet (with approximately 60% calories from fat), the LGIT allows more carbohydrate than either the classic ketogenic diet or the modified Atkins diet, approximately 40–60 g per day. However, the types of carbohydrates consumed are restricted to those that have a glycaemic index lower than 50. Like the modified Atkins diet, the LGIT is initiated and maintained at outpatient clinics and does not require precise weighing of food or intensive dietitian support. Both are offered at most centres that run ketogenic diet programmes, and in some centres they are often the primary dietary therapy for adolescents.
The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with. In fact, these are some of the direct benefits of the keto diet.
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.
Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
Hi Cyn, The numbers are general guidelines but will vary depending on many factors, such as activity level, insulin resistance, weight and more. There is no single magic number, just conventional recommendations that are a good starting point. I will have a macro calculator coming soon that will help determine what is best for each person, but even then it’s an approximation. The only way to know for sure is to test. If keto is your goal, it’s usually best to start lower and then see if you can stay in ketosis when increasing.
Carrie, I highly recommend a support group. I personally know a woman “Amanda Rose” who recently lost half her body weight through the Keto Diet and intermittent fasting. You should totally join her Facebook Group. It’s called “Eat Like a Bear” and you can find it by entering the group’s name in the Facebook search bar. She is so amazing and so supportive for people struggling to lose the weight.
“As a family doctor in India, I recommend low-carb and keto diets, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients who have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I follow the growing, evidence-based science behind these approaches and I have seen the impressive clinical results. I, too, follow a low carb lifestyle and usually do it with intermittent fasting. I have been able to reverse my diabesity and keep my post-menopausal symptoms at bay. I also recommend to my patients that they visit the Diet Doctor website to find trustworthy information and delicious recipes.”
^ Freeman JM, Vining EP, Pillas DJ, Pyzik PL, Casey JC, Kelly LM. The efficacy of the ketogenic diet—1998: a prospective evaluation of intervention in 150 children. Pediatrics. 1998 Dec;102(6):1358–63. doi:10.1542/peds.102.6.1358. PMID 9832569. https://web.archive.org/web/20040629224858/http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1998/DECEMBER/981207.HTM Lay summary]—JHMI Office of Communications and Public Affairs. Updated 7 December 1998. Cited 6 March 2008.
The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake . 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 . 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.
24. Watson N.A., Dyer K.A., Buckley J.D., Brinkworth G.D., Coates A.M., Parfitt G., Howe P.R.C., Noakes M., Dye L., Chadwick H., et al. A randomised trial comparing low-fat diets differing in carbohydrate and protein ratio, combined with regular moderate intensity exercise, on glycaemic control, cardiometabolic risk factors, food cravings, cognitive function and psychological wellbeing in adults with type 2 diabetes: Study protocol. Contemp. Clin. Trials. 2015;45:217–225. [PubMed] [Google Scholar]
In 1967, Irwin Stillman published The Doctor's Quick Weight Loss Diet. The "Stillman diet" is a high-protein, low-carbohydrate, and low-fat diet. It is regarded as one of the first low-carbohydrate diets to become popular in the United States. Other low-carbohydrate diets in the 1960s included the Air Force diet and the Drinking Man's Diet. Austrian physician Wolfgang Lutz published his book Leben Ohne Brot (Life Without Bread) in 1967. However, it was not well known in the English-speaking world.
While in ketosis, your body effectively uses fat for fuel. In general, the daily intake of net carbs required to enter ketosis could vary from 20 to 100 grams per day. Most people, who have experienced ketosis, claim to have reached that state at about 20-50 grams of net carbs per day. I'd suggest you start at 20-30 grams and see how you can adjust it for your needs.
By discriminating the components of the FFM as determined by DXA, it was observed that these variations were mainly due to changes in lean mass, whereas bone mineral content remained unchanged from baseline (0.003 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-2; −0.018 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-3; and −0.028 ± 0.066 kg at visit C-4; P > 0.05). Given that DXA technique is unable to discriminate the composition of lean mass, the question was raised as to whether the observed reductions in lean mass were at the expense of muscle mass or body water content. Therefore, further analysis was performed by MF-BIA , which is able to discriminate these 2 variables. Remarkably, the measurements performed by MF-BIA showed that the initial loss of FFM at visit C-2 (−3.1 ± 1.5 kg) was mostly due to total body water loss (−2.3 ± 1.1 kg), both intra- (−1.5 ± 0.7 kg) and extracellular [−0.8 ± 0.5 kg; Fig. 3(B)], probably because of the intense diuresis that occurs in the first phase of any VLCK diet. In subsequent visits, a slight recovery of intra- and extracellular water was observed, similar to the recovery observed with total FFM. This means that reductions attributable to muscle mass were, depending on the method used, around 1 kg throughout the 4-month study; only 5% of the total 20.2 kg of weight lost was FFM.
