“I recommend low-carbohydrate, high-fat (ketogenic) diets to almost all my patients to improve their quality of life. The LCHF diet reduces inflammation, promotes weight loss, and improves blood biomarkers without prescription agents. The result is improved sleep, sharper mental clarity, more energy throughout the day, and healthier relationships to food. Most patients suffer “fat phobia” but fat does not make you fat! Sugar does! We teach patients to eat lots of healthy fats and cycle in and out of ketosis. We refer everyone to Diet Doctor as a great resource, especially for the carb contents of various food and drinks.”
The inclusion criteria were age 18 to 65 years, body mass index (BMI) ≥ 30 kg/m2, stable body weight in the previous 3 months, a desire to lose weight, and a history of failed dietary efforts. The main exclusion criteria were thyroid alteration, diabetes mellitus, obesity induced by other endocrine disorders or by drugs, and participation in any active weight-loss program in the previous 3 months. In addition, those patients with previous bariatric surgery, known or suspected abuse of narcotics or alcohol, severe depression or any other psychiatric disease, severe hepatic insufficiency, any type of renal insufficiency or gouts episodes, nephrolithiasis, neoplasia, previous events of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular disease, uncontrolled hypertension, orthostatic hypotension, and hydroelectrolytic or electrocardiographic alterations were excluded. Females who were pregnant, breastfeeding, or intending to become pregnant and those with child-bearing potential and not using adequate contraceptive methods were also excluded. Apart from obesity and metabolic syndrome, participants were generally healthy individuals. Under these conditions, 20 obese patients were included in this study.
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.
“I recommend low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diets to almost all my patients, from the general public to world-class Olympic athletes. A huge variety of benefits can be seen, from improvements in metabolic health and reductions in joint pains to enhanced athletic performance. While a degree of nuance is needed for specific recommendations, based on factors like general health and goals, the general principle is to reduce carbohydrates while ensuring appropriate intake of fat and protein. This addresses the key problem of insulin resistance, which is central to many modern disease states, including cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.”
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 ketogenic diet is the go-to diet for people who are looking to lose weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, lower their risk of metabolic disorders like type-2 diabetes, and even boost brain health (1, 2, 3, 4). But, if you are a beginner, the thought of completely turning your kitchen upside down and training your body to eat in a completely different way may seem overwhelming.
On a ketogenic diet, you’re generally eating a diet that’s high in fat (roughly 70 percent of your total calories come from fat), moderate in protein (about 20 percent of your calories), and low in carbohydrate (about 5 percent of calories). By limiting carbohydrates (to usually less than 45 grams for the average person), your body lacks the glucose (from carbs) that it normally uses for energy, so it eventually switches over to burning fat as its primary fuel source instead; through a metabolic process called ketosis, the liver converts the fat into fragments of fatty acids called ketones, which power the brain and other organs and tissues.
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.
The benefits above are the most common ones. But there are others that are potentially even more surprising and – at least for some people – life changing. Did you know that a keto diet can help treat high blood pressure, may result in less acne, may help control migraine, might help with certain mental health issues and could have a few other potential benefits?
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.
Hey Michael, I would avoid it when just starting off because the carbs can add up fast and mostly of the canned whipped creams are full of additives. Once you’re adapted, I’d recommend making whipped cream from scratch and adding a dash of stevia or other keto-friendly sweetener. It’s super easy and much healthier than the canned versions (also tastes 1000x better!)
While you don’t have to be 100% accurate, you can use calorie counting as a starting point. It’s a way to measure how much energy you are actually taking in, and then adjust it to your needs. Obviously, a faster/slower metabolism, activity levels, endocrine problems, etc. will affect the amount of energy you will be expending, and therefore will affect the number of calories you need to take in.
The concept of a low-carbohydrate diet (LCD) is not new (e.g., the Atkins Diet Revolution was first published in 1972), however, there has been a surge of public interest over the last decade in carbohydrate-restricting diets. One particular type of LCD, the ketogenic diet (KD), has shown promise for its purported ability to aid in weight management. Achieving and maintaining significant weight loss over the long-term remains a very elusive endeavor. Low-carbohydrate diets (LCD) have demonstrated promise in this regard and may hold certain advantages over traditional calorie-restricted dietary strategies.
“After a decade of watching patients with chronic disease get sicker with traditional medical advice, discovering the effectiveness of low-carb was a breath of fresh air! My practice now focuses entirely on patients wishing to follow low-carbohydrate and ketogenic diet treatment for diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and other weight-related concerns. I also use ketogenic diets for the treatment of weight-loss surgery patients who regain weight. Diet Doctor is a terrific resource for patients and for the medical students I teach in my Obesity Medicine clerkship; it has nutritionally and scientifically sound information on ketogenic lifestyles and great recipes.”
Kristin Parker is an American temporarily living in South Korea. Her role with Team Diet Doctor is customer service. If you have a question or a comment on our social media platforms, website or our Facebook group, she will likely be the one to answer you back! Kristin cooks for a family of four, including two hungry teenage sons. Her keto meal plan yields generous servings of substantial, hearty meals that they all like.
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.
The results of the Bland-Altman approach in regard to the FM% are shown in Fig. 4. MF-BIA underestimates the FM% during all visits, although with increasing body fat there is a trend toward better agreement [Fig. 4(A)]. This negative slope was significant in visits C2 (P = 0.015), C3 (P = 0.003), and C4 (P = 0.005). Importantly, MF-BIA had a consistent variability of about 5% in determining FM% when compared with DXA. However, the concordance between DXA and ADP is shown in Fig. 4(B). In visits C1 (P = 0.005), C2 (P = 0.010), and C3 (P = 0.004) significant negative slopes were observed, indicating underestimation of ADP at lower levels of FM%, but ADP seemed to overestimate FM% with increasing body fat. During visit C-4, a similar pattern was observed, although the slope did not reach statistical significance (P = 0.093). During all visits there was a high variability in the FM% determined by ADP, reaching values of up to 20% in comparison with DXA.