Since dehydration is a contributor to headaches, drink plenty of water when following a low-calorie, weight-loss diet -- especially if you exercise regularly. Drinking water, especially before meals, also helps fill you up and makes it easier to stick with a lower daily calorie allotment. The Institute of Medicine reports that adequate intake levels are about 16 cups of water daily for men and 11 cups a day for women. These amounts include water in other beverages and foods. The University of Rochester Medical Center reports that about 80 percent of your water intake comes from water and beverages, and 20 percent generally comes from food.

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.

Katherine Arvesen, RDN, who in private practice in Plano, Texas, also notes that the study was not randomized and controlled, which is the gold standard for medical research to minimize error and bias. In this study, the patients were their own controls, meaning their results were compared with their own baseline (starting) measurements, not with the results of a control group.


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According to one hypothesis, low-carb diets have a distinct “metabolic advantage” over diets with higher carbohydrate content when the amount of calories consumed are the same.3 This metabolic advantage is essentially an increase in the expenditure of energy (calories) on the low-carb diet. Factors that may account for this higher rate of calorie burning include:


You're using it for a particular, short-term period.The meal substitute diet can function so quick and so well that you might decide to keep on following it for a longer while. You've acquired the flavor and habit of consuming the yummy meal substitute products that you think you'll stick to the program for a vague period. However, you need to understand that enduring high-calorie deficit in your system may not be good on an extended basis. Take advantage of the diet only as a boost to significant weight reduction or to be a procedure for a huge occasion arriving soon or under strict doctors monitoring.
My husband is doing this diet and I was making him bean soup with sausage for dinner, but I’m reading beans are a food to avoid, even being a high fiber food is that really true? Beans were always a good I was encouraged to eat in many other diets. I’m new to keto and don’t want to hinder his process. Would appreciate your advice because I’ve already got the beans cooking. Oh they are the dry beans, not canned.
I also asked a friend to join me as an accountability partner. She had tried the keto diet before with good success, so having a guide for my myriad questions was a big help. It was also nice to have someone to message at 10 p.m. when I really wanted a cookie so she could commiserate with me. (We agreed the cookie would be delicious, and then ate a cheese stick.)
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.
I’m 50 and have been working out with weights and cardio for over 30 years, 6-7 days per week. I have always had controlled weight in the 180’s for 5′ 9″ due to strength training. I went on a “version” of the Keto diet—per day goals: 35 net carbs/85-95 grams protein/35-40 grams fat. I didn’t want to go all-in with high fats. I weighed 188 at the start and in 6 months dropped 26 lbs to 162, and bodyfat at 9%. My cholesterol levels have mostly been 220 with 50-75 HDL.
Instead of making your own cereal, you can always have a low-carb alternative. Try out chia seed pudding, flax granola sprinkled into coconut or almond milk, salted caramel pork rind cereal, or just mix together toasted nuts that are crushed and crispy. It’s quite easy to find a crunchy alternative to cereal (or just a low-carb replacement in general) so keep on the lookout and experiment for yourself to see which you like best.
While body weight decreased significantly (-8.5 kg) in these 21 diabetic participants, the mean weight loss was less compared with what we observed in the LCKD participants of an earlier trial (-12.0 kg) [18]. Given that the diabetic participants had a higher baseline mean weight than the LCKD participants of our previous trial (131 kg vs. 97 kg), this translates into an even more dramatic disparity in percent change in body weight (-6.6% vs. -12.9%). This lesser weight loss might result from several factors. First, in the current study, most of the participants were taking insulin and/or oral hypoglycemic agents that are known to induce weight gain[20,21] Second, these same agents, particularly insulin, inhibit ketosis, which is strived for in the earliest phases of the LCKD; while it remains unclear whether ketones actually play a role in weight loss on the LCKD, previous research in non-diabetic patients has shown a positive correlation between level of ketonuria and weight loss success [22]. Lastly, compared with our previous study the participants in the current study had more comorbid illness, lower socioeconomic status, and a shorter duration of follow-up (16 weeks versus 24 weeks), all of which are associated with reduced success on any weight loss program [23].
Previous studies have shown that ketogenic diets preferably reduce the total FM in obese patients (10–13). However, the precise distribution of these losses has not been determined. In this study we confirmed that the diet reduces total FM and specifically visceral adipose tissue, which has a greater impact in predicting cardiometabolic complications associated with obesity than does the total volume of body adiposity (2, 31).
