These are all keto related questions that a person looking into the ketogenic diet for the first time will have, and I’ve put together a comprehensive list of answers to these questions and more in my 3 Day Keto Kickstart Plan & Keto frequently asked questions linked to below.  If you’re new to keto I recommend starting there, and if you use that Keto Kickstart meal plan as written, I am confident that you will get into ketosis and be losing weight within 3 days of starting.  I’m excited for you!!!!
First, I want to thank you for all of your dedication and work in providing this site. The difficulty of maintaining a healthy weight is a big problem for so many people. My personal question & issue in staying on Keto is my craving for fresh fruit. This a.m I had a large fresh peach along with my “Bullet Proof” coffee. Have I now sabotaged today’s Keto eating?
More Sustained Energy: 90-120 minutes after you eat carbohydrates, your body doesn’t have readily available energy produced from the mitochondria in your cells, so you start “crashing” or lowering your energy. When you are in ketosis, your body can run off your body fat, which is an essentially limitless source of fuel. This prevents any type of crash.
The ketogenic diet is calculated by a dietitian for each child. Age, weight, activity levels, culture, and food preferences all affect the meal plan. First, the energy requirements are set at 80–90% of the recommended daily amounts (RDA) for the child's age (the high-fat diet requires less energy to process than a typical high-carbohydrate diet). Highly active children or those with muscle spasticity require more food energy than this; immobile children require less. The ketogenic ratio of the diet compares the weight of fat to the combined weight of carbohydrate and protein. This is typically 4:1, but children who are younger than 18 months, older than 12 years, or who are obese may be started on a 3:1 ratio. Fat is energy-rich, with 9 kcal/g (38 kJ/g) compared to 4 kcal/g (17 kJ/g) for carbohydrate or protein, so portions on the ketogenic diet are smaller than normal. The quantity of fat in the diet can be calculated from the overall energy requirements and the chosen ketogenic ratio. Next, the protein levels are set to allow for growth and body maintenance, and are around 1 g protein for each kg of body weight. Lastly, the amount of carbohydrate is set according to what allowance is left while maintaining the chosen ratio. Any carbohydrate in medications or supplements must be subtracted from this allowance. The total daily amount of fat, protein, and carbohydrate is then evenly divided across the meals.[37]
Yancy WS Jr, Westman EC, McDuffie JR, Grambow SC, Jeffreys AS, Bolton J, Chalecki A, Oddone EZ, “A randomized trial of a low-carbohydrate diet vs orlistat plus a lowfat diet for weight loss,” Arch Intern Med. 2010 Jan 25;170(2):136-45. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20101008?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=2.
The key to hitting my number was to plan, plan, plan. I worked out all three meals, down to the condiments, plus snacks on the weekends. If I knew what I was having and what I was "allowed" to have while staying under my carb goal, I found managing the infrequent cravings and hunger pangs easier. I can't stress enough the importance of planning for a keto diet.
Once your body adapts to using fat for fuel (can take anywhere from a couple of weeks to over a month) you'll find your apetite changes and it's very easy to eat very low calorie - you won't feel hungry as often and you'll have an easier time recognizing when you should stop eating. A lot of people on keto naturally fall in to some sort of intermittent fasting (eating only 1, 4, 6 or 8 hours of the day and fasting the rest) because they just aren't hungry.
Beta-hydroxybutyrate (BHB) – Not technically a ketone but a molecule. Its essential role in the ketogenic diet makes it count as the important ketone body. BHB is synthesized by your liver from acetoacetate. BHB is important because it can freely float throughout your body in your blood, crossing many tissues where other molecules can’t. It enters the mitochondria and gets turned into ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the energy currency of your cells. BHB = ATP = energy!
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.
It’s also currently as trendy to the fitness world as kale and açaí are to the pseudo-hipsters who wear beanies, even in the dead-heat of summer. If you haven’t tried keto on for size, maybe give it a go (unless you’re a complete and utter carb bitch, and cramming yourself full of bagels and pancakes just makes your abs really pop - in which case, the rest of us hate you on the inside. Just a little.)
A study with an intent-to-treat prospective design was published in 1998 by a team from the Johns Hopkins Hospital[20] and followed-up by a report published in 2001.[21] As with most studies of the ketogenic diet, no control group (patients who did not receive the treatment) was used. The study enrolled 150 children. After three months, 83% of them were still on the diet, 26% had experienced a good reduction in seizures, 31% had had an excellent reduction, and 3% were seizure-free.[Note 7] At 12 months, 55% were still on the diet, 23% had a good response, 20% had an excellent response, and 7% were seizure-free. Those who had discontinued the diet by this stage did so because it was ineffective, too restrictive, or due to illness, and most of those who remained were benefiting from it. The percentage of those still on the diet at two, three, and four years was 39%, 20%, and 12%, respectively. During this period, the most common reason for discontinuing the diet was because the children had become seizure-free or significantly better. At four years, 16% of the original 150 children had a good reduction in seizure frequency, 14% had an excellent reduction, and 13% were seizure-free, though these figures include many who were no longer on the diet. Those remaining on the diet after this duration were typically not seizure-free, but had had an excellent response.[21][22]
The classic ketogenic diet is not a balanced diet and only contains tiny portions of fresh fruit and vegetables, fortified cereals, and calcium-rich foods. In particular, the B vitamins, calcium, and vitamin D must be artificially supplemented. This is achieved by taking two sugar-free supplements designed for the patient's age: a multivitamin with minerals and calcium with vitamin D.[18] A typical day of food for a child on a 4:1 ratio, 1,500 kcal (6,300 kJ) ketogenic diet comprises three small meals and three small snacks:[28]
Carbohydrate-restricted diets are no more effective than a conventional healthy diet in preventing the onset of type 2 diabetes, but for people with type 2 diabetes they are a viable option for losing weight or helping with glycemic control.[11][12][13] There is little evidence that low-carbohydrate dieting is helpful in managing type 1 diabetes.[1] The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes should adopt a generally healthy diet, rather than a diet focused on carbohydrate or other macronutrients.[13]
A low-carbohydrate diet has been found to reduce endurance capacity for intense exercise efforts, and depleted muscle glycogen following such efforts is only slowly replenished if a low-carbohydrate diet is taken.[38] Inadequate carbohydrate intake during athletic training causes metabolic acidosis, which may be responsible for the impaired performance which has been observed.[38]
Achieving ketosis is a pretty straightforward, but it can seem complicated and confusing with all of the information out there.4If you want to learn more about ketosis and the scientific process around it, you can visit a very in-depth discussion about on Dr. Peter Attia’s website. Here’s the bottom line on what you need to do, ordered in levels of importance:
The concern regarding the possible loss in muscular mass was addressed by a strict analysis of the FFM component using DXA, MF-BIA, and ADP, and mild but significant reductions in relation to baseline were observed [Fig. 3(A)]. The greatest decrease in FFM occurred at the visit of maximum ketosis (visit C-2), with partial recovery thereafter [Fig. 3(A)]. The FFM losses determined by the different techniques at this point were −4.2 ± 1.8 kg (DXA), −3.1 ± 1.5 kg (MF-BIA), and −3.7 ± 7.6 kg (ADP). At the end of the study (visit C-4), these FFM losses had diminished to −3.7 ± 2.0 kg, −2.4 ± 1.8 kg, and −3.0 ± 8.0 kg, respectively.
Table 2 contains the correlation matrix that assessed the association between the changes in the physical and psychological states. Many relevant R-coefficients were found, confirming that changes in body composition (BMI, FM, FFM, and weight) and ketosis were strongly related to the differences in food craving, alcohol craving, sleep patterns, physical activity, and sexual activity. These associations emerged when changes between baseline and maximum ketosis were assessed, and they remained quite similar for changes estimated between baseline and reduced ketosis or endpoint. Regarding the ketosis change levels, associations emerged with some subscales in all the psychological questionnaires, except for the FCI scales and the multidimensional alcohol craving measures.

