“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.
But what about body fat? Hall and Guo investigated 20 controlled feeding studies that reported changes in body fatness on equal-calorie diets differing in fat and carbohydrate content. They found that each diet has similar effects on body fatness, which makes sense when you consider the finding that neither diet provides a significant metabolic advantage.   (Yet higher-carbohydrate diets seem to cause a slightly more substantial loss of body fat per calorie — a 16 gram per day difference.)
I’m discouraged to see that nowhere in the article nor in the comments is there a mention of a diet’s best fit to genetics. Consider if someone is an APOE E2 carrier and/or has certain polymorphisms of the APO5 gene. These are quite rare in Okinawa but much more prevalent in the USA (12% of the population). According to a number of well-designed studies, these genetic characteristics point to a higher fat, lower carbohydrate diet as beneficial and even a “moderate” carb diet as problematic.
Letting your blood sugar drop too low when following low-calorie diets -- often containing 1,000 to 1,200 calories daily for women and 1,200 to 1,600 calories a day for men -- can lead to headaches. Low blood sugar, which happens when too little glucose is in your bloodstream, can occur if you skip meals to reach your weight-loss calorie allotment. To help prevent headaches during weight loss, eat regular meals and snacks every few hours or so.
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]
Because the weight-loss method employed in this study consisted of a reduction of energy intake to less than 800 kcal/day in the first stage of the treatment, it could be expected that there would be an increase in food craving in response to metabolic need expressed as hunger. By contrast, in this study, a reduction in food craving was observed despite the high energy restriction. These results agreed with previous studies that also concluded a reduced food craving after an energy restriction diet [43]. In fact, it has been demonstrated that energy restriction via a liquid formula-based total meal replacement very low-calorie diet suppresses food cravings compared to energy restriction via a typical food-based low-calorie diet [44]. This decrease in food craving associated with energy restriction was recently demonstrated to be consistent with increased executive control over ingestion and food cravings, by examining human brain functional MRI food-cue reactivity (fMRI-FCR) [45]. As in that study, we observed a significant reduction of overall food cravings and cravings for sweet food, high-fat food, starchy food, and fast food as measured by the food craving inventory questionnaire [45] after the VLCK diet. Relevantly, when we focused on specific subscales of the food-craving questionnaire, we observed that high levels of ketone bodies correlated with low scores of hunger feelings and intentions to eat. These results are in line with the effect of ketosis on food control previously reported [14,46,47]. However, contrary to a previous study, which demonstrates a lowering of plasma ghrelin levels induced by ketone ester drinks [48], in the current work, the circulating levels of ghrelin were not modified despite the increase in blood ketone levels (data not shown). Additionally, the VLCK diet-PNK method was able to maintain the reduction in hunger during the intervention, even at the no ketosis phase, in contrast with a previous work that evidenced an increase in hunger during the refeeding phase [49].
However, maintaining muscle mass and its functionality (i.e., muscle strength) has an important role in preventing weight regain, maintaining physical functionality, improving cardiometabolic risk factors, and reducing cardiovascular outcomes (5, 7–9, 32, 33). It is commonly assumed, and stated in several textbooks on obesity, that weight loss is associated with an important loss of muscle mass that evolves in parallel with the fat reduction. Some dietary guidelines have even suggested that diets that induce rapid weight loss, such as VLCK diets, create a greater energy deficit and contain lower amounts of protein, and therefore increase the risk of reductions in muscle mass compared with other interventions with more gradual weight loss (34, 35). In this article it was shown that the reductions observed in lean mass were mostly a result of body water loss, both intra- and extracellular. The combined information from the DXA and MF-BIA methods allows for such differentiation (28, 36–38). The loss attributable to muscle mass was minimal (∼1 kg), and an absolute preservation of HG strength was observed, a remarkable fact considering that the patients have experienced a weight reduction of ∼20 kg.
Hi Danielle, yes, most Keto Recipes I’ve seen on social media don’t look very appealing to me either. I have a Keto Breakfast Casserole and a Green Smoothie on the blog you can use the search bar in the menu, just enter “keto” and they’ll all appear. I am also working on a 21-Day Keto Challenge e-book at the moment. If you’re interested in being notified when it’s ready I recommend signing up for my newsletter, safest way to not miss it.
Seasonings and sauces are a tricky part of ketogenic diet foods, but people use them on a regular basis to add flavor to their meals. The easiest way to remain strict here is to avoid processed foods. There are many low carb condiments and products on the market, and there’s no way to list them all. A handful of them are great, but the majority use high glycemic index sweeteners – which you want to avoid.
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.
Melinda – I’m afraid there’s no getting around the fact that one of the Keto requirements is to *calculate your macros,* based on the amount of calories you need to consume each day, in order to (a) maintain your current weight level, or (b) lose weight. Go to an online Keto macro calculator – there’s one linked to a good one on this site, further up the thread. They are generally very easy to use. Then stick to your calculated results, with trust and patience. It may be slow, but you will absolutely see results. I did – and I’ve tried absolutely everything. I barely have time to exercise, but I still lost at least a couple of dress sizes, and I feel absolutely amazing – no more brain fog, tons of energy – maybe too much energy! And best of all, I’m no longer miserable about food, because on Keto, everything is delicious! One final thing in the interest of full disclosure – I am an uber-clean-Keto advocate. I put in the work to eat only healthy fats and carbs from healthy sources. I’m pescatarian – no meats except seafood. I also carefully limit my saturated fat intake to 10% of total calories (the recommended daily allowance), to keep my genetically problematic cholesterol level from skyrocketing, as it did when I first began. This is all working well for me so far – I was able to cut 40 points from my abnormally high LDL (bad cholesterol) level within three months, And hope to get it down to normal levels in three more months. You do want to make sure you get your regular physical exams and monitor your blood work whenever you change your nutritional lifestyle. I wish you the best!
