Keto flu is a real thing. Cutting your carbs to the bone and going into a state of ketosis (where your body burns fat for energy) can bring on a cluster of uncomfortable symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. The side effects are the result of your body transitioning to using fat as its primary source of energy instead of carbs, explains Kristen Mancinelli, MS, RDN, author of The Ketogenic Diet. Once it adapts to the new fuel source (usually within a week or two), you’ll start to feel better.
Julie Hand is a certified holistic health and nutrition counselor (Institute for Integrative Nutrition), personal fitness trainer (National Personal Training Institute), and yoga teacher (Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health). Though she can’t resist trying every science-backed health tip, she also has a penchant for crystals and astrology (don’t judge). You can find her walking the beach (coffee in hand, of course) and practicing the ukulele on weekends.
The goal of the ketogenic diet is to put your body into ketosis — a state where your body burns fat instead of carbs for fuel. The diet consists of mostly fat (75% of your daily calories, in fact), with moderate consumption of protein (20%) and very few carbs (<5%).  Without access to glucose from carbs, your body doesn’t have all the highs and lows that lead to hunger pangs, energy crashes, and cravings.  The liver instead must convert fatty acids from your diet into ketones for the body and brain to use as fuel. This keeps blood sugar levels stable. Your body also sheds excess weight — fast. But that doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy or unsustainable — provided you do it the right way.
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 [7]. 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 [8]. 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 [9]. 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 [9]. 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.

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).


A well-formulated ketogenic diet, besides limiting carbohydrates, also limits protein intake moderately to less than 1g/lb body weight, unless individuals are performing heavy exercise involving weight training when the protein intake can be increased to 1.5g/lb body weight. This is to prevent the endogenous production of glucose in the body via gluconeogenesis. However, it does not restrict fat or overall daily calories. People on a ketogenic diet initially experience rapid weight loss up to 10 lbs in 2 weeks or less. This diet has a diuretic effect, and some early weight loss is due to water weight loss followed by a fat loss. Interestingly with this diet plan, lean body muscle is largely spared. As a nutritional ketosis state sustains, hunger pangs subside, and an overall reduction in caloric intake helps to further weight loss.

Several recent studies indicate that a low-carbohydrate diet is effective at improving glycemia. A few studies have shown that in non-diabetic individuals, low-carbohydrate diets were more effective than higher carbohydrate diets at improving fasting serum glucose [13,14] and insulin [6,14-16], and at improving insulin sensitivity as measured by the homeostasis model [6]. One of these studies also included diabetic patients and noted a comparative improvement in hemoglobin A1c after 6 months (low fat diet: 0.0 ± 1.0%; low carbohydrate diet: -0.6 ± 1.2%, p = 0.06) [6] and 12 months (low fat diet: -0.1 ± 1.6%; low carbohydrate diet: -0.7 ± 1.0%, p = 0.019) duration [5]. In a 5-week crossover feeding study, 8 men with type 2 diabetes had greater improvement in fasting glucose, 24-hour glucose area-under-the-curve (AUC), 24-hour insulin AUC, and glycohemoglobin while on the low-carbohydrate diet than when on a eucaloric low-fat diet [7]. In a 14-day inpatient feeding study, 10 participants with type 2 diabetes experienced improvements in hemoglobin A1c and insulin sensitivity as measured by the euglycemic hyperinsulinemic clamp method [8]. Hemoglobin A1c also improved in an outpatient study of 16 participants who followed a 20% carbohydrate diet for 24 weeks [9].
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.[59] 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.[60] Food manufacturers and restaurant chains like Krispy Kreme noted the trend, as it affected their businesses.[61] Parts of the mainstream medical community have denounced low-carbohydrate diets as being dangerous to health, such as the AHA in 2001[62] and the American Kidney Fund in 2002[63] Low-carbohydrate advocates did some adjustments of their own, increasingly advocating controlling fat and eliminating trans fat.[64]
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.

35. Crujeiras A.B., Gomez-Arbelaez D., Zulet M.A., Carreira M.C., Sajoux I., de Luis D., Castro A.I., Baltar J., Baamonde I., Sueiro A., et al. Plasma FGF21 levels in obese patients undergoing energy-restricted diets or bariatric surgery: A marker of metabolic stress? Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 2017;41:1570–1578. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.138. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]


Constipation is a common side effect of low-carb eating plans, including the ketogenic diet. Severely curbing your carb intake means saying goodbye to high-fiber foods like whole grains, beans, and a large proportion of fruits and vegetables, says Ginger Hultin, MS, RDN, Seattle-based nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
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 keto diet is so restrictive, it's difficult to sustain over time. Only people who are truly devoted can maintain that level of diligence when it comes to meal planning, nutrient tracking and eating out. So after losing the weight, most people go back to their old eating habits. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people who try fad diets end up gaining the weight back because they haven't really found a new way to live.