But there is evidence that low-carb diets may increase metabolism, according to a paper published November 14 in BMJ. Researchers found that overweight adults who lowered carbohydrates and added more fat into their diets burned about 250 calories more each day than people on high-carb, low-fat diets. The study is impressive because it's the largest, most expensive, and controlled study of its kind.
To find out whether you have achieved ketosis, you can test your blood or urine for the presence of ketone bodies. Depending on your diet, your activity level, and your body type, it can take a couple of days to a couple of weeks to reach ketosis. Testing for ketosis is a personal preference. For some, it’s an added inconvenience; for others, it provides added incentive to stay on track.
Keto diets, like most low carb diets, work through the elimination of glucose. Because most folks live on a high carb diet, our bodies normally run on glucose (or sugar) for energy. We cannot make glucose and only have about 24 hours’ worth stored in our muscle tissue and liver. Once glucose is no longer available from food sources, we begin to burn stored fat instead, or fat from our food.
In the first week, many people report headaches, mental fogginess, dizziness, and aggravation. Most of the time, this is the result of your electrolytes being flushed out, as ketosis has a diuretic effect. Make sure you drink plenty of water and keep your sodium intake up.6One of the fathers of keto, Dr. Phinney, shows that electrolyte levels (especially sodium) can become unbalanced with low carb intake.
“One of the best meal planning tips I’ve ever received is to structure breakfast and lunch so that you don’t have to think too much about it,” says Emily Bartlett, co-founder of Real Plans. “If you’re OK with repetition, it’s ideal to have a simple selection of recipes for breakfast—including some that can be taken on the go. For lunch, go ahead and use your leftovers with a fresh green salad, and be sure to include a dressing that you really love.” Before you make your keto diet menu, check out the 13 things doctors want you to know about the keto diet.