A review of multiple studies in the journal Nutrients found that ketogenic diets are connected to significant reductions in total cholesterol, increases in “good” HDL cholesterol levels, dips in triglycerides levels and decreases in “bad” LDL cholesterol; there are questions as to whether diets high in saturated fat negate these benefits. The same paper reports that a ketogenic may slightly reduce blood pressure, but science is still very scant on this point.
Twenty participants were tasked with following a very-low-calorie keto (VLCK) diet consisting of 600 to 800 calories. They took supplemental docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) omega-3 fats, vitamins, and minerals. DHA is an important structural component of the human brain, which was added to participants’ diets to ensure their body had enough of the component during fat loss. They took vitamins and minerals to make up for the nutrients lost from carb-containing foods. Meanwhile, they also followed a “formal exercise program.” The program was not defined in the study paper, and the study authors were not available for comment by this story’s publication.
(Note that ketosis should not be confused with diabetic ketoacidosis, a dangerous state that occurs primarily in Type 1 and sometimes in Type 2 diabetics, when high levels of ketones build up because there’s not enough insulin to metabolize blood glucose—so the diabetes becomes out of control. This is sometimes due to an infection or other severe stress. But for healthy individuals without Type 1 diabetes, ketones are used as an alternative energy source and rarely poison or acidify the body.)
With funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, in 2012 Taubes co-founded the Nutrition Science Initiative (NuSI), with the aim of raising over $200 million to undertake a "Manhattan Project for nutrition" and validate the hypothesis. Intermediate results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition did not provide convincing evidence of any advantage to a low-carbohydrate diet as compared to diets of other composition – ultimately a very low-calorie, ketogenic diet (of 5% carbohydrate) "was not associated with significant loss of fat mass" compared to a non-specialized diet with the same calories; there was no useful "metabolic advantage". In 2017 Kevin Hall, a NIH researcher hired to assist with the project, wrote that the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis had been falsified by experiment. Hall wrote "the rise in obesity prevalence may be primarily due to increased consumption of refined carbohydrates, but the mechanisms are likely to be quite different from those proposed by the carbohydrate–insulin model".
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.
Over the long-term the KD poses possible risks as well, although the evidence remains unclear on this topic. Consumption of a high fat diet, particularly saturated fat, is associated with increased cardiovascular risk (23) and consumption of saturated fat has been shown to acutely induce insulin resistance and raise blood triglyceride levels (12). Nevertheless, many KD studies have documented improvements in markers of cardiovascular risk, including improvements in vascular function (24) reduction in inflammatory markers (10), and other markers of cardiovascular health (13,20). Methodological issues, such as clear definitions of dietary interventions, may play a significant role in obscuring the underlying principles, however, it is clear that more targeted research is warranted.
Most carbs you consume are broken down into sugar that enters the bloodstream. When you rein in carbohydrates on the keto diet, you have lower levels of blood glucose (high blood glucose can lead to diabetes). A study in the journal Nutrition reveals that a ketogenic diet improves blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetics more significantly than a low-calorie diet and can also decrease the dosage of your diabetes meds.
“[This study] does support other existing research findings that you can indeed lose weight on a ketogenic-inducing diet, and higher levels of protein intake, while following a calorie-restricted diet does help preserve the loss of lean muscle mass,” says Lona Sandon, PhD, RDN, assistant professor in the department of clinical nutrition at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas.
“Basic human physiology supports the use of a low-carb diet for the management of diabetes and related metabolic conditions, both in daily life and in my practice of hospital medicine, where glycemic control is vitally important. I use Diet Doctor as a resource to stay up-to-date with other low-carb professionals, and I confidently refer my patients to this trusted resource for its wealth of information relevant to their metabolic health.”
“I've always been the big girl. That was my thing. I was the big girl. Turns out, being the big girl means excessive sweating and heart problems. Things needed to change. I tried it the old fashioned way, but nothing really helped. I saw something about in a magazine, so I started doing research. I talked to my doctor, he suggested I try . And honestly, it's been a life changer. I'm down over a hundred pounds and still losing! ” - Stella Bitters
Weight loss is a common target for disease management, as well as health promotion. The prevalence of obesity remains high among U.S. adults (36.5%) (5), as well as children and adolescents (17%) (6). Importantly, obesity is a significant contributor to increased morbidity and mortality, as well as being a primary driver of increasing medical expenses (4). Despite much effort and cost, there has been little success on this front and obesity remains a public health crisis.
