Dr. Campos, it is so discouraging to see that you disparage the ketogenic diet based on your assumption that it is very heavy in poor quality processed meats. No diet that relies on processed foods can be viewed as “healthy”. Become better informed by getting up to speed with what Jeff Volek, RD, PhD, calls a “well-formulated ketogenic diet.” Also, learn more about the potential of the diet to slow cancer progression (my specialty). You owe it to your patients who are depending on you for advice. Present them with facts, not opinions.

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.

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But all those studies were very small, and not all research on the keto diet is as promising. One American Society for Clinical Nutrition study of 20 participants found that those on the diet didn’t lose more weight than those on a non-keto diet. But they did have fouler moods and higher levels of inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of conditions, including heart disease and cancer.

I have also been doing 16:8, but not everyday. If You eat too few calories for too long you may lower your basic metabolic rate which you don’t really want to do. I eat something around 10 or 11 in the morning such as 3 deviled eggs, then a decent size meal at about 12:30 and my last meal at about 6. This seems to work well for me. I also use my fitness pal( free app), which is awesome and tracks all your macro ratios. It is important to keep it as Keto as you can. 70%fat, 5%carb, and 25% protein. I found at first that I just wasn’t eating enough fat, and my protein levels were too high. I think most people run into that same trap at first. Good luck!
“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.”
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.
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.
In conclusion, this study exhaustively assessed body composition changes during the weight reduction process induced by a VLCK diet. This assessment was performed using 3 complementary techniques: DXA, MF-BIA, and ADP. The VLCK diet induced a marked weight loss that was achieved mainly at the expense of total FM, and also visceral fat, with a maximum conservation of muscle mass and muscle strength. Additionally, MF-BIA was demonstrated to be an effective and convenient alternative for measuring body composition in clinical practice due to its minimal burden for the patient, ease of operation, low cost, and high accuracy.

Basically, carbohydrates are the primary source of energy production in body tissues. When the body is deprived of carbohydrates due to reducing intake to less than 50g per day, insulin secretion is significantly reduced and the body enters a catabolic state. Glycogen stores deplete, forcing the body to go through certain metabolic changes. Two metabolic processes come into action when there is low carbohydrate availability in body tissues: gluconeogenesis and ketogenesis.[4][5]
It was recently reported that the consumption of diets with low percentages of carbohydrates over a long period of time (>25 years) are associated with higher mortality [63]. This association was mitigated when the substitutions were plant-based [63]. In the current study, patients were exposed to a low carbohydrate intake during less than 90 days and the source of carbohydrate was from vegetables. Moreover, the strong weight loss induced a decrease in the burden of obesity-related disease [6]. Thus, the strength of the current study is reinforced with the consistence of the results with that of previous research, regardless of the strong dietary energy restrictions induced by a VLCK diet.
“In 2010 I came face-to-face with the compelling, robust evidence for the effectiveness of the low-carb, high-fat diet to prevent and treat serious diseases like diabetes, obesity and heart disease. It contradicted everything I knew as a doctor and scientist about optimal nutrition. I have since aimed to change medical dogma and foster respectful dialogue on evidence-based nutrition, but at a brutal personal and professional cost, even though eventually vindicated. The Noakes Foundation, since 2012, has been promoting unbiased nutritional research into the effects of LCHF on all aspects of human health. The sugar-free train is bound for glory.”
Cyclical ketogenic diet (CKD): If you find it difficult to stick to a very low-carb diet every day, especially for months on end, you might want to consider a carb-cycling diet instead. Carb cycling increases carbohydrate intake (and sometimes calories in general) only at the right time and in the right amounts, usually about 1–2 times per week (such as on weekends).