Given this new meta-analysis, it’s safe to say that low-carb and high-carb diets with protein matched have similar effects on energy expenditure and body fatness. However, this doesn’t mean that the insulin theory of obesity is entirely wrong — these results simply suggest that the theory carries much less significance than calorie intake in general.

To maintain ketosis (where you burn fat rather than sugar for energy), you need to keep your carb intake to around 20 to 50 grams daily. Some of my patients have to go to the lower end to get those results. That doesn't mean you can't incorporate some carbs: You can fit plenty of green vegetables and low-sugar fruits like berries and avocado into even a 20-gram carb allotment.
“Basic human physiology supports the use of a low-carb diet for the management of diabetes and related metabolic conditions, both in daily life and in my practice of hospital medicine, where glycemic control is vitally important. I use Diet Doctor as a resource to stay up-to-date with other low-carb professionals, and I confidently refer my patients to this trusted resource for its wealth of information relevant to their metabolic health.”

Hi Mel, Assuming that your ranch dressing doesn’t have sugar added, you don’t need to worry too much about limiting it, but within reason. This is my homemade ranch dressing recipe, which has 0.9g net carbs per 2-tbsp serving. It would be hard to find a store bought one with much less than that, even though some round anything less than 1g down to 0g, which isn’t truly accurate. Also, keep in mind that if weight loss is your goal, some people find that too much dairy can cause a stall. Finally, make sure you aren’t using all your “available” carbs on ranch dressing – have it with some low carb veggies!
The keto diet works for such a high percentage of people because it targets several key, underlying causes of weight gain — including hormonal imbalances, especially insulin resistance coupled with high blood sugar levels, and the cycle of restricting and “binging” on empty calories due to hunger that so many dieters struggle with. In fact, these are some of the direct benefits of the keto diet.

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.


