Although fat is the centerpiece of any keto diet, that doesn't mean you should be subsisting on butter-topped steaks, says Kristen Mancinelli, RD, author of The Ketogenic Diet. “A big misconception is that you should just put meat at the center of your plate and add more fat on top,” she says. You also shouldn't be relying on fatty meats to hit your fat quota, she adds.
A meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials following overweight and obese participants for 1-2 years on either low-fat diets or very-low-carbohydrate ketogenic diets found that the ketogenic diet produced a small but significantly greater reduction in weight, triglycerides, and blood pressure, and a greater increase in HDL and LDL cholesterol compared with the low-fat diet at one year.  The authors acknowledged the small weight loss difference between the two diets of about 2 pounds, and that compliance to the ketogenic diet declined over time, which may have explained the more significant difference at one year but not at two years (the authors did not provide additional data on this).
Some fruits may contain relatively high concentrations of sugar, most are largely water and not particularly calorie-dense. Thus, in absolute terms, even sweet fruits and berries do not represent a significant source of carbohydrates in their natural form, and also typically contain a good deal of fiber which attenuates the absorption of sugar in the gut.
Great point – the literature shows that ketogenic macro splits are very protein sparing for weight loss and the body will typically burn fat and glucose and spare lean mass. Dr. Jason Fung makes the analogy that it would be like stacking firewood for the winter and then when winter hits, deciding not to use the firewood and instead use the living room couch!
A study of 39 obese adults placed on a ketogenic very low-calorie diet for 8 weeks found a mean loss of 13% of their starting weight and significant reductions in fat mass, insulin levels, blood pressure, and waist and hip circumferences. Their levels of ghrelin did not increase while they were in ketosis, which contributed to a decreased appetite. However during the 2-week period when they came off the diet, ghrelin levels and urges to eat significantly increased. 
Despite continuous advances in the medical world, obesity continues to remain a major worldwide health hazard with adult mortality as high as 2.8 million per year. The majority of chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease are largely related to obesity which is usually a product of unhealthy lifestyle and poor dietary habits. Appropriately tailored diet regimens for weight reduction can help manage the obesity epidemic to some extent. One diet regimen that has proven to be very effective for rapid weight loss is a very-low-carbohydrate and high-fat ketogenic diet.
One thing many people love about keto diet meal plans is that tracking your food is optional. "One of the biggest benefits of the ketogenic diet is that there's no need to meticulously track your calories like you may in other diets," notes Dr. Josh Axe, D.N.M., C.N.S., D.C., founder of DrAxe.com, best-selling author of Eat Dirt, and cofounder of Ancient Nutrition. "Because you're filling up on fat and protein, you're more likely to feel satisfied and energized all day long, which causes you to naturally eat less." This isn't to say that food tracking on keto is discouraged. "Some people may find calorie counting a useful tool to be more mindful and aware of what they're eating, but it's not necessary on the ketogenic diet," says Dr. Axe, but there's no need to get too stressed about hitting a certain caloric goal, especially if you're not trying to lose weight. (Related: The #1 Reason to Stop Counting Calories)
You can have a completely smooth transition into ketosis, or…not. While your body is adapting to using ketones as your new fuel source, you may experience a range of uncomfortable short-term symptoms. These symptoms are referred to as “the keto flu.” Low-sodium levels are often to blame for symptoms keto flu, since the kidneys secrete more sodium when you’re in ketosis, says Volek. A few side effects:
The insulin theory of obesity, in short, declares that the primary cause of obesity is higher carbohydrate diets because these diets increase insulin secretion more than any other diet. When insulin levels are high, fat storage will increase significantly and “starve” muscles and organs of energy. This causes increased hunger and overeating that results in obesity.
The PSQI questionnaire is a clinical sleep-behavior questionnaire that has been validated for use in patients with insomnia, cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and the general population . The questionnaire is designed to assess indexes of sleep during the preceding month and contains 19 questions that use Likert scales from 0–3. All questions are categorized into the following 7 subvariables: duration of sleep, sleep disturbance, sleep latency, day dysfunction because of sleepiness, sleep efficiency, subjective sleep quality, and use of a sleeping medication. Each of these 7 variables is scored between 0 and 3 arbitrary units (au), which generates a summed total score of 0–21 au. This total score is termed the global sleep score (GSS) with >5 au associated with a poor sleep condition and ≤5 au associated with a good sleep condition.