I recall reading once that pink grapefruit and eggs for breakfast (or maybe it was the grapefruit 10-15 minutes before eggs) was supposed to launch you into some crazy fat burning mode. Something to do with hormone production, I seem to recall. Can’t say if it’s true or not. I tasted a grapefruit once when I was about 10, and have never desired to repeat that mistake in the 24 years since.
A CKD on the other hand is a diet where you will eat a minimum amount of carbohydrates per day (that 30-50 gram number) and then on the weekend (or at a time that is appropriate for you) do a large 'carb-up' phase where you will eat a large amount of carbohydrates in an effort to refill your muscle glycogen stores so you can continue to workout the coming week.
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.
A keto diet has shown to improve triglyceride levels and cholesterol levels most associated with arterial buildup. More specifically low-carb, high-fat diets show a dramatic increase in HDL and decrease in LDL particle concentration compared to low-fat diets.3A study in the long-term effects of a ketogenic diet shows a significant reduction in cholesterol levels, body weight, and blood glucose. Read more on keto and cholesterol >
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.
Health experts think that the first law is relevant to why we get fat because they say to themselves and then to us, as the The New York Times did, “Those who consume more calories than they expend in energy will gain weight.” This is true. It has to be. To get fatter and heavier, we have to overeat. We have to consume more calories than we expend. That’s a given. But thermodynamics tells us nothing about why this happens, why we consume more calories than we expend. It only says that if we do, we will get heavier, and if we get heavier, then we did.
“I am a family physician and co-author of the book The Diabetes Diet. I have been advocating a low-carb diet for patients for the last 16 years — for weight loss weight, cardiac risk reduction, and better blood sugar control in type 1 and 2 diabetes. The diet enables patients with type 1 diabetes to reduce their insulin needs, while patients with type 2 diabetes on insulin may be able to eliminate the drug completely. I leave the choice as to whether the diet needs to be ketogenic or not up to patients, depending on their motivation and goals.”
Collagen is a type of protein that has been shown to suppress appetite[*], provide fullness compared to other proteins like whey, casein, or soy[*], help retain muscle mass[*] and even help to reduce the appearance of cellulite due to it’s ability to improve skin elasticity and thickness[*]. Refer to this article for more information on the benefits of collagen and the best way to supplement it in your diet.
1. West, R., Beeri, M. S., Schmeidler, J., Hannigan, C. M., Angelo, G., Grossman, H. T., … Silverman, J. M. (2008). Better memory functioning associated with higher total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in very elderly subjects without the apolipoprotein e4 allele. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry : Official Journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 16(9), 781–5. PMID: 18757771
I won't be staying with keto for the long term—I really can't eat that much bacon anymore—but I do expect I'll return to it several times a year. If nothing else, the strict diet works well for me as a reset after a long splurge (hello, holidays!), and my month-long experiment helped me break my dependency on some of my biggest food crutches (sugar, pasta, crackers).

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 Top 10 Things You Need to Know Before Going Keto: Thinking about giving the ketogenic diet a try? People are using it not only to lose weight, but to feel more energized, sleep better, and improve their mental focus. It’s not hype. The keto diet is a top health trend because it works. But before you go all in, here are the top 10 things you should know.
On a “strict” (standard) keto diet, fats typically provides about 70 percent to 80 percent of total daily calories, protein about 15 percent to 20 percent, and carbohydrates just around 5 percent. However, a more “moderate” approach to the keto diet is also a good option for many people that can allow for an easier transition into very low-carb eating and more flexibility (more on these types of plans below).
Dieters and healthy eaters are programmed to get vegetables at every meal in order to reach their daily plant quota, but Mancinelli says the cumulative total can blow through your daily net carbs. “They have vegetables in their breakfast omelet, big salads, snack on celery and carrot sticks, and have big sides of leafy greens in place of rice at dinner,” she says. “The carbs in all those vegetables add up. A few carbs here and there with cheese, nuts, and seeds, and you can really miss the mark for ketosis.” Start smart by cooking with these low-carb vegetables.

Everyone — not just those on a keto diet — should stay away from consuming added trans fats. While these are naturally found in some meat and milk (though you’re probably avoiding milk on keto because of its higher carb count), according to the USDA, they’re often added to processed foods. “If you’re eating a lot of packaged products, you’re probably getting more trans fats than you think you are,” says Keatley.
The weight-loss program has five steps and adheres to the most recent guidelines of the 2015 EFSA on total carbohydrate intake [22]. The first three steps consist of a VLCK diet (600–800 kcal/day), low in carbohydrates (<50 g daily from vegetables), and lipids (only 10 g of olive oil per day). The amount of high biological-value proteins ranged between 0.8 and 1.2 g per each kg of ideal body weight to ensure that patients were meeting their minimum body requirements and to prevent the loss of lean mass. In step 1, the patients ate high-biological-value protein preparations five times a day and vegetables with low glycemic indexes. In step 2, one of the protein servings was substituted with a natural protein (e.g., meat or fish) either at lunch or at dinner. In step 3, a second serving of low-fat natural protein was substituted for the second serving of biological protein preparation. Throughout these ketogenic phases, supplements of vitamins and minerals, such as K, Na, Mg, Ca, and omega-3 fatty acids, were provided in accordance with international recommendations [23]. These three steps were maintained until the patient lost the target amount of weight, ideally 80%. Hence, the ketogenic steps were variable in time depending on the individual and the weight-loss target. The total ketosis state lasted for 60–90 days only.
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