Long-term compliance is low and can be a big issue with a ketogenic diet, but this is the case with any lifestyle change.  Even though the ketogenic diet is significantly superior in the induction of weight loss in otherwise healthy patients with obesity and the induced weight loss is rapid, intense, and sustained until at least 2 year, the understanding of the clinical impacts, safety, tolerability, efficacy, duration of treatment, and prognosis after discontinuation of the diet is challenging and requires further studies to understand the disease-specific mechanisms.
Physician assistants (PA) typically obtain medical histories, perform examinations and procedures, order treatments, diagnose diseases, prescribe medication, order and interpret diagnostic tests, refer patients to specialists as required, and first or second-assist in surgery. Their education includes a bachelor’s degree, extensive clinical training from an accredited PA program and they must obtain a license to practice as a physician assistant.
Ketosis was determined by measuring ketone bodies, specifically B-hydroxybutyrate (B-OHB), in capillary blood using a portable meter (GlucoMen LX Sensor, A. Menarini Diagnostics, Neuss, Germany) before measurements of anthropometric parameters. As with anthropometric assessments, all of the determinations of capillary ketonemia were made after an overnight fast of 8 to 10 hours. These measurements were performed daily by each patient during the entire VLCK diet, and the corresponding values were reviewed on the machine’s memory by the research team for managing adherence. Additionally, B-OHB levels were determined at each complete visit by the physician in charge of the patient. The measurements reported as “low value” (≤ 0.2 mmol/L) by the meter were assumed to be zero for purposes of statistical analyses.
A systematic review in 2018 looked at 16 studies on the ketogenic diet in adults. It concluded that the treatment was becoming more popular for that group of patients, that the efficacy in adults was similar to children, the side effects relatively mild. However, many patients gave up with the diet, for various reasons, and the quality of evidence was inferior to studies on children. Health issues include high levels of low-density lipoprotein, high total cholesterol, and weight loss.[24]
Another concern for obese individuals is physical activity and sexual functioning. Relevantly, an increase in physical activity was observed during the intervention. This improvement agrees with the design of the nutritional intervention because the commercial weight-loss program (PNK method) includes lifestyle and behavioral modification support. All patients underwent a structured program of physical exercise with external supervision. According to these results, patients are encouraged to walk and to practice vigorous exercise.
The keto diet is made up of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. This combination enables your body to enter a state of ketosis, where the body switches from burning carbs for fuel, to burning fat for fuel. Fat, protein, and carbohydrates are called macronutrients – “macros” for short. To achieve a keto macro breakdown of 75% fat, 20% protein, and 5% carbs, you first need to know that:
“In my psychiatric practice, the high rate of obesity and metabolic disorders among my patients prompted me to develop an integrative therapeutic response, especially to address frequent patterns of impulsivity/compulsivity, low energy/lethargy, mood instability, mental fog, poor concentration and cognitive deterioration. A real-food, low-carb, healthy-fat, often ketogenic lifestyle, combined with intermittent fasting, stress management, rest, and movement — and appropriate pharmacotherapy as needed — results in improved general health, cognitive function, mood management, and quality of life. Diet Doctor, especially the new Spanish site, is a great tool for my patients.”
In conclusion, to the best of our knowledge, this is the first study that exhaustively assessed food and alcohol cravings and changes in well-being determinants, such as sexual function, physical activity, and sleep abnormalities and QoL, during the weight-reduction process induced by a VLCK diet. The severe weight loss induced by the VLCK diet-PNK method was concomitant with a decrease in food and alcohol cravings, increases in physical activity, reduction of sleep abnormalities, and improvement in sexual functioning. Overall, these psychobiological parameters were translated to an enhancement in general QoL for the dieters. Relevantly, this is the first study able to distinguish the effect of ketosis per se independently of the weight-loss magnitude because the strongest effect was evidenced at highly ketosis-mild weight reduction, rather than at nonketosis-strong (mean 20 kg) weight reduction. Therefore, the results of this study evidenced that the rapid and sustained weight and FM loss induced by VLCK-diet are associated with good food control and improvements in the psychological well-being parameters in obese subjects that could be reinforced by the effect of ketosis. This effect could contribute to long-term success of this therapy and further reinforce the suitability of a VLCK-diet as a viable and valuable treatment option for obesity.
The primary outcome, hemoglobin A1c, decreased from 7.5 ± 1.4% at baseline to 6.3 ± 1.0% at week 16 (p < 0.001), a 1.2% absolute decrease and a 16% relative decrease (Table ​(Table4).4). All but two participants (n = 19 or 90%) had a decrease in hemoglobin A1c (Figure ​(Figure1).1). The absolute decrease in hemoglobin A1c was at least 1.0% in 11 (52%) participants. The relative decrease in hemoglobin A1c from baseline was greater than 10% in 14 (67%) participants, and greater than 20% in 6 (29%) participants. In regression analyses, the change in hemoglobin A1c was not predicted by the change in body weight, waist circumference, or percent body fat at 16 weeks (all p > 0.05).
Although these are just some studies on the low carb high fat and ketogenic diets, it is also important to mention there are thousands of published studies on this topic and many, many more are still in progress and unpublished. With time and as technology advances, we can find more proofs that the Ketogenic Diet’s benefits will be further cemented.
Increases in cholesterol levels need discussion too. We do see temporary increases in cholesterol levels often as individuals transition onto a ketogenic diet. However, when you examine lipid particle size (a more important way to look at the cardiovascular risks), the risk pattern doesn’t seem to increase with a ketogenic diet. Harvard Health has written about lipid particle size here before: http://www.health.harvard.edu/womens-health/should-you-seek-advanced-cholesterol-testing-
“For five years now, I’ve been changing my life and the life of my patients in a rural area of Delaware using the LCHF diet with intermittent fasting. My patients have been achieving not only their weight loss goals, but improving their medical conditions associated with obesity. It is very satisfying to explain the science behind the diet and see their faces light up at the possibility of finally improving their health and reducing their medications and medical costs. Diet Doctor, all this time, has been a valued resource with easy to navigate content and great science.”
Because visceral fat is physiologically and clinically more relevant than total FM, special emphasis was placed on its analysis. The VLCK diet led to a significant reduction in visceral fat that can be seen in assessment by either new DXA software (−1.2 ± 0.7 kg) or by MF-BIA [−60.8 ± 20.7 cm2; Fig. 2(B) and 2(C)]. Therefore, when evaluated by different methods, the VLCK diet induced a significant body weight reduction by targeting total FM and visceral FM [Fig. 2(A–C)].
I actually went on a ketogenic diet last year to see if it would help my migraines. I have a history of chronic migraines which would usually last 3 days, sometimes longer. Triptans help a lot but I don’t like having to take them. I stayed in ketosis for about 8 months and experienced a significant reduction in migraines, from feeling some type of headache (mild o r severe) almost everyday to 1 or 2x per month while in ketosis. Although I’m very healthy otherwise, I do think my migraines may have something to do with blood sugar fluctuations (despite previously eating a whole foods diet and no refined carbs), and keto totally stabilized this. I eventually came off of Keto because I’m not really a meat lover. When I came off, but remained low carb, my migraines stayed under control for the most part. When I increase carbs, they do return.

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.
“I follow and recommend a low-carb or keto lifestyle, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients whether or not they have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I do this because of the health benefits to anyone who follows them, but also because of the science behind them and the impressive clinical results I have seen in my patients. I have recommended the Diet Doctor website for the past 5-6 years as a first-stop to find completely trustworthy information, delicious recipes, great visuals and excellent videos.”
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