Children who discontinue the diet after achieving seizure freedom have about a 20% risk of seizures returning. The length of time until recurrence is highly variable, but averages two years. This risk of recurrence compares with 10% for resective surgery (where part of the brain is removed) and 30–50% for anticonvulsant therapy. Of those who have a recurrence, just over half can regain freedom from seizures either with anticonvulsants or by returning to the ketogenic diet. Recurrence is more likely if, despite seizure freedom, an electroencephalogram shows epileptiform spikes, which indicate epileptic activity in the brain but are below the level that will cause a seizure. Recurrence is also likely if an MRI scan shows focal abnormalities (for example, as in children with tuberous sclerosis). Such children may remain on the diet longer than average, and children with tuberous sclerosis who achieve seizure freedom could remain on the ketogenic diet indefinitely.[46]
“I prescribe and monitor low-carbohydrate diets because they are evidence-based and actionable. Diet Doctor provides great resources for my patients, most of whom present with joint and tendon problems, related to excess mechanical load (overweight) and inflammation. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to change their lifestyle at a time when deterioration in health is early and minimal. As one of my patients with diabetes remarked, “At least the turning point is happening because of my sore knee and not a stroke or a heart attack.” I couldn’t have summed up the rewarding nature of this work any better.”
Leftovers will be another thing we will take into consideration. Not only is it easier on you, but why put yourself through the hassle to cook the same food more than once? Breakfast is something I normally do leftover style, where I don’t have to worry about it in the morning and I certainly don’t have to stress about it. Grab some food out the fridge, pre-made for me, and head out the door. It doesn’t get much easier than that, does it?
During the 1920s and 1930s, when the only anticonvulsant drugs were the sedative bromides (discovered 1857) and phenobarbital (1912), the ketogenic diet was widely used and studied. This changed in 1938 when H. Houston Merritt, Jr. and Tracy Putnam discovered phenytoin (Dilantin), and the focus of research shifted to discovering new drugs. With the introduction of sodium valproate in the 1970s, drugs were available to neurologists that were effective across a broad range of epileptic syndromes and seizure types. The use of the ketogenic diet, by this time restricted to difficult cases such as Lennox–Gastaut syndrome, declined further.[10]
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.
When it comes to starting the keto diet (or any diet for that matter), there's one thing all experts agree on. You *must* have a plan. "Never try to wing a keto diet," says Julie Stefanski, R.D.N., C.S.S.D., L.D.N., a dietitian based in York, PA, who specializes in the ketogenic diet. "Set a start date and get prepared by reorganizing your pantry, planning out meal and snack options, and purchasing appropriate foods and dietary supplements," she says. "The biggest reason people have a hard time sticking with keto is that people don't have enough interesting foods to turn to, and high-carb favorites win out over good intention. If you didn't buy foods at the grocery store that fit the guidelines, there won't be an easy option in the fridge when you really need it." (A great place to start is this List of High-Fat Keto Foods Anyone Can Add to Their Diet.)
There are numerous benefits that come with being on keto: from weight loss and increased energy levels to therapeutic medical applications. Most anyone can safely benefit from eating a low-carb, high-fat diet. Below, you’ll find a short list of the benefits you can receive from a ketogenic diet. For a more comprehensive list, you can also read our in-depth article here >
Sharon M. Nickols-Richardson, PhD, RD, , Mary Dean Coleman, PhD, RD, Joanne J. Volpe, Kathy W. Hosig, PhD, MPH, RD, “Perceived Hunger Is Lower and Weight Loss Is Greater in Overweight Premenopausal Women Consuming a Low-Carbohydrate/High-Protein vs High-Carbohydrate/Low-Fat Diet,” The Journal of Pediatrics: Vol 105, Issue 9: 1433–1437; September 2005. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S000282230501151X.
Certain studies suggest that keto diets may “starve” cancer cells. A highly processed, pro-inflammatory, low-nutrient foods can feed cancer cells causing them to proliferate. What’s the connection between high-sugar consumption and cancer? The regular cells found in our bodies are able to use fat for energy, but it’s believed that cancer cells cannot metabolically shift to use fat rather than glucose. (11)
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.
“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.”
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).
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.
“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.”