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.
A study of 89 obese adults who were placed on a two-phase diet regimen (6 months of a very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diet and 6 months of a reintroduction phase on a normal calorie Mediterranean diet) showed a significant mean 10% weight loss with no weight regain at one year. The ketogenic diet provided about 980 calories with 12% carbohydrate, 36% protein, and 52% fat, while the Mediterranean diet provided about 1800 calories with 58% carbohydrate, 15% protein, and 27% fat. Eighty-eight percent of the participants were compliant with the entire regimen. [12] It is noted that the ketogenic diet used in this study was lower in fat and slightly higher in carbohydrate and protein than the average ketogenic diet that provides 70% or greater calories from fat and less than 20% protein.

“The totality of evidence is very clear: A low-carbohydrate dietary approach is the most effective way to manage the insulin resistance syndrome which is that single biggest driver of obesity, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Diet Doctor has been instrumental in providing extremely useful, clear and educational material to all who want to implement this dietary approach in to their lives. That’s why I recommend the website to all my at-risk patients.” 

There is a lack of evidence of the usefulness of low-carbohydrate dieting for people with type 1 diabetes.[1] Although for certain individuals it may be feasible to follow a low-carbohydrate regime combined with carefully-managed insulin dosing, this is hard to maintain and there are concerns about potential adverse health effects caused by the diet.[1] In general people with type 1 diabetes are advised to follow an individualized eating plan rather than a pre-decided one.[1]
Hey Donna, yes frozen veggies are totally fine! And my best advice would be to just jump right back into it and not dwell on the past! I would recommend tracking your carbs and making sure they are low enough to get back into keto, maybe try some intermittent fasting as well. It will take a few days to get back on track but just stick with it and focus on your goals!
51. Sarwer D.B., Spitzer J.C., Wadden T.A., Rosen R.C., Mitchell J.E., Lancaster K., Courcoulas A., Gourash W., Christian N.J. Sexual functioning and sex hormones in persons with extreme obesity and seeking surgical and nonsurgical weight loss. Surg. Obes. Relat. Dis. 2013;9:997–1007. doi: 10.1016/j.soard.2013.07.003. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
Drink lots of water. This is especially crucial on a low carb or keto diet. Why? When you eat carbohydrates, your body stores the extra as glycogen in the liver, where they are bound to water molecules. Eating low carb depletes this glycogen, which allows you to burn fat – but it also means you are storing less water, making it easier to get dehydrated. Instead of the traditional recommendation of 8 cups of water per day, aim for 16 cups when following a low carb lifestyle.
You probably expect to see results with keto quickly. Many keto eaters lose a lot of water weight rapidly after beginning this diet. Without carbs to maintain your glycogen (energy) stores, your body burns through them and dumps all the water they hold. That’s the “water weight” you will rapidly lose in the early days of a keto diet. “We see people quitting before they feel all the benefits of being a fat-burning machine. Some quit even as soon as the first week,” Santo says. That’s often the result of keto flu, a temporary condition that many keto eaters experience as their body transitions natural energy sources. Keto flu symptoms include mood swings, nausea, headaches, sluggishness, and more. “Many people do not realize that keto leads to fundamental changes in how the body operates,” says Dr. Metzagar.
People claiming huge benefits of these supplements – despite the lack of solid scientific support – may sometimes have a financial reason to believe in the supplements. Some of these products are sold under a multi-level marketing arrangement, where sales people are paid based on commission. For example, the company Prüvit sells drinkable ketones, called KETO//OS with a multi-level marketing structure.
It’s also currently as trendy to the fitness world as kale and açaí are to the pseudo-hipsters who wear beanies, even in the dead-heat of summer. If you haven’t tried keto on for size, maybe give it a go (unless you’re a complete and utter carb bitch, and cramming yourself full of bagels and pancakes just makes your abs really pop - in which case, the rest of us hate you on the inside. Just a little.)