Protein can turn into carbohydrates via a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis (making new carbs) and will do in people at varying degrees. Protein turning into carbohydrates means you’re not in ketosis. However, this is generally an overblown statement that only happens at the extreme cases when you are drinking a lot of liquid protein shakes.
Katherine Arvesen, RDN, who in private practice in Plano, Texas, also notes that the study was not randomized and controlled, which is the gold standard for medical research to minimize error and bias. In this study, the patients were their own controls, meaning their results were compared with their own baseline (starting) measurements, not with the results of a control group.
The data are presented as mean (standard deviation). All statistical analyses were carried out using Stata statistical software, version 12.0 (Stata, College Station, TX). A P < 0.05 was considered statistically significant. Changes in the different variables of interest from baseline and throughout the study visits were analyzed following a repeated measures design. A repeated measures analysis of variance test was used to evaluate differences between different measurement times, followed by post hoc analysis with Tukey’s adjustment for multiple comparisons. In addition, linear regression analyses were used to evaluate the accuracy of MF-BIA and ADP in comparison with DXA, because DXA is considered the reference technique in the estimation of body composition in clinical research (26). Finally, the Bland-Altman approach was also used to assess the accuracy of MF-BIA and ADP against DXA in the estimation of FM%.
Wondering how many carb foods you can eat and still be “in ketosis”? The traditional ketogenic diet, created for those with epilepsy consisted of getting about 75 percent of calories from sources of fat (such as oils or fattier cuts of meat), 5 percent from carbohydrates and 20 percent from protein. For most people a less strict version (what I call a “modified keto diet”) can still help promote weight loss in a safe, and often very fast, way.
45. Kahathuduwa C.N., Davis T., O’Boyle M., Boyd L.A., Chin S.H., Paniukov D., Binks M. Effects of 3-week total meal replacement vs. typical food-based diet on human brain functional magnetic resonance imaging food-cue reactivity and functional connectivity in people with obesity. Appetite. 2018;120:431–441. doi: 10.1016/j.appet.2017.09.025. [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
“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.”
The keto diet works by eliminating carbohydrates from the your daily intake and keeping the body’s carbohydrate stores almost empty, therefore preventing too much insulin from being released following food consumption and creating normal blood sugar levels. This can help reverse “insulin resistance,” which is the underlying problem contributing to diabetes symptoms. In studies, low-carb diets have shown benefits for improving blood pressure, postprandial glycemia and insulin secretion. (7)
Twenty-one of the 28 participants who were enrolled completed the study. Twenty participants were men; 13 were White, 8 were African-American. The mean [± SD] age was 56.0 ± 7.9 years and BMI was 42.2 ± 5.8 kg/m2. Hemoglobin A1c decreased by 16% from 7.5 ± 1.4% to 6.3 ± 1.0% (p < 0.001) from baseline to week 16. Diabetes medications were discontinued in 7 participants, reduced in 10 participants, and unchanged in 4 participants. The mean body weight decreased by 6.6% from 131.4 ± 18.3 kg to 122.7 ± 18.9 kg (p < 0.001). In linear regression analyses, weight change at 16 weeks did not predict change in hemoglobin A1c. Fasting serum triglyceride decreased 42% from 2.69 ± 2.87 mmol/L to 1.57 ± 1.38 mmol/L (p = 0.001) while other serum lipid measurements did not change significantly.
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?
“I have been working as an internal medicine doctor and diabetologist for over 20 years, focusing on gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM), and also teaching future doctors and nutritionists. In 2016, we corrected our official dietary guidelines for GDM, removing the minimum recommended intake of carbohydrates and setting a maximum at 200 grams a day, with low-carbohydrate diets as an option. I would like to thank GDM dietitian Lily Nichols, Dr. Andreas Eenfeldt at Diet Doctor and the entire LCHF community for improving outcomes of Czech women with GDM and other patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes or metabolic syndrome.”