Carbohydrate-restricted diets are no more effective than a conventional healthy diet in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, but for people with type 2 diabetes they are a viable option for losing weight or helping with glycemic control. There is little evidence that low-carbohydrate dieting is helpful in managing type 1 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes should adopt a generally healthy diet, rather than a diet focused on carbohydrate or other macronutrients.
There is a transition period in ketosis while the body is adapting to using fats and ketones instead of glucose as its main fuel. There can be negative symptoms during this period (fatigue, weakness, light-headedness, headaches, mild irritability), but they usually can be eased fairly easily. Most of these symptoms are over by the first week of a ketogenic diet, though some may extend to two weeks.
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).
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 ketogenic diet is used to treat drug-resistant childhood epilepsy. It has become a fad diet for people attempting to lose weight. Dieters trying this often do not achieve true ketosis as this requires extreme carbohydrate restriction, and maintaining a ketogenic diet is difficult. Some diet advocates make misleading claims that the ketogenic diet can treat or prevent cancer.
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.
This work was supported by the PronoKal Group® and by grants from the Fondo de Investigacion Sanitaria (PE13/00024 and PI14/01012 research projects) and CIBERobn (CB06/003), Instituto de Salud Carlos III–Subdireccion General de Evaluacion y Fomento de la Investigación; Fondo Europeo de Desarrollo Regional, and the Health Department of the Xunta de Galicia, Spain. D.G.A. is grateful to the Colombian Department of Science, Technology and Innovation – COLCIENCIAS as a recipient of their predoctoral scholarship to support his work. The funding sources had no involvement in the study design, recruitment of patients, study interventions, data collection, or interpretation of the results. A PronoKal representative (I.S.) was involved in the study design and revised the final version of the manuscript, without intervention in the analysis of data, statistical evaluation, or final interpretation of the results of this study.
I did the Atkins diet almost 20 years ago and lost weight like I had a disease! Since then I’ve put on all that was lost plus more. I’m suffering with high blood pressure (medicated control) and am at risk for diabetes. Being a truck driver lends itself to an unhealthy eating routine. I started the Keto diet a few weeks ago. Preparing my meals and reheating them in my truck. Losing weight slowly and bp is coming down nicely. I’ve noticed that these two diets look very familiar and is, to me, difficult to tell apart. Either work for weightloss and clear head. I’ve incorporated chia seeds into my routine and they help curb hunger through long boring miles. WATER WATER WATER Any high protein diet requires you to hypersaturate your system to aid your bodies flush of extra proteins.
During this study, the patients followed the different steps of the method until they reached the target weight or up to a maximum of 4 months of follow-up, although patients remained under medical supervision for the following months. Patients visited the research team every 15 ± 2 days to control adherence and evaluate potential side effects. Complete anthropometric, body composition, biochemical and phycological assessments were performed at four of the visits which were made according to the evolution of each patient through the steps of ketosis and weight loss: Visit 1 (baseline), visit 2 (maximum ketosis), visit 3 (reduced ketosis) and visit 4 (Endpoint).
“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.”
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.
As of 2016 it was unclear whether low-carbohydrate dieting had any beneficial effect on cardiovascular health, though such diets can cause high LDL cholesterol levels, which carry a risk of atherosclerosis in the long term. Potential favorable changes in triglyceride and HDL cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in LDL and total cholesterol values.
In general, people on ketogenic diets tend to consume a lot of foods high in monounsaturated and saturated fats such as olive oil, butter (often butter from grass-fed cows is recommended), avocado, and cheeses. The high oleic types of safflower and sunflower oils (but not the regular forms of these oils) are also good choices, as they are high in monounsaturated fats and low in polyunsaturated fats.
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.
Your individual fat adaptation period. Remember your body needs time to become fat-adapted and that time depends on your metabolism. For instance, if you’re coming off a Standard American Diet (SAD) and your adult body has never run on ketones before, your adaptation period might take a little longer. You’ll only experience the true weight loss effects of keto when your body is actually running on ketones.
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:
Weight loss is the primary reason my patients use the ketogenic diet. Previous research shows good evidence of a faster weight loss when patients go on a ketogenic or very low carbohydrate diet compared to participants on a more traditional low-fat diet, or even a Mediterranean diet. However, that difference in weight loss seems to disappear over time.