What about fruits and vegetables? All fruits are rich in carbs, but you can have certain fruits (usually berries) in small portions. Vegetables (also rich in carbs) are restricted to leafy greens (such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach), cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, asparagus, bell peppers, onions, garlic, mushrooms, cucumber, celery, and summer squashes. A cup of chopped broccoli has about six carbs.
Hi Danielle, yes, most Keto Recipes I’ve seen on social media don’t look very appealing to me either. I have a Keto Breakfast Casserole and a Green Smoothie on the blog you can use the search bar in the menu, just enter “keto” and they’ll all appear. I am also working on a 21-Day Keto Challenge e-book at the moment. If you’re interested in being notified when it’s ready I recommend signing up for my newsletter, safest way to not miss it.
Use fat as a lever.  We’ve been taught to fear fat, but don’t! Both keto and low carb are high fat diets. Fat is our source of energy as well as satiety. The key to understand, though, is that fat is a lever on a low carb or keto diet. Carbs and protein stay constant, and fat is the one you increase or decrease (push the lever up or down) to gain or lose weight, respectively. So if your goal is weight loss, eat enough fat to be satisfied, but there’s no need to “get your fats in” once you’re satisfied. 

Changes in the impact of weight on quality of life-lite (IWQOL-Lite). Raw scores (higher scores indicate poorer quality of life on the IWQOL-Lite) were converted into a T-score (0–100), with 100 representing best possible health. Mean ± standard error of changes from baseline are reported for total score. (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.
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.
While keto diets minimize sugar and other food sensitivities, they often allow full-fat dairy such as yogurt that, for some people, can stall fat loss. And some packaged keto-friendly foods (yes, there's a whole industry of keto-friendly cookies, candy, and other junk food!) can contain gluten, artificial sweeteners, and other reactive ingredients. These foods and additives cause dysbiosis (an imbalance between good and bad bugs), leaky gut syndrome, and increase insulin resistance, which raises blood sugar levels—stalling weight loss. Read your labels carefully: Food sensitivities can be sneaky and hide in foods that you would never suspect, like mustard.
The original therapeutic diet for paediatric epilepsy provides just enough protein for body growth and repair, and sufficient calories[Note 1] to maintain the correct weight for age and height. The classic therapeutic ketogenic diet was developed for treatment of paediatric epilepsy in the 1920s and was widely used into the next decade, but its popularity waned with the introduction of effective anticonvulsant medications. This classic ketogenic diet contains a 4:1 ratio by weight of fat to combined protein and carbohydrate. This is achieved by excluding high-carbohydrate foods such as starchy fruits and vegetables, bread, pasta, grains, and sugar, while increasing the consumption of foods high in fat such as nuts, cream, and butter.[1] Most dietary fat is made of molecules called long-chain triglycerides (LCTs). However, medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs)—made from fatty acids with shorter carbon chains than LCTs—are more ketogenic. A variant of the classic diet known as the MCT ketogenic diet uses a form of coconut oil, which is rich in MCTs, to provide around half the calories. As less overall fat is needed in this variant of the diet, a greater proportion of carbohydrate and protein can be consumed, allowing a greater variety of food choices.[4][5]

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.[29][30] 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".[6][8] In 2017 Kevin Hall, a NIH researcher hired to assist with the project, wrote that the carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis had been falsified by experiment.[28][8] 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".[8]


There is also a common worry the ketogenic diet may cause ketoacidosis, which occurs when the acidity in the blood increases. Diabetic ketoacidosis is a life-threatening condition caused by very high blood sugars and a deficiency of insulin in insulin-dependent diabetics, a very different state from ketones produced by a fat-burning metabolism on a low-carb, high-fat diet.
I think Tammy is asking about labeling on products. I have also found the percentages to be inconsistent. I think it is due to the way they companies calculate the grams in relation to the average daily intake- the result being different as the range  goes from 225-325 grams per day. At the end of the day the company decides how they calculate the percentage so the best way to solve this is to look at the grams instead.

