Note: Are you a vegetarian or vegan and want to go on a ketogenic diet? It’s still possible! Just keep in mind that the dietary restrictions can sometimes be a little bit intense. Make sure to plan ahead and prepare to aid your success. To help out, we’ve published articles (with 7 day meal plans included) for both the vegetarian ketogenic diet and the vegan ketogenic diet.
That first drop might be mostly water weight. But research suggests that the keto diet is good for fat loss, too. An Italian study of nearly 20,000 obese adults found that participants who ate keto lost around 12 pounds in 25 days. However, there aren’t many studies looking at whether the pounds will stay off long-term, researchers note. Most people find it tough to stick with such a strict eating plan, and if you veer off your diet, the pounds can easily pile back on.
Low-carbohydrate diet advocates including Gary Taubes and David Ludwig have proposed a "carbohydrate-insulin hypothesis" in which carbohydrate is said to be uniquely fattening because it raises insulin levels and so causes fat to accumulate unduly.[8][28] The hypothesis appears to run counter to known human biology whereby there is no good evidence of any such association between the actions of insulin and fat accumulation and obesity.[6] The hypothesis predicted that low-carbohydrate dieting would offer a "metabolic advantage" of increased energy expenditure equivalent to 400-600 kcal/day, in accord with the promise of the Atkin's diet: a "high calorie way to stay thin forever".[8]
Hi Sylvie, thanks for the positive review! To answer your question about spaghetti squash – it could quite frankly go either way. It has about 7g total carbs per serving (1 cup) and 5.5 net carbs which could be considered a bit high for keto but still on the moderate/low range compared to all the other starchy veggies out there. I would just be mindful of this and consume in moderation 🙂
It's not the easiest plan to follow, but the theory of ketosis as a possible prevention against disease is gaining attention from cancer specialists. Tumor immunologist Dr. Patrick Hwu, one of the leading cancer specialists in the U.S., has followed the keto diet for four years, although he prefers to call it the fat-burning metabolism diet, or fat-burning diet. More research is needed to prove its benefits, but Hwu, the head of cancer medicine at MD Anderson in Houston, believes in it after seeing improvements in his own health.

“I started a low-carb, high-fat diet for myself in an attempt to treat my own health problems. Since then, I have seen significant health benefits not only in myself but also in many of my patients using a LCHF/ketogenic approach. Diet Doctor gives a simple but very effective evidence-based resource that I confidently recommend to all my patients. And the recipes are great!”
The ketogenic diet is not a benign, holistic, or natural treatment for epilepsy; as with any serious medical therapy, complications may result.[28] These are generally less severe and less frequent than with anticonvulsant medication or surgery.[28] Common but easily treatable short-term side effects include constipation, low-grade acidosis, and hypoglycaemia if an initial fast is undertaken. Raised levels of lipids in the blood affect up to 60% of children[38] and cholesterol levels may increase by around 30%.[28] This can be treated by changes to the fat content of the diet, such as from saturated fats towards polyunsaturated fats, and if persistent, by lowering the ketogenic ratio.[38] Supplements are necessary to counter the dietary deficiency of many micronutrients.[18]
Because it lacks carbohydrates, a ketogenic diet is rich in proteins and fats. It typically includes plenty of meats, eggs, processed meats, sausages, cheeses, fish, nuts, butter, oils, seeds, and fibrous vegetables. Because it is so restrictive, it is really hard to follow over the long run. Carbohydrates normally account for at least 50% of the typical American diet. One of the main criticisms of this diet is that many people tend to eat too much protein and poor-quality fats from processed foods, with very few fruits and vegetables. Patients with kidney disease need to be cautious because this diet could worsen their condition. Additionally, some patients may feel a little tired in the beginning, while some may have bad breath, nausea, vomiting, constipation, and sleep problems.
The most recent keto meal plan to hit the IBIH family is the SCKC or Squeaky Clean Keto Challenge!  Highly effective, but more restrictive than most of my keto meal plans, this SCKC plan contains no dairy, nuts, sweeteners, alcohol, grains, or legumes.  Perfect for people suffering with inflammation, slow losers, or people with a lot of food intolerances, this Squeaky Clean Keto 30 day challenge (with 4 weeks of menu plans) has been taking the internet by storm!