I have great respect for Harvard Medical School. I notice that they support their readers posting comments and I am most appreciative of the article and all the many thoughtful comments by the readers. The readers seem to have the most expertise here and I hope that the doctor who wrote the article will think long and hard about the comments by readers. After 35 years of clinical practice in mental health, I notice that all issues of emotion involve medical issues, nutrition, and the gut bacteria. I would say that these issues and all of the executive brain functions seem to improve with ketogenic principles. For those that apply it in a flexible and smart manner, it appears to improve every area of their lives. I strongly encourage the author of the article to take one class via The Institute for Functional Medicine. If he is open to more learning he can take more classes and get certified. I’m sure a fine doctor, he will be an even better doctor and personally healthier, if he gets more training. Are we all open to new learning(especially us healthcare providers)?
I have spent weeks reading and learning about the Keto diet plan, downloading random recipes that my husband might even try, and have been overwhelmed with all the information. I was pleased to find your system and how organized everything seems to be. The only question I have is will I be able to “temporarily suspend” my subscription if I find there are more recipes than I have time to prepare. I want to only do about 3 per week and repeat them as leftovers, since I have very little time after working a 12-hour shift, to do much cooking. Once I “catch up,” I would reinstate my subscription. Is that an option? Looking forward to trying out your program.
I get many questions about intermittent fasting, the health benefits, the weight loss benefits, and the like. People normally use intermittent fasting for both the energy and mental clarity it can offer. But it’s not just good for that. It can offer breakthroughs of plateaus and even benefits in nutrient uptake in exercise. We go more in depth to intermittent fasting in Week 3 and 4, so keep your eyes peeled!
Relevantly, a statistically significant decrease was also observed in the craving for specific nutrients from baseline to endpoint (Figure 2B). These modifications in FC-inventory were evidenced from the visit of reduced ketosis as compared with baseline. Whereas, the craving for simple sugars and trans fats was modified earlier than the other items, since maximum ketosis compared with baseline (Figure 2B).
After 4 months the VLCK diet induced a −20.2 ± 4.5 kg weight loss, at expenses of reductions in fat mass (FM) of −16.5 ± 5.1 kg (DXA), −18.2 ± 5.8 kg (MF-BIA), and −17.7 ± 9.9 kg (ADP). A substantial decrease was also observed in the visceral FM. The mild but marked reduction in fat-free mass occurred at maximum ketosis, primarily as a result of changes in total body water, and was recovered thereafter. No changes in muscle strength were observed. A strong correlation was evidenced between the 3 methods of assessing body composition.
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.
Available research on the ketogenic diet for weight loss is still limited. Most of the studies so far have had a small number of participants, were short-term (12 weeks or less), and did not include control groups. A ketogenic diet has been shown to provide short-term benefits in some people including weight loss and improvements in total cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. However, these effects after one year when compared with the effects of conventional weight loss diets are not significantly different. 
I think Tammy is asking about labeling on products. I have also found the percentages to be inconsistent. I think it is due to the way they companies calculate the grams in relation to the average daily intake- the result being different as the range goes from 225-325 grams per day. At the end of the day the company decides how they calculate the percentage so the best way to solve this is to look at the grams instead.
Excess fat mass (FM), especially visceral fat, is associated with a variety of pathological conditions such as hypertension, dyslipidemia, diabetes, and even cancer (1–4), as well as an increase in overall and cardiovascular mortality (2, 5). Very-low-calorie diets are commonly used as obesity treatments; however, a primary concern in using such diets is the amount of fat-free mass (FFM; i.e., muscular tissue) that is lost together with the FM (6). This could produce so-called sarcopenic obesity, that is, the coexistence of an excess of FM and a decline in FFM that yields a near-normal body weight (7). Sarcopenic obesity constitutes a double impact on the health of patients, because the reduction in muscle mass and muscle strength is also a cause of cardiometabolic disorders, such as myocardial infarction and stroke, and other adverse health outcomes (5, 7–9). For these reasons, it is of primary interest to find weight loss strategies that promote preferential loss of FM and preservation of muscle mass and its functional status (i.e., muscle strength) (10–12).
“As a family doctor in India, I recommend low-carb and keto diets, with and without intermittent fasting, to all of my patients who have lifestyle-related chronic conditions. I follow the growing, evidence-based science behind these approaches and I have seen the impressive clinical results. I, too, follow a low carb lifestyle and usually do it with intermittent fasting. I have been able to reverse my diabesity and keep my post-menopausal symptoms at bay. I also recommend to my patients that they visit the Diet Doctor website to find trustworthy information and delicious recipes.”
36. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration (NCD-RisC) Worldwide trends in body-mass index, underweight, overweight, and obesity from 1975 to 2016: A pooled analysis of 2416 population-based measurement studies in 128.9 million children, adolescents, and adults. Lancet. 2017;390:2627–2642. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(17)32129-3. [PMC free article] [PubMed] [CrossRef] [Google Scholar]
“The argument is that after decades of abusing your body with carbohydrates and thus creating insulin resistance, your body is not going to magically heal itself from a measly 30 days on a low-carb eating plan,” she explains. “If you need things to celebrate while you wait for the scale to start ticking down, look toward your other accomplishments—body composition, pictures, and measurements after three months.”
An interesting effect on sexual function was induced by the nutritional intervention (Table S1; Figure 4). The EMAS-SF questionnaire reported no statistically significant changes for sexual activity in men (Figure 4A). However, the FSFI questionnaire for sexual activity in women evidenced that excitation (p = 0.043) and lubrication (p = 0.013) improved with statistical significance throughout the study. Moreover, from baseline to maximum ketosis, a statistically significant increase was observed in the score for the orgasmic domain (Figure 4B; 0.95; p = 0.034). Based on the FSFI mean total score, women included in this study showed sexual dysfunction (total score = 9.55) at baseline. This total score was improved at maximum of ketosis (total score = 10.48) and at the end of the nutritional intervention (total score = 9.8).
This was a great read. I aim to restrict carbs always because I believe most are why the American population is obese. I would very much like to hear more about carb restriction excluding the discussion on processed meats and processed high salt content foods because I consume neither. I also don’t consume dairy or eggs. So can you provide some substance.
The VLCK diet was used because of its ability to produce a rapid and well-tolerated weight loss with a ketogenic phase that lasts 60-90 days and a final result of 20 kg of weight reduction at 4 months. The rapid reduction in weight is the probable explanation of the positive effects of this dieting approach, which are evident 1 and 2 years later (12, 13). Four different stages occurred with the VLCK diet used: a basal stage with obese body weight and no ketosis, a second stage with extreme ketosis and marked body weight loss, a third stage with body weight loss and declining ketosis, and a fourth stage with weight loss and no ketosis. Body composition was studied with the 3 techniques at each of these stages.
Adding heavy cream or half-and-half to your coffee is one way to get an additional source of fat into your day, says Keatley. Just realize that it is a source of saturated fat — and, given the small serving size, it’s easy to go overboard. According to the USDA, 1 tbsp has 51 calories, 5 g of fat (3.5 g saturated fat), and is just shy of ½ g of carbohydrate.
Yes, they're technically a fruit, but we think olives deserve a shout-out all of their own, since they're also a great source of healthy fats and are one of a few keto-approved packaged foods. Plus, they're a great source of antioxidants, will satisfy your craving for something salty, and are blissfully low-carb. “About a palm's worth only has 3 grams of net carbs,” Sarah Jadin, RD, told Health in a previous interview.
Russel Wilder first used the ketogenic diet to treat epilepsy in 1921. He also coined the term "ketogenic diet." For almost a decade, the ketogenic diet enjoyed a place in the medical world as a therapeutic diet for pediatric epilepsy and was widely used until its popularity ceased with the introduction of antiepileptic agents. The resurgence of the ketogenic diet as a rapid weight loss formula is a relatively new concept the has shown to be quite effective, at least in the short run.
During the ketosis phase of the nutritional intervention, the IWQOL-Lite scores did not change for the sexual life, social anxiety, and work area domains (Table S1). A significant improvement was observed in the physical function and self-esteem scores during this phase. When comparing the visit of reduced ketosis and endpoint with baseline, a significant improvement was found in all domains, except for social anxiety, which did not change throughout the nutritional intervention.
"Obese. That's what the doc said. He said if I didn't change I'd be Morbidly Obese. So stopped eating big macs and started out by walking. But it wasn't really enough to undo the damage. Then I found on Shark Tank. So I found it online and ordered it. I figured, it was worth a shot. I'm glad I did. It jumpstarted my weight loss! I started shedding the weight. I'm down 60 pounds after just 9 months! Thank you - you really saved my life!"
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  detailing these recommendations. Participants prepared or bought all of their own meals and snacks following these guidelines.