While it may be new to you, the keto diet has actually been around since the 1920’s, when the Mayo Clinic reported its effectiveness for helping epilepsy (that is still the case). Since then, there’s strong evidence that the keto diet helps with weight loss as well as type 2 diabetes, prediabetes, and metabolic syndrome, says Jeff Volek, Ph.D., RD, professor in the department of Human Sciences at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio and co-author of The Art and Science of Low Carbohydrate Living.
“I first began recommending a low-carbohydrate approach to diet and lifestyle in 2017 after discovering personal success with this way of eating. Since then, I’ve helped many patients adopt a LCHF diet and seen substantial clinical improvements — particularly with insulin resistance and diabetes — with this approach. Eating whole, nutritious food is good for everyone and results in the remission of disease and restoration of both physical and mental health.”

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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).

You can still get a super crisp crust on chicken while keeping it moist and juicy on the inside. There are a few ways to do this, but the best method we’ve found is by grinding up pork rinds in the food processor and adding parmesan cheese to the mix. This will result in a fantastic crust all the way around your chicken, giving you the perfect keto fried chicken.
Prolonged ketosis and large buildups of ketones can be dangerous, but VLCDs intentionally bring on mild ketosis. At a certain level, ketosis brings on desirable changes that facilitate safe weight loss and keep important body processes working properly while getting so few calories. When your body is using fat for energy, you may be losing weight, but your brain can be starving because it primarily uses glucose, or carbohydrates, for energy. However, ketones can cross the blood-brain barrier and supply most of your brain's energy needs, according to Wim Saris, a researcher writing in the November 2001 "Obesity Research" journal. Without ketones fulfilling this role, your body will begin to break down amino acids, your protein building blocks, into blood sugar. This can cause you to lose lean muscle mass while on the VLCD.
Low-calorie diets leading to rapid weight loss can cause headaches -- especially if your carbohydrate intake is too low. A study published in 2011 in the "Nutrition Journal" reports that symptoms of ketosis, which occurs when there is a buildup of metabolic byproducts called ketones in the body after breaking down fat instead of carbs as fuel -- include headaches, bad breath, weakness and constipation. To reduce your chance of getting a headache during weight loss, eat at least 130 grams of carbohydrates -- which is the recommended dietary allowance, or RDA -- daily and avoid losing more than 2 pounds per week.
HDL is still low and stuck on 45 even after hoping strongly with more healthy saturated fats organic bone broth from lamb bones, etc. LDL way up 170 and triglycerides a a record high of 170, Non HDL choleseterol at 203. Kinda surprizd I cannot more that HDL number aftyer all the keto stuff. And unsure why the LDL has exploded since stress has always been with me these last 9 years.
The importance of dietary CHO is so well ingrained that the concept is taken for granted. In fact, basic macronutrient guidelines are predicated upon the idea that the central nervous system (CNS) requires a minimum of ~130 grams (~520 kcal) per day to function properly (i.e., to maintain optimal cognitive function). As a result, the minimum recommended daily intake of CHO reflects this idea (7). Similarly, most contemporary texts on sports nutrition emphasize the outsized role of CHO in optimizing both athletic performance and recovery (9). Frequently referred to as the “master fuel,” recommendations range from 3 – 12 grams per kilogram of bodyweight, per day. As an example, the recommended daily intake for a 180-lb athlete would be 246 – 982 grams, with a caloric equivalent of 984 – 3,928 calories. In marked contrast, the KD would recommend a maximum of just 50 grams (~ 200 calories) per day for the same individual.
White sugar, honey, and most traditional sugars are out when you’re eating keto because of the high carb counts. While many artificial sweeteners deliver sweetness sans a single carb, that doesn’t mean you should eat them, Crandall says. “We have demonized sugar—rightly so—for causing unneeded insulin spikes,” Crandall says, but “many artificial sweeteners do the exact same thing.” One study found that eating artificial sweeteners may increase cravings—especially for sweet things. This can stymie your weight-loss intentions. Discover how one woman totally kicked her sugar habit by trying the keto diet.
Eat fats with all your meals. Fats are the cornerstone of the ketogenic diet, and will encourage your body to burn fatty ketones for fuel. Typically, calories from fat should comprise 80 – 90% of your meals.[10] (However, you cannot eat unlimited fats on a ketogenic diet; the calories can still add up and cause weight gain.[11]) Examples of fatty foods include:
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