35. Crujeiras A.B., Gomez-Arbelaez D., Zulet M.A., Carreira M.C., Sajoux I., de Luis D., Castro A.I., Baltar J., Baamonde I., Sueiro A., et al. Plasma FGF21 levels in obese patients undergoing energy-restricted diets or bariatric surgery: A marker of metabolic stress? Int. J. Obes. (Lond.) 2017;41:1570–1578. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2017.138. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
“When I treat cancer patients in my clinic, I need a diet program for them. After researching it, I found the ketogenic diet is the best way to reduce inflammation and suppress the cancer’s growth so I have applied the diet to my patients. It’s the most effective diet not only for cancer patients, but also for diabetes and obesity treatments. I recommended Diet Doctor website to my patients because it is easy to understand the theory and application of the ketogenic diet.”
A keto diet works for almost anyone since you can be vegan or vegetarian and still achieve ketogenesis. As a rule of thumb, focus on foods that are naturally high in fat and avoid highly processed foods that are labeled with trans-fats as much as possible. Eat fruits that are low on the glycemic index but are still rich in fiber and, eat other foods like avocados (also for the fat) and berries. Additionally, eat lots of green, yellow and red vegetables.

Research indicates that diets that are high in fat, like the keto diet, do not have a negative impact on cholesterol and triglycerides as long as the carbohydrate intake remains very low. In fact, your cholesterol and triglycerides might actually improve, if you're focusing on eating healthy fats like avocado, olive oil and nuts, not loading up on bacon and burgers.
Mustering the willpower to push aside the bread basket at your favourite restaurant does not make you a keto aficionado. The ketogenic diet is different from other low carb diets in that your glucose levels have to be so low that you have to moderate even the amount of protein that you consume. With 40% of calories coming from protein, protein will convert to glucose once consumed, which is not keto friendly. 
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.

This work demonstrates that a VLCK diet following the PNK method induces a severe body weight reduction concomitantly with a decrease in food craving and improvements in psychological well-being measured by physical activity, sleep quality, female sexual function, and quality of life scores. The effect in food craving and psychological well-being could be relevant factors to guarantee the success of this kind of nutritional treatment. Moreover, this effect is added to the beneficial effects previously observed regarding body composition, energy metabolism, and biochemical parameters [4,7,18,35].


A study with an intent-to-treat prospective design was published in 1998 by a team from the Johns Hopkins Hospital[20] and followed-up by a report published in 2001.[21] As with most studies of the ketogenic diet, no control group (patients who did not receive the treatment) was used. The study enrolled 150 children. After three months, 83% of them were still on the diet, 26% had experienced a good reduction in seizures, 31% had had an excellent reduction, and 3% were seizure-free.[Note 7] At 12 months, 55% were still on the diet, 23% had a good response, 20% had an excellent response, and 7% were seizure-free. Those who had discontinued the diet by this stage did so because it was ineffective, too restrictive, or due to illness, and most of those who remained were benefiting from it. The percentage of those still on the diet at two, three, and four years was 39%, 20%, and 12%, respectively. During this period, the most common reason for discontinuing the diet was because the children had become seizure-free or significantly better. At four years, 16% of the original 150 children had a good reduction in seizure frequency, 14% had an excellent reduction, and 13% were seizure-free, though these figures include many who were no longer on the diet. Those remaining on the diet after this duration were typically not seizure-free, but had had an excellent response.[21][22]
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.

The liquid diets involved with VLCDs often bring on ketosis, a condition that involves a buildup of ketone bodies in the blood as well as urine. Ketones are a byproduct that is created when your body has to switch to fat as an energy source. It means your store of glycogen, or carbohydrates, has been depleted. One of the consequences of ketosis is a loss of appetite, which helps make it easier to follow a VLCD. Ketosis also causes you to shed excessive amounts of sodium, potassium and water, which can cause dehydration, sluggishness, constipation and gas. However, your body can adjust to changes in your electrolytes.

Remember, the point of the ketogenic diet is to enter ketosis by limiting your carbohydrate intake to about 5% of your total calorie needs and consuming about 75% of your calories in the form of fats. Vegetables and fruits naturally contain carbohydrates, and the ones included in the list above are lower in carbohydrates while not skimping on nutrients.

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.

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