Moreover, two recent meta-analyses sought to investigate the effect of LCD on weight loss and cardiovascular disease risk. Sackner-Bernstein et al. (19) compared LCD to LF, among overweight and obese men and women. The authors found a significantly greater effect of weight loss in the LCD vs. the LF diets (-8.2 kg vs. -5.9 kg). The impact of diet on cardiovascular risk factors was split, with LCD resulting in significantly greater improvements in HDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while the LF resulted in significantly greater improvements in LDL and total cholesterol. From this the authors concluded that LCD were a viable alternative to LF diets and recommended “dietary recommendations for weight loss should be revisited to consider this additional evidence of the benefits of [low] CHO diets.” A significant limitation of this meta-analysis, however, was the authors’ definition of low-carbohydrate as a daily CHO consumption less than 120 grams. This value, while well below the standard recommendation of daily CHO consumption, still far exceeds the strict recommendation of KD (≤50 g/day), therefore the results of this meta-analysis must be approached with caution.
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.[9] Potential favorable changes in triglyceride and HDL cholesterol values should be weighed against potential unfavorable changes in LDL and total cholesterol values.[31]
For patients who benefit, half achieve a seizure reduction within five days (if the diet starts with an initial fast of one to two days), three-quarters achieve a reduction within two weeks, and 90% achieve a reduction within 23 days. If the diet does not begin with a fast, the time for half of the patients to achieve an improvement is longer (two weeks), but the long-term seizure reduction rates are unaffected.[44] Parents are encouraged to persist with the diet for at least three months before any final consideration is made regarding efficacy.[9]
An extreme form of low-carbohydrate diet – the ketogenic diet – is established as a medical diet for treating epilepsy.[14] Through celebrity endorsement it has become a popular weight-loss fad diet, but there is no evidence of any distinctive benefit for this purpose, and it had a number of side effects.[14] The British Dietetic Association named it one of the "top 5 worst celeb diets to avoid in 2018".[14]
A review of 13 randomized controlled trials (1,415 patients) found that people on the ketogenic diet lost significantly more weight than people on low-fat diets. They also kept the weight off for 12 months or more.9 While the diets in these studies contained no more than 50 grams of carbohydrate (a typical keto diet plan), low-carb diets with more generous amounts of carbohydrate (≥ 120 gm/day) showed similar results (more weight loss with low-carb than low-fat) in a review of 17 randomized controlled trials.10 More recently, type 2 diabetics lost 12% of their body weight after one year in diet-induced ketosis.11
Physicians of ancient Greece treated diseases, including epilepsy, by altering their patients' diet. An early treatise in the Hippocratic Corpus, On the Sacred Disease, covers the disease; it dates from c. 400 BC. Its author argued against the prevailing view that epilepsy was supernatural in origin and cure, and proposed that dietary therapy had a rational and physical basis.[Note 3] In the same collection, the author of Epidemics describes the case of a man whose epilepsy is cured as quickly as it had appeared, through complete abstinence of food and drink.[Note 4] The royal physician Erasistratus declared, "One inclining to epilepsy should be made to fast without mercy and be put on short rations."[Note 5] Galen believed an "attenuating diet"[Note 6] might afford a cure in mild cases and be helpful in others.[11]
Determining the diet that best suits you is a very individual choice, so it's hard to make a general recommendation for one type of diet. You can lose weight through a variety of eating styles, whether you choose a low-carb, low-fat, keto or Mediterranean diet, or another one. But in general, eating lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains is going to help you lose weight and achieve a healthy lifestyle.
One downside to a ketogenic diet for weight loss is the difficulty maintaining it. “Studies show that weight loss results from being on a low-carb diet for more than 12 months tend to be the same as being on a normal, healthy diet,” says Mattinson. While you may be eating more satiating fats (like peanut butter, regular butter, or avocado), you’re also way more limited in what’s allowed on the diet, which can make everyday situations, like eating dinner with family or going out with friends, far more difficult. Because people often find it tough to sustain, it’s easy to rely on it as a short-term diet rather than a long-term lifestyle.
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.
Research into the effectiveness of low-carbohydrate, high fat (LCHF) diets for preventing weight gain and diabetes has produced conflicting results, with some suggestion that diet suitability is not generalizable, but specific to individuals.[11] Overall, for prevention, there is no good evidence that LCHF diets offer a superior diet choice to a more conventional healthy diet, as recommended by many health authorities, in which carbohydrate typically accounts for more than 40% of calories consumed.[11]
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.
Although the patients underwent a total of 10 visits, the complete body composition analyses were synchronized with the ketone levels in 4 visits (Table 1; Fig. 1). Visit C-1 was the baseline visit, before starting the diet, with no ketosis (0.0 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and a body weight of 95.9 ± 16.3 kg. Visit C-2 was at the time of maximum level of ketosis (1.0 ± 0.6 mmol/L) with a body weight of 84.2 ± 18.0 kg. At visit C-3 (after 89.7 ± 19.1 days of VLCK), patients began the return to a normal diet and showed a reduction in ketone levels (0.7 ± 0.5 mmol/L) and a body weight of 76.6 ± 11.1 kg. Finally, at visit C-4, the patients were out of ketosis (0.2 ± 0.1 mmol/L) and showed a body weight of 75.1 ± 11.8 kg. All weights were statistically different from baseline levels (P < 0.05; Table 1; Fig. 1).

“As a family physician, I have been recommending a low carbohydrate diet to all my patients. Truthfully, I cannot recommend any other diet with a clear conscience. I discovered the scientific benefits of a low-carb diet from Diet Doctor in 2011 when I was looking for new and better ways to manage my patients with diabetes, and I have never looked back since. My patients have benefited immensely from this diet, and it’s the best way to manage obesity, PCOS, metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and diabetes. To me, Diet Doctor is the one-stop website for everything low-carb.”

Epilepsy is one of the most common neurological disorders after stroke,[7] and affects around 50 million people worldwide.[8] It is diagnosed in a person having recurrent, unprovoked seizures. These occur when cortical neurons fire excessively, hypersynchronously, or both, leading to temporary disruption of normal brain function. This might affect, for example, the muscles, the senses, consciousness, or a combination. A seizure can be focal (confined to one part of the brain) or generalised (spread widely throughout the brain and leading to a loss of consciousness). Epilepsy can occur for a variety of reasons; some forms have been classified into epileptic syndromes, most of which begin in childhood. Epilepsy is considered refractory (not yielding to treatment) when two or three anticonvulsant drugs have failed to control it. About 60% of patients achieve control of their epilepsy with the first drug they use, whereas around 30% do not achieve control with drugs. When drugs fail, other options include epilepsy surgery, vagus nerve stimulation, and the ketogenic diet.[7]
So rather than giving one-size-fits-all dietary advice or weaponizing the word “balanced” it might be better if the medical community suggested that there are Individual differences that need to be considered. This might also help those lay folk who have had success with one dietary lifestyle or another also realize that what’s valid for them may not be good advice for others.
Ariel Warren is a Registered Dietitian, Diabetes Educator, graduate from Brigham Young, and was diagnosed with Type 1 at the age of 4 years old. Ariel understands diabetes and enjoys working with clients to improve their blood sugar management, healthy eating, weight loss, fitness, and pregnancy. For coaching from a T1D Dietitian, you can contact Ariel directly, through her website: arielwarren.com.

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[*][*].

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.
Another difference between older and newer studies is that the type of patients treated with the ketogenic diet has changed over time. When first developed and used, the ketogenic diet was not a treatment of last resort; in contrast, the children in modern studies have already tried and failed a number of anticonvulsant drugs, so may be assumed to have more difficult-to-treat epilepsy. Early and modern studies also differ because the treatment protocol has changed. In older protocols, the diet was initiated with a prolonged fast, designed to lose 5–10% body weight, and heavily restricted the calorie intake. Concerns over child health and growth led to a relaxation of the diet's restrictions.[19] Fluid restriction was once a feature of the diet, but this led to increased risk of constipation and kidney stones, and is no longer considered beneficial.[18]
At the core of the classic keto diet is severely restricting intake of all or most foods with sugar and starch (carbohydrates). These foods are broken down into sugar (insulin and glucose) in our blood once we eat them, and if these levels become too high, extra calories are much more easily stored as body fat and results in unwanted weight gain. However, when glucose levels are cut off due to low-carb intake, the body starts to burn fat instead and produces ketones that can be measured in the blood (using urine strips, for example).
Diet is the most important lifestyle factor for weight loss. In order to effect significant loss of weight it is necessary to create a consistent caloric deficit. This has the rather obvious side effect of leaving individuals feeling hungry and as though they are in a constant state of deprivation. Dieting is based upon this basic concept, which is the most likely reason why dieting is very likely to fail in the long-term. The ketogenic diet, while controversial and a highly polarizing subject, has demonstrated promise as an alternative dietary strategy for weight management. The KD may hold an advantage over traditional calorie-restricted diets, in that nutritional ketosis may enhance appetite control, and subsequently improve dietary adherence and long-term success. Nevertheless, the KD should be approached with caution, as there are both short- and long-term potential negative side effects. More research into this unique dietary strategy is warranted to fully investigate all potentially positive and negative aspects.
If you talk to keto aficionados, you’ll find many save leftovers from dinner for the next day’s lunch. Cook once, eat twice—your keto diet menu for lunch is solved. If you don’t like leftovers or if you’re craving something different for lunch, the mid-day meal can be as simple as a scoop of chicken salad. Or, hit the salad bar at a local grocery store and top a bowl of greens with some good-fat goodies. You can also try one of these simple keto lunches:
Ketones are a very effective fuel for the brain—often a more efficient fuel than glucose. Your body is like a hybrid car when it comes to fuel. When you run out of carbohydrates to burn for fuel—say you’re fasting before a surgery or a religious holiday—your body seeks an alternative way to get more fuel. (If your body didn’t do this, you would die after a short fast.) So the body kicks into burning fat, which is the metabolic state of ketosis, or “keto.” Technically, your liver takes long-chain and medium-chain fatty acids from your fat tissue, and produces a major ketone called beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB). BHB provides more energy per unit oxygen used than glucose, which benefits the brain.
What a great post. I thought i would add about the selection of food you eat on keto and that everyone is different. Some food gives you energy and some doesnt, this varies person to person. I started and quit keto 3 times before i managed to find my balance. The first few times it made be poorly, from the shock of diet change. However, you can wean yourself into the diet which i did the last time when i had the most success.

Carrying out a very low-calorie diet plan is one of the quickest and best methods to lose sizable weight. Its principle is founded on decades-long research that proves how a diet that lessens or removes carbohydrates, prioritizes lean proteins and leafy vegetables and allows a tiny amount of good fat can change the way the body's energy system operates. The diet causes ketosis, from where the body is driven by ketones instead of glucose. Through following a menu of a cautious selection of recommended food items, a very low-calorie diet kills food cravings and enables you to feel sufficiently full without excessive food intake.
Great point – the literature shows that ketogenic macro splits are very protein sparing for weight loss and the body will typically burn fat and glucose and spare lean mass. Dr. Jason Fung makes the analogy that it would be like stacking firewood for the winter and then when winter hits, deciding not to use the firewood and instead use the living room couch!
“When the low-fat dietary advice I had been preaching for decades didn’t work for me in middle age, I changed to low-carb. After mentorship from Dr. Eric Westman, I introduced low-carb to my patients with astonishing results reversing diseases I had only been “managing”. In fact, more than 90% of patients who come to me on insulin are able to come off. I run a multidisciplinary medical weight loss clinic helping to restore health. This has brought the joy back into medicine for me. Diet Doctor has been an amazing resource to help me and my patients in this journey.”
After reading the FAQ (which is really great, btw), one of the things I'm wondering about is whether the low calorie approach works well in conjunction with Keto. I like the general idea, but with my weight, I'm thinking I would like to try to keep my overall calorie intake low, in addition to cutting carbs, refined sugars, etc. out of my diet. It doesn't seem to be expressly forbidden, but it doesn't seem to be what many people do, based on what i've read so far. Basically, I think in addition to this approach to nutrition, I'd also like to keep my calorie deficient high. I think both would go a long way towards helping me be healthier.
While there are delicious-looking ketogenic recipes and meal plans online, experts like Weaver warn that you’ll want to avoid relying too much on artificial sweeteners and unhealthy foods for your keto diet menu. Make sure your grocery list includes healthy fats like avocados, coconut oil, olive oil. This is what really happens to your body on the keto diet.
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.
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