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.
The popular belief that high-fat diets cause obesity and several other diseases such as coronary heart disease, diabetes, and cancer has not been observed in recent epidemiological studies. Studies carried out in animals that were fed high-fat diets did not show a specific causal relationship between dietary fat and obesity. On the contrary, very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat diets such as the ketogenic diet have shown to beneficial to weight loss.
Since this is my full-time job, donations really help me keep afloat and allow me to post as much to the website as I do. I really appreciate any donation you want to give, but you can change the price yourself. I’ve added in $15 as the suggested price. I think that’s a very fair price considering other websites are charging in the hundreds of dollars, and I’ve seen what they are like on the inside.
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.
Not surprisingly, he immediately and strongly advised that I abandon the keto lifestyle in favor of the Mediterranean diet. I was incredibly disappointed, given the ease with which I had lost weight, though I understood his position and followed his counsel. In the past several weeks, I have gained some weight back, though certainly not all, and generally feel unhappy about the direction I seem to be headed. I have not had cholesterol levels checked again. I very much want to return to the keto lifestyle I was following, but I respect my provider and don’t want to make decisions that might lead me to poorer health down the road.
Keep low-carb, high-fat dipping sauces, such as salad dressings and flavored mayonnaise, handy when you’re eating. They’re an easy way to boost your total fat—the second most important nutrient to track after net carb totals—and they add flavor and creamy satisfaction to many proteins and dinners, from grilled pork chops to lamb burgers. Now that you’re an expert on how to make the perfect keto diet menu, check out these unexpected health benefits of the keto diet.
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.
“As a pediatrician practicing for the past 24 years, I spend most of my clinical time caring for children with chronic behavioral, developmental, psychological or metabolic conditions (ADHD, depression, anxiety, OCD, Tourette’s Syndrome, autism, autoimmune disease, obesity, NAFLD, etc.). A well-planned, low-carbohydrate (and in many cases ketogenic) nutrition plan is a very powerful tool that I use with my patients to address both physical and mental health. I so appreciate Diet Doctor and reference it frequently for my patients as the best resource for this topic. This site is commercial free, well-supported, referenced and frequently updated.”
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.
Keto can promote fat loss—in the right person. For people who are sugar burners and can’t kick their sugar cravings, keto can be very helpful, because the increased fat is satisfying and curbs sugar cravings, and people eat less overall compared to their baseline diet. So, I occasionally prescribe it for weight (fat) loss, and for help with specific hormone imbalances involving insulin and stubborn fat gain because it improves insulin sensitivity. This includes patients struggling with: obesity, weight-loss resistance (assuming the thyroid is healthy), and PCOS with insulin resistance and weight gain.
Unfortunately, there’s no long-term data on ketogenic diets versus other diets. In a 2015 Italian study, those on a ketosis diet lost 26 pounds in three months. About half of the participants stayed on the diet for a year but lost little additional weight in the next nine months. People in a 2014 Spanish study who followed a very-low-calorie ketogenic diet lost an average of 44 pounds in a year—but a third of them dropped out, possibly because it was too hard to maintain.

“I discuss nutrition with all my patients as I believe lifestyle choices have an important impact on both physical and mental health. I recommend a simple whole-foods, low-carbohydrate diet, intermittent fasting or both, to many of my patients. I use the Diet Doctor website myself as I enjoy the ad-free, simple, but very comprehensive approach to low-carb eating and I recommend it to my patients as well as to my colleagues, friends and family.”
Also, consider supplementing with the amino acid leucine, as it can be broken down directly into acetyl-CoA, making it one of the most important ketogenic amino acids in the body. While most other amino acids are converted into glucose, the acetyl-CoA formed from leucine can be used to make ketone bodies. It’s also present in keto friendly foods like eggs and cottage cheese.
Cholesterol serves a number of important roles in the body. First of all, cholesterol is a critical structural element in certain tissues such as our brain and nervous system. In fact, it is estimated that around 25% of our cholesterol can be found in the brain. Just to highlight our failed fat philosophy over the years, higher saturated fat intake and high cholesterol levels are associated with better mental function in old age (1)! 

I understand your point, and thanks for the reply. I suppose I'm wondering this because when I go through foods (meats in particular, it seems) in the database on MFP, the keto-friendly foods seem to be high in calories. So, I'm wondering if it will be difficult to keep a calorie ceiling of around 1200-1500 per day. My guess would be I'll have to emphasize vegetables moreso than meat in my diet to maintain that level.
To drill down further, there are some genetic enzyme defects that cause problems with ketosis. Here are a few of note: carnitine deficiency (primary), carnitine palmitoyltransferase (CPT) I or II deficiency, carnitine translocase deficiency, beta-oxidation defects—mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA synthase (mHMGS) deficiency, medium-chain acyl dehydrogenase deficiency (MCAD).
When you’re on keto, you’re less hungry. Ketones help control hormones that influence appetite.[2] They suppress ghrelin, your “hunger hormone,” and at the same time they boost cholecystokinin (CCK) — the hormone that keeps you feeling full.[3] You won’t want to snack as regularly, making it easier to go longer without food. Your body will then reach into its fat stores for energy. The result? More weight loss. Learn more here about how the keto diet suppresses appetite.
The nutritional intervention was based on a commercial weight-loss program (PNK method®), as was described elsewhere [4]. Briefly, the intervention included an evaluation by the specialist physician conducting the study, an assessment by an expert dietician, and exercise recommendations. This method is based on high-biological-value protein preparations obtained from cow’s milk, soy, avian eggs, green peas, and cereals. Each protein preparation contained 15 g protein, 4 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, and 50 mg docohexaenoic acid and provided 90–100 kcal.
Looking for that hearty crunch that’s packed full of flavor? Look no more. Instead of cracking open a box of Ritz or Cheez-Its, go ahead and make your own! You can make crackers from anything including flaxseed meal (featured in The RULED Book), chia seeds, or even almond flour to make your own homemade crunchy snacks with a delicious flavor of your own.
“I prescribe ketogenic whole-foods diets because they are powerful metabolic interventions with the potential to address root causes of psychiatric disorders, including inflammation, oxidation, and insulin resistance. I enthusiastically recommend the Diet Doctor website to all my patients because it is the most comprehensive resource for low-carb news, advice, science, inspiration and support in the world. The information there is trustworthy, easy to understand, available in multiple formats and languages, and funded entirely by the people.”
The beauty of The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet is that it's completely opposite of the majority of "lose-weight quick" weight loss scams. The 3-Week Ketogenic Diet focuses on FAT LOSS, not weight loss (the difference is explained in the Program Guide). You'll be eating anti-inflammatory foods that promote a healthy, a fast metabolism, and stimulates fat-burning hormones. You'll lose a lot of weight and inches in a short period of time and this time...you'll keep it off.
“I discovered the low-carb, ketogenic diet some four years ago and saw huge improvements in my own health. After establishing that it is based on sound scientific principles I felt compelled to offer it to my patients. We recommend the Diet Doctor website as it offers an unbiased, contemporary source of reliable low-carb ketogenic advice. It is easy to use and you can rely on its